News + Views

Difficult People


ROI by Frank J. Rich







By Frank J. Rich



OK, hands up out there! How many of you have chosen not to take action with a difficult person when you knew it was needed? How many have reacted to another in an angry or non-constructive way? You with your head down—why isn’t your hand up?

Everyone has done both of these things at one time or another. There’s no shame in it. However, if we consistently repeat the same mistakes over and over and end up paying the cost by becoming a victim, we’ve chosen the path to unfulfillment.

So, why do we do it? Why do we choose to be victims? And why is it important to know why we make this choice? Simply, if we don’t know what it is about “difficult people” that causes us to make a poor decision, it isn’t likely we’ll be able to grow out of the “victim” disorder. If we don’t change, we are going to be a consistent victim.

There are a number of reasons why people make bad decisions, avoid taking action, or take inappropriate action. Most have to do with avoidance, while the last is biological and has to do with our initial gut reaction to difficult people and our feelings of threat. Let’s take a look.

Low Self-awareness

If you lack self-awareness (i.e. you don’t know what your own reactions mean and why they occur), you are not likely to have success with difficult people. Not coincidentally, the first step in learning to deal with difficult people is to examine oneself.

It’s important that you look at yourself to identify which of the reasons apply to you. When you are aware of the reasons you choose to be a victim, you will be better prepared to make better, more rational decisions.

An impediment to awareness is “denial.” Have you ever said to yourself, “I can’t believe he said that?” It is likely that you have. What we are saying in those words is that our expectation of another does not match well with their actual behavior. One reason we fail to take action with difficult people is we don’t expect them to be difficult. We are caught “off guard.” Most normal people don’t go through life looking for trouble. But when it appears, unexpectedly, such as in outrageous outbursts, we have a tendency to freeze like a deer caught in the headlights of a car. We’re at a loss for words, almost disbelieving what is plainly in sight. We are incredulous over it.

Not only can we freeze up in such moments, but some difficult behavior is so outlandish that we remain stunned by it well after the fact, or we deny it or excuse it as an aberration.


Believe it! Even the best of people do difficult, hurtful, and unpleasant things to others. Don’t pretend it isn’t happening. If you do, it may just get worse. We are, each of us, capable of the worst behavior imaginable. What keeps us from it varies—societal pressure, the law, moral suasion, inherent goodness, a positive life experience that recommends it, etc. Whatever works to bring each individual under self-control must be as apparent and available as a hammer to drive a nail.

Are you in denial? If so, recognize that people do hurtful, difficult things and that they are indeed real and are happening. To deny what is happening only serves to make the situation worse.


Even when we recognize that someone is being nasty, difficult or unpleasant, we may be reluctant to act because we fear getting involved. Or perhaps, you know that difficult person who argues about everything, and you are tired of him. We think, “If I say something, it’s just going to make matters worse.”

At times, you’d be right. There are times when making something of another’s rage is not only inconvenient, but also dangerous. Consider road rage. If we stop (or speed up) to confront another’s poor behavior on the road we might find ourselves on the receiving end of a weapon in the hands of a fool. The larger picture renders the issue trivial in most road rage incidents, so we go on our way hoping the angry “other” will cool down before hurting someone.

There has to be a happy medium here. We don’t want to jump on every little thing, but we must be prepared to confront real issues of poor behavior. We deserve better, and “help” is what the miscreant needs most. However, if we choose to continually ignore such abuse, we paint ourselves as victims.

Recognize that dealing with a difficult person in a constructive way doesn’t have to mean getting into an argument or a confrontation. Managers must be willing to make people accountable, and not only to agreed upon goals. We work with people, and their willingness and cooperation is necessary to achievement. We need to work at not allowing our dread of confrontation to keep us from taking control of difficult situations.

Bad Cop

Another reason people tend to wait too long to intervene with difficult people has to do with not wanting to come across as the “heavy.” This promotes a poor self-image, something we humans avoid like the plague. This is particularly true of managers who are sensitive to the need to use power sparingly in today’s workplace.

Get over it! We get paid to manage—so manage. Whether it’s someone not doing a good job or interfering with the work of others, or someone polluting the work environment, managers, indeed all stakeholders, have a responsibility to co-workers to act when necessary. You are, in effect, charged with ensuring the welfare of those in your care.

They’ll Do It

There is a tendency in organizations to think that the really tough problems ought to be solved by “them.” It is the great lie in all societies—commercial and familial. We expect it of our politicians, our teachers, our pastors, our bosses, and our parents. Perhaps, this is why 85% of families and 70% of organizations are deemed dysfunctional. If we allow one employee to make life difficult for another, there’s a fair chance that the “victim” will come to blame us, even though we aren’t directly involved. As managers and leaders, we are ultimately responsible for results—at all levels of participation.

Just as “intervening” need not bring about confrontation, stepping in need not make us the bad guys. There is something of value at stake for all involved; reasonable people can come quickly to an understanding of it.

Fight or Flight

The final underlying reason for mishandling difficult situations is the “fight or flight” phenomenon. It’s biological—all animals have it. It works this way; when we are threatened, our bodies react by sending hormones and neurological messages to prepare it to either run away (escape or take flight), or to stand and fight.

It’s these chemical changes in our bodies that cause things like sweating, elevated heart rate, or even shaking during or after perceived danger.

Unfortunately, those same chemical changes, while allowing us to make a quick escape, or a fight of it, also cause quick and destructive verbal responses. So, there’s actually a biological reason why you might speak or react too quickly when dealing with a difficult person.

Fortunately, we can choose not to be slaves to the “flight or flight” thing. We can learn to control ourselves, and even to react less aggressively when in difficult situations. Perhaps, what is most helpful is to accept that the term “difficult people” describes us all, at times. Try first to defend that person’s position, then consider what to do about his behavior. The exercise may give you the empathy necessary to clearing most misunderstandings, and the path to appropriate behavioral modifications.


September 22, 2017 |

Write 18th Century Style at Washington’s Headquarters’ Quill Pen Workshop


Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site is a registered national historic landmark. It is located at the corner of Liberty and Washington Streets within the city of Newburgh’s East End Historic District. The site is one of 35 historic sites within the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and is one of 28 facilities administered by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission in New York and New Jersey. For further information contact: (845) 562-1195. For more information about New York State Parks, please visit our website at www.nysparks. com. For more information call 845-562-1195 or visit us on Facebook at

Help us save the Tower of Victory! The Palisades Parks Conservancy has completed a capital campaign to raise funds for the restoration of the Tower of Victory at Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh, NY. The Tower of Victory is truly one of the treasures of the Hudson Valley. For 125 years, it has stood as the nation’s only monument to the lasting peace that came after the end of the Revolutionary War. Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of the President and then Secretary of War, commissioned John Hemingway Duncan, one of the nation’s most renowned architects at that time, to design the massive stone arched structure that hosts bronzes sculpted by William Rudolf O’Donovan, the pre-eminent monumental sculptor of the day. It stands on the property where General Washington created the “Badge of Military Merit” now called the Purple Heart medal.

Mail your donation to: Palisades Parks Conservancy, P.O. Box 427, 3006 Seven Lakes Drive, Bear Mountain, NY 10911. Or donate online: Remember to put the Tower of Victory in the subject line so we know you want to be a part of the campaign!

September 21, 2017 |

Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival – October 14


Have the chance to meet more than 80 popular authors, who bring your favorite characters to life–from princesses to pups, to angst-filled teens, and every crazy character in between. The authors will sign their books upon request and some will host special readings scheduled during the day. Bring your whole family for tons of fun, food, kid-friendly activities, and entertainment and, of course, books to buy!

This is a nonprofit, self-supporting event. Local sponsors and an army of volunteers have turned this Book Festival into one of the largest on the East Coast in less than five years. It’s a wonderful event but also a story of true grit. How a group of parents, local writers and friends were disappointed that a book festival was leaving the area–and like an old movie script, they said “we can do this!” And they did!

For those of you in the city, it’s a lovely day trip–tons of parking and a short walk from the Chappaqua MetroNorth Station (A selected MetroNorth Weekend Getaway!). You will pass through a famers’ market in the morning and have access to a food-truck food court all day long. Let your children dream and meet the folks who have illustrated those dreams or spun the tales we have been enjoying for more than a generation. Do your holiday shopping in October. Or just experience the joy of the day!

Come meet authors and illustrators of every genre—preschool pictures books, early chapter books, nonfiction, middle grade fiction, graphic novels, and YA fiction. Here are just a few names you may recognize from your own bookshelves.

Nick Bruel author and illustrator of the NY Times bestselling series about Bad Kitty
Alyssa Capucilli, the author of Biscuit, and many books for young readers
“Barbara Dee, middle grade author with two new releases– Star-Crossed and Halfway Normal.”
Gail Carson Levine, who gave us the classic “Ella Enchanted” and more books for delighted readers.
Bruce Degen, author and illustrator, co-creator of The Magic School Bus Series with Joanna Cole, and others
Victoria Kann, the bestselling co-author/illustrator of the “Pinkalicious” series
David Lubar has written 35 books for teens and young readers. He’s written Hidden Talents and the Weenies series.
Gloria Jean Pinkney is the author of several storybooks set in familiar places. She collaborates with her husband, illustrator Jerry Pinkney.
Jerry Pinkney has illustrated more than 100 books & this year received to lifetime achievement awards: the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award.
SuJean Rim, author/illustrator of the “Birdie” series.
Rosemary Wells, author and illustrator, has given readers such unforgettable characters as Max and Ruby, Noisy Nora, and Yoko. She has created 120 books
Jane Yolen, a consummate storyteller, has written 350 books including Owl Moon, The Devil’s Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight.
Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewes, author and illustrator of the Click, Clack, Moo series.

And many, many more!

For a full list of authors please visit the festival web site



September 21, 2017 |

James Patterson Awards 20 Scholarships to Students at Manhattan College, His Alma Mater


James Patterson Awards 20 Scholarships to Students at Manhattan College, His Alma Mater
Best-selling author James Patterson ’69 gives students academic scholarships for the sixth straight year.

RIVERDALE, N.Y., September 21, 2017 – For the sixth consecutive year, best-selling author James Patterson ’69 will award 20 Manhattan College students with $110,000 in academic scholarships. The scholarship for the 2017-18 academic year was given to 10 juniors and 10 seniors from the Schools of Liberal Arts, Business, Education and Health, Engineering, and Science.

Patterson started the scholarship program to recognize and reward Manhattan College students who have achieved great academic standing and have shown leadership potential, especially those interested in the field of education. All 20 students received the scholarships based on merit, need and involvement in activities that are tied to the College’s mission.

“Manhattan College students have impressed me year in and year out,” Patterson said. “This group of scholarship recipients are no different. Their dedication in receiving an education is obvious in their hard work and talents. I’m honored to award this scholarship to such exemplary Jaspers.”

The scholarship recipients include:


Rinor Ahmetaj, civil engineering (Bronx, N.Y.)
Kaiyun Chen, secondary education (Woodhaven, N.Y.)
Alessandra Palmisano, mechanical engineering (Bronx, N.Y.)
Jaycie Cooper, communication (Monroe, Conn.)
Claudia Ramirez, biology (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico)
Diana Balaj, international studies (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.)
Karla Ortiz, secondary education (Bronx, N.Y.)
Melissa Gallardo, communication (Islip Terrace, N.Y.)
Meghan Polhemus, chemical engineering (Pine Beach, N.J.)
Muhammad Buttar, civil engineering (Brooklyn, N.Y.)


Mia Bertolli, biology (Leonia, N.J.)
Lorraine Bishop, radiation therapy technology (Bronx, N.Y.)
Carly Corbett-Frank, international studies (Winthrop, Mass.)
Kathia Coronado, mechanical engineering (Bronx, N.Y.)
Shane Duggan, finance (Pearl River, N.Y.)
Alessandra Eraifez, English (Yonkers, N.Y.)
Maria Mazo, biology (Yonkers, N.Y.)
Yulemmy Mendez, physical education (Bronx, N.Y.)
Shimul Miah, international studies (Bronx, N.Y.)
Lisa Marie Nilaj, civil engineering (Scarsdale, N.Y.)

The scholarship program will award $5,000 to each of the 20 recipients. All seniors are eligible to apply to receive one of four additional $2,500 awards based on essay submissions. The seniors will submit essays detailing their various accomplishments during their junior year and their personal vision for plans after graduation.

“We continue to be extremely grateful for James Patterson’s generosity and steadfast support of our students,” said Brennan O’Donnell, president of Manhattan College. “His scholarship program has enabled us to recognize and reward some of our best and brightest.”

Patterson has sold more than 350 million books as of 2016 and still holds the Guinness record for the most consecutive No. 1 novels on The New York Times Best Sellers List. His well-known books include Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club and the Michael Bennett series, along with his popular children and young adult novels.

In 2016, Patterson was named Book Industry Charitable (BINC) Foundation’s Inaugural Ambassador alongside fellow author Ann Patchett. The nonprofit foundation helps owners and employees of bookstores with financial burdens when crises arise. BINC selected Patterson as their first ambassador because of his donation of $2 million to independent bookstores and libraries in 2015.

About Manhattan College:
Manhattan College is located at West 242nd Street near Broadway in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, one mile from the Westchester County line and accessible by MTA subway line No. 1. For directions to the campus, visit

Founded in 1853, Manhattan College is an independent, Lasallian Catholic, coeducational institution of higher learning offering more than 40 major programs of undergraduate study in the areas of liberal arts, business, education and health, engineering and science, along with continuing and professional studies, and a graduate division. For more information about Manhattan College, visit

September 21, 2017 |

Free Dance Days October 9 – 14 at Seven Star School


Free Dance Days October 9 – 14 at Seven Star School

Experience the magic of dance class for free!

Do you have a child who loves dancing, singing or acting?

Are you looking for something FUN for them to do for free?

Then join us for our Free Dance Days from October 9 – 14 at Seven Star School of Performing Arts!

Choose from our popular children’s specialty classes. We have a variety of classes for ages 2-18. You can select a class that fits your child’s age and your schedule! We even have a Teen and Adult Zumba!

Your new dancer will love dancing to music, meeting new friends and having fun!

No experience is necessary but space is limited. Reserve your spot while space is still available and receive a free treat!

Seven Star School is located at 509 Route 312 in Brewster. For more information and to reserve your spot, visit them at or call 845.278.0728.


September 20, 2017 |

Memory-Making Meals Mark Back to School


In Good Taste







(Family Features) Most families are looking for ways to spend more time together, but managing the family schedule can be a daunting task, especially with the additions of nightly homework and extracurricular activities a new school year brings.

Hectic weeknight schedules during back-to-school season don’t need to get in the way of quality time spent around the dinner table with these simple tips for enjoying dinner together.

Designate a time. Write dinner time on a calendar in the kitchen so every family member is aware of this special time and can look forward to sitting down together. Even if your schedule is overwhelming, pick a specific day each week and block out time to have a meal as a family.

Rely on foods rooted in tradition. Experimenting with recipes can add quick and easy new favorites to the family meal repertoire like Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs, a modern twist on the nostalgic family classic. As food trends come and go, RAGÚ continues to be a culinary staple for family meals. For 80 years, RAGÚ has gathered families at the table to celebrate the tradition of creating memories around a mouthwatering meal. Whether that’s a new take on ravioli or a family-favorite pasta dish, families can count on serving up delicious pasta sauces rich with bold, Italian flavors and vine-ripened tomatoes.

Create rituals. To build a tradition in the kitchen, try involving the whole family by showing your kids age-appropriate ways to contribute to their favorite meal. Let them measure ingredients to create better-for-you turkey meatballs, carry ingredients from one place to another, mix and pour ingredients, and set the table. Creating a ritual of cooking a favorite back-to-school meal with your kids is a good way to help them build healthy habits and skills that will last a lifetime.

Step away from your cell phone. Designate dinnertime as a no-cellphone zone. Leave your mobile devices in another room to allow for time to reconnect with your loved ones and be fully present.

Create fun dinner table topics. Making the table a fun place to be is the best strategy for getting your family to dinner and keeping them at the table longer. Make a game out of sharing the best parts of your day with each other. This can be a great way to laugh together as well as an opportunity to offer much-needed advice and support.

Find more easy recipes to bring the family together during the busy back-to-school season and throughout the year at or on Facebook.

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 5


10           ounces spaghetti

1             pound (85 percent lean) ground turkey

1/2         cup Italian-seasoned, dry bread crumbs

1/4         cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional (optional)

1/4         cup chopped Italian parsley

1             egg, beaten

3/4        cup water, divided

1/2        teaspoon kosher salt

1            tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2           cloves garlic, minced

1/2        teaspoon crushed red pepper

1            jar RAGÚ Homestyle Thick and Hearty Traditional Sauce

Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt; keep warm.

Combine turkey, bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, egg, 1/4 cup water and salt. Shape mixture into 25 (1 1/4-inch) meatballs.

In large, nonstick saute pan on medium heat, heat olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper. Add sauce and remaining water once garlic is golden.

Arrange meatballs in sauce; cover and cook 10 minutes, or until cooked through (165 F), stirring occasionally. Serve with cooked spaghetti and additional Parmesan, if desired.

Tip: Use a small ice cream scoop or melon baller to easily make evenly sized meatballs.

September 20, 2017 |

Ideas for Leftover Foreign Currency

Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel



For those readers that have made trips abroad this summer and have returned home with small amounts of that country’s currency, what do you do with it? Most often the coins or small paper bills are stored in a desk or jar, left unused. Most “souvenir coins” are too small to exchange back to U.S. currency, but they are a nice reminder of a vacation. Speaking of exchanges, if you have a large amount of currency left over, exchange it promptly once you return home. Recently a friend came across money from a trip to Barbados in the 1980s and went to the bank to exchange it. Luckily it was only about fifty dollars. The bank teller said that “in some foreign countries the money expires if you don’t turn it in within their set time frame,” and this was the case here.


Displaying Money


Years ago we ate in an international restaurant in Virginia. They had a unique display of coins and bills from around the world. Even patrons began to add to the decoration if they saw some coins or bills were missing. They began to give the owner currency “to add to your collection.” Unbelievable to see was that it was a huge frame hung fairly low on the wall above a large seating area and it did not have a glass frame over the display. In other words, the coins and bills were reachable if an unkind patron were to remove one. None were removed as the printed names of each country had currency below it. If you have currency that you would like to display there are many ways to do that. Bookstores sell special binders or insert sheets where coins can be inserted for safe keeping. These loose-leaf pages can be put in a binder as a collection of overseas trips. Perhaps you are handy with a craft glue gun and would like to turn several coins into magnets for your refrigerator. Arts and craft stores have rows of shadow boxes or small wooden plaques that can be stained or painted as the backdrop for your coins that are glued to it. If you have a friend that is a school teacher that has geography units as part of the curriculum, some coins can be used as a teaching tool. Then again, if you know of someone traveling to the country for which you have leftover money, you can always give it to he or she to use.

September 20, 2017 |
TownLink is powered Chase Media Group. ©2014. All rights reserved.
Skip to toolbar