The three minute read that will make you a great writer

Thank you Ravi for this most excellent post!


The 3-Minute Read that Will Make You A Great Writer

20 Amazing Writing ideas,which I got,while stuck in Traffic

Today again, I got stuck in traffic jam, as part of my daily routine.

But, today was a bit different, I did not get frustrated, angry or cursed at someone. I faced toxic fumes, incessant rain and notorious drivers, but still did not lose my cool. In fact, I was a tad sad, when the jam was over!!


Because Today, I utilized my traffic-jammed time effectively and used it to come up with great writing ideas. I was planning it for a long time now and Today was the day when I achieved it finally!

So My Amazing IDEAS, good, bad or ugly,are as follows-:

#1 After Inhaling Toxic Fumes and Deadly Smog

Blogging Idea #1

Toxic People kill productivity, here is How.

#2 After Missing Boss’s “Urgent” Meeting

Blogging Idea #2

10 Practical Ways to Pacify, an Angry Boss.

#3 After Attending an “Important” telephonic meeting with “Urgent” action items.

Blogging Idea #3

I do not believe in work life Balance.

#4 After Spilling scalding coffee, over my Laptop

Blogging Idea #4

Multitasking is killing your brain.

#5 After Hearing stale radio jokes, again and again.

Blogging Idea #5

10 Fabulous ways to take charge of your life, by being humorous.

#6 After Envying a sparkling red Ferrari.

Blogging Idea #6

The 1 surprising Reason, you will never become RICH.

#7 After Eyeing a cute redhead, in the same Ferrari

Blogging Idea #7

When is the last time, a cute girl checked you out?

#8 After Missing a desperate job interview.

Blogging Idea #8

Your Job search isn’t going anywhere. Here is Why.

#9 After Missing my marriage anniversary dinner

Blogging Idea #9

10 Time tested Amazing ways, to attain Nirvana

#10 After Barely surviving a potential Car crash.

Blogging Idea #10

4 Valuable life lessons I learned, after Cheating Death.

#11 After Your toddler screams “Potty, Potty”.

Blogging Idea #11

4 Powerful Leadership lessons, we learn from Children.

#12 After A throbbing toothache becomes vicious.

Blogging Idea #12

Procrastination is not helping your goals. Here is Why.

#13 After Missing a goddamned important flight

Blogging Idea #13

20 Amazing inventions, that will redefine travelling in the future.

#14 After Your car air conditioner suddenly goes KAPUT.

Blogging Idea #14

If you wish to Succeed, be Resilient to Failure.

#15 After Getting a BREAKUP message from my Lover

Blogging Idea #15

This is how, Love f**k*d my great career.

#16 After Doing “Forced” chitchat with the guy next car.

Blogging Idea #16

25 Irritating things you do; which nice people won’t tell you.

#17 After Doing “Forced” TRUMP chat with the guy next car.

Blogging Idea #17

12 Exciting ways in which, Trump has cast his spell on you.

#18 After Doing “Forced” chitchat with a chatty old woman next car

Blogging Idea #18

5 Powerful ways in which, Introverts excel in leadership.

#19 After It starts raining cats and dogs.

Blogging Idea #19

This World Water Day, are you doing your bit to Conserve Water?

#20 After Getting Stuck in traffic for a long long time with no Hope.

Blogging Idea #20

20 Amazing writing ideas I got, while stuck in traffic

Bringing It All Together

I am thankful to all those great writers who had written such fabulous posts on writing. These very posts inspired me to utilize every bit of my available time to work towards honing my writing skills. Hats off also to those writers who advocated usage of commuting time for generation of brilliant ideas for writing.

Remember Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.

So if you are motivated by this post, get going and start writing today!!!

Found this post useful? Kindly tap the ❤ button below! 🙂

About the author-:

Ravi Rajan is a global IT program manager based out of Mumbai, India. He is also an avid blogger, Haiku poetry writer, archaeology enthusiast and history maniac. Connect with Ravi on LinkedIn, Medium and Twitter.

Reblogged from:

A Meditator’s guide for dealing with difficult people, mindfully


Our relationships with people can often be challenging. We all have “difficult people” we need to deal with. It can be a source of pain, stress and frustration.

How can your meditation practice help you deal with them more skillfully?

In this article I write about the main types of difficult people, and how the skills that come from meditation practice can help you deal with them more effectively. At the bottom you can download a free PDF copy of this post.

[Disclaimer: Please, keep in mind that these are strategies to deal with general situations of social difficulty, and not extreme cases, like domestic violence.]

