Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No mo' drama

 Some of you may remember that I posted about a bummer barn worker experience. In a nutshell, a boarder felt I'd failed to care for her horse. I made a gesture toward resolving things, but No Dice. The cold war between me and the boarder (Sue) looked like it would never end.  I only work at that barn twice  a month so there are few opportunities to reconcile.

I fretted about the situation. Bob said, "You know, I think one day you'll both just forget what happened. You women will start talking on a topic you're all interested in, and it'll all go away."

My husband the psychic.

The other day while I was doing chores, the barn owner came by. She shared with a group of boarders, including Sue and I, that she was having hip surgery. We all rallied around her to talk it out, and the conversation turned to joint injuries in general. Nodding to Sue, who is a physical therapist, I mentioned that Bob has a bad rotator cuff. She looked me in the eye for the first time in over a month:  "Oh, I know of a great surgeon!" And off we went. 

The moral
I have a big mouth, and I'm opinionated, but I value harmonious relationships. Once a cold war starts, it's hard to break the cycle of silence. Confronting the problem in a one-on-one conversation can work, but it can also make things worse. Bob's comment to me suggests a great strategy.  Try to engage the person in a group--use other people as a buffer. In the group,  make eye contact, and talk and smile just like old times. Offer help. Say something encouraging. It's a little safer, since few people will reject or diss you outright in front of others. And it sends the message, I want this to be over.

I can't say that this tense period ended because I was particularly brave, or gracious, or socially skilled, but I'm sure glad it's over. It takes energy to hold a grudge, to hold someone in contempt, to assume intentions are hateful. And, as a prominent economist once said, "In the long run we're all dead." Let it go.


  1. This is a perfect Christmas story and lesson. Hard feelings can be even harder to maintain.

    I'm glad you've found some harmony again. It makes the barn an even nicer place to be. Bob was one sharp cookie in this case. *G*

    Happy to hear a real smile in this post.

  2. That's very nice that it worked out so well!

  3. Words of wisdom re let it go, and great advice on how to end a cold war. Thanks!
    Glad things have 'thawed' for you :)

  4. Wise, wise words, Stacey - sure wish you were in my barn! Thanks for continuing to author the best blog, ever. Happy holidays and best wishes for health, happiness and fortune, both human and equine, in 2011!

    Linda Lambert


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