Page Contents [show]

Six Types of Difficult People

Before we jump into specific strategies, let’s first explore the types of “difficult people” out there. This also serves as a self-knowledge exercise, because for sure each one of us might also wear one of these hats from time to time. Meditation and personal growth helps us be more aware of these patterns, so we can transform them.

The Complainer

There is always something wrong happening for them. Things are never good enough, and they have an urge to express their frustration with every little thing, every time. In its extreme version, the complainer becomes the whiner or the victim.

They want you to hear their complaints and agree with them.

Spending time with a complainer only makes you feel negative.

The key emotion here is dissatisfaction.

The Antagonist

They are aggressive, confrontational, and pushy.

Some of them have particular feelings of hostility towards certain groups of people, manifesting as racist or misogynistic behavior.

Sometimes it is a personal dislike. In many cases, however, it is not about you. They are just a boiling pot of anger and frustration, and will pour it often onto whomever happens to be next to them. They get irritated easily and like to blame or attack others. In extreme cases, they are bullies who intentionally want to hurt you – sometimes in covert ways.

A more refined version of the antagonist behaves in a more civil manner on the surface, but uses passive aggressive speech, jokes or sarcasm to vent their true feelings.

The antagonist can trigger in you feelings of anger, abuse, distress, or of being a victim of injustice.

The key emotions here are anger and aversion.

The Narcissist

It’s all about them – and they want you to realize that. They love talking about their trips, fun times, achievements, and success, and clothes.

There is a feeling of self-entitlement. They want your attention, your confirmation, your fawning or admiration.

Talking to a narcissist often can make you feel disgusted and superficial. Or it can leave you with a false feeling that your life is not interesting.

The key emotion here is pride.

Mr. Better / Ms. Better

You find this type of person in every group. Their opinion is the only correct one, or at least the most accurate one. They believe they are better than you – be it in intelligence, material success, personal development, or whatever.

They conceal their flaws, have trouble apologizing or recognizing mistakes, and only put forward a shiny face.

What do they secretly want? Your recognition, admiration, and sometimes submission.

They are constantly judging and comparing. This can manifest as a “know it all” attitude; or as being a moralist, purist, elitist, or a show-off.

In a more refined expression, they hold their strong opinions with an armor of rational arguments, and use condescending language to point out your inadequacy.

Talking to a Mr. Better may make you feel bad about yourself, as if you are inferior.

The key pattern here is arrogance.

The Manipulator

They will do whatever it takes to achieve their goals, even if it means emotionally manipulating you to act according to their own self-interest.

They may be quite skilled as individuals – self-driven, observant, charming, and possessing good emotional intelligence and communication skills.

In more severe cases, these are the psychopaths and sociopaths.

You may not realize when you are in the presence of the manipulator – although with meditation practice you will become better at detecting it.

The key emotion is selfishness.

The Drama Queen/King

They are in the habit of spinning small frustrations into outsized disasters, and create exaggerated emotional responses to trivial things. This can be accompanied by blaming others, hyperbolic speech, generalization, pessimism, paranoia, and vindictive behavior.

Their moods are volatile, and they expect you to engage in their self-indulgent monologues. When you don’t, they make you feel bad for it.

They want our attention, emotional support, and ears. But spending time with them is exhausting, as if they are sucking your blood.

The key emotions here are neediness, self-importance, and panic.

Mindful Strategies for Dealing with Difficult People

As I asked myself the strategies that I have used when dealing with difficult people, and researched what other meditators had to say about it, many interesting tactics came up. Then I started looking for common patterns between all these practices.

From my experience and study, these are the five principles that are most helpful in dealing with difficult people:

  • equanimity — pause, breathe, and be present without getting emotionally affected
  • compassion — understand them from the inside out
  • communication — use active listening and skillful questions to get to the core issue
  • interruption — don’t get sucked into a rabbit hole; break negative interaction patterns
  • assertion — if all else fails, confront them mindfully but sharply, bring things to a definite close, or avoid contact

Of course, this is all easier said than done. But with time and a solid meditation practice, you will become more proficient on skills/qualities. Let me now explore them one by one.

1. Equanimous Presence

Equanimity is the beginning, the middle, and the end of all these exercises. It is your “meditator’s armor”. It means that your limbic system is under control and that the prefrontal cortex is running the show – which is why you can respond to the present moment more thoughtfully.

Without equanimity you are naked, and the difficult person has managed to bring you to his/her own playground. With equanimity, you can be present and fully engaged, but detached. You can see things as they are, like a clear mirror.

When you find yourself interacting with a difficult person, the first step is to pause and breath. Don’t jump into any reaction. Ground yourself in your body. Find where it is tense. Relax that part.

For that purpose, give yourself a few seconds to drop into your body, calm your breathing, and evaluate the situation. Stopping for some moments may take a bit of courage, since the other person is likely used to an immediate reaction. Exercising that courage is essential.

This pause shows that you are in power, that you are grounded. This is what it silently communicates to the personalities above:

  • To the Complainer, is says “That’s not important”
  • To the Antagonist, it says “I’m not intimidated”
  • To the Narcissist, it says “I’m not playing your games”
  • To the Mr. Better, it says “I’m not impressed”
  • To the Manipulator, it says “You cannot use me, I’m in control”
  • To the Drama Queen, it says “I’m not buying it”

Equanimity means you don’t need to become defensive. You are present, calm, fearless, and clear. A lion walking through the forest is never defensive, because he knows he has nothing to fear. That is the type of confidence that equanimity brings.

Equanimity is a direct product of meditation, and of purposeful daily practice. When you meditate, you are practicing equanimity every time you refrain from reacting to thoughts and emotions, and instead bring your attention back to your object of focus.

Another way of developing equanimity in relation to a particular situation, is going into meditation, then bringing that person to mind, and remaining the calm observer of all that happens. You can do this in relation to recurring challenges that you face in your daily life. Once the challenge happens “for real”, your nervous system will have already been trained to be equanimous in that situation.

Some people will try to take you out of your equanimity by saying you are cold, indifferent, or “not listening”. Don’t buy into that; it’s a trap. Show from your actions that you are compassionate and engaged – just simply not emotionally distressed.

Developing equanimity without giving attention to developing the other four principles can help protect you from harm, but it can also create a sense of isolation from the other person involved, which is unhelpful, and even unkind. So let’s now look at equanimity’s sister, compassion.

2. Compassionate Understanding

Difficult people are difficult because they are driven by negative emotions. Whether they are aware of it or not, those negative emotions make them suffer. There is so much pain and confusion in them, that it’s overflowing their cup, and spilling all over you.

So remember, the person in front of you is likely wounded. Or they have severely myopic views of life, and little self-knowledge. They can’t avoid it. They need help, not punishment.

When we put ourselves in their shoes, we are able to feel compassionate. We really understand them. Our anger/frustration with the situation diminishes, and we are able to be equanimous.

How can you put yourself in their shoes? Even for a minute try to imagine that you are inside their skin, that you have gone through what they have. Allow yourself to see the world as they see it. Try to really be inside their life circumstances, and feel as they feel.

You can do this exercise briefly in the moment, or at home as part of a loving-kindness meditation session. This is a powerful practice for building emotional intelligence and empathy. It will transform the way you see that person. You will be less annoyed by their behavior, and more able to hold your judgments more lightly.

3. Mindful Communication

Communication can make or break a relationship, marriage, company, or country – hence the need to be mindful and masterful in communicating. Bringing equanimity and compassion into your communication with others makes it much easier to communicate mindfully.

Mindful communication aims to be calm, clear, direct, and compassionate. It’s not about winning an argument, but about having a constructive exchange. It also means avoiding destructive communication patterns such as sarcasm, irony, and a sharp tongue.

Here are a few examples and guidelines for mindful communication:

  • Instead of attacking the Complainer or the Antagonist, ask ““What is your suggestion?” or “What is it that you are proposing?”
  • When talking to a Drama Queen or a Mr. Better, raise questions that invite them to review their point of view and see for themselves what they may be overlooking.
  • Diffuse anger or strong opinions by saying “Let me get back to you on that. You could be right.”
  • Bring in perspective by asking “How else could we look at this problem?” or “Is there any chance that this way of seeing this is not the best?”
  • Express your feelings directly, such as “I feel that ___” and “What you said makes me feel that ___”.
  • Avoid using “absolute words” like never, always, every time, everybody, no way, for sure, etc.

In order to practice mindful communication, you need active listening, and self-awareness. Humor can also play a role of lightening things up, but that’s off topic.

Active listening means giving undivided attention to what the person is saying, rather than thinking about what you will say next. And you show that you are listening, by means of eye contact, body language, nodding, and verbal feedback (such as saying “I see”, “mmm hmm”).

It is also helpful, when talking, to start by summarizing in one short sentence what the other person has said. “So I understand that you are upset because ____ while you expected ___.” This makes them feel heard and understood.

Self-awareness is needed so that you think before you speak, and closely monitor your words and the tone of voice, and their impact on your listener. It is an ongoing process, so keep tweaking these variables to ensure the smoothest communication.

Mindful communication is rooted in equanimity, presence, and compassion. It’s not necessarily “being nice” – it can also be confronting, but in a skillful way. The meditative ideal is to always aim to interact in a loving way, so there is growth on both sides. Sometimes that is not possible, and we can’t avoid that person either, so then we need to be assertive – or else we fall into what Pema Chodron calls idiot compassion. (See this great book of hers).

When mindful communication doesn’t do it, we need to either break the other person’s pattern or assert our boundaries. But always with equanimity and compassion as the foundation.

4. Interruption

Here the subject can get a bit touchy and controversial.

Some people seem to believe that meditation and mindfulness is all about being nice, meek, and passive. It’s true that meditation gives you the ability to be more calm and compassionate. But it also gives you more awareness, inner strength, and willpower – and sometimes you need to be firm and assertive. Not out of hatred, but out of self-respect and self-protection.

Some philosophies and spiritual teachers are against this, and will ask you to just accept and turn the other cheek. Others will say that we should be harmless, but we can use strength to defend ourselves when the aggression is initiated by the other part. So depending on your inclination, you might not want to use the strategies in this section – that is up to you.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

We all have patterns of behavior, communication, and thinking. The difficult person in front of you is stuck in their patterns; and sometimes they are so attached to them that they just cannot see beyond their biases. You have tried to be compassionate and to communicate mindfully, but it still didn’t work, and the situation is escalating.

If that is the case, one of two things will happen: either the other person will suck you into their black hole; or you will interrupt their pattern. There is rarely any merit into being dragged into their mess and feed the negativity. On the other hand, breaking their pattern by using aggressive means – like being louder, angrier, or ruder – is often disastrous. Retaliation rarely does any good.

As meditators, we can use our presence of mind, boldness, and willpower to shift the conversation powerfully, but without resorting to aggression. I’ll explore three ways to do this, from the most passive to the most assertive. They all require a certain degree of courage.

The Gandhi Way (passive)

If you just remain as you are, with equanimity, and showing absolutely no emotional response to the other person’s mind games, they’ll eventually get it. You can’t talk to a Buddha statue for too long without realizing that it won’t answer back. Here’s a cat doing exactly that:

Thus, you are interrupting them without doing anything in particular. You can take this up a notch by also peacefully staring into their eyes as they speak, and keeping still (trataka meditation helps).

Your silence, your non-involvement, is basically like giving rope for a person to hang himself (metaphorically, please). If this were a game, the most emotionally involved player is the loser. It’s an expression of the unfuckwithabilitythat I spoke about in this post.

Several years ago I have personally used this method many times with abusive people, and it worked like a charm. The person’s aggression is reflected directly back onto them; they become frustrated, and finally quit. And you basically spent no energy achieving that!

The Socratic Way (questioning)

Socrates was known as a great debater, and his technique was very interesting: instead of making assertions, he would ask many questions, slowly getting people to agree to all his premises. So, what is the

So, what is the Socratic way of dealing with a difficult person?

It is to reclaim the power in the interaction by asking them pointed questions that push them to see things from a different perspective, and to question their behavior. As the talk progresses, get really specific with your questions, to arrive at the core issue – it’s often different from what it appears on the surface.

So spend your energy asking more questions, rather than fighting back on the grounds of what they are saying. And do so with a calm voice and a curious attitude.

What I’ve noticed when using this technique is that people try to evade your question, and just bring back their own negativity. Or they make faces and say the question doesn’t make sense. In any case, if you politely stick to it, they will eventually retreat and look for someone else to dump their mess onto.

The Rebel Way (confronting)

When nothing else works, the Rebel Way confronts the person more directly. By calling out their behavior, the rebel puts a mirror in front of the other person’s face.

This can be useful when people persist in passive aggressive or condescending behavior. They feel like they are hiding behind the bush while throwing stones at you – so when you bring it to the light, their silliness is exposed. Now the ball is in their court and they are all busy trying to defend their position.

Here are some examples of confronting in the Rebel Way:

  • “From your condescending comment, I can see that you believe that ___”.
  • “Are you suggesting that your way is the only right one?”
  • “From hearing your complaints I have the impression you have given a lot of thought about this. What solution do you recommend?”
  • “Look, I know I’m not your favorite person. You are often hostile to me. But we need to work together. So, what are your thoughts?”
  • [To the manipulator] “I know what you are trying to do here. [Silence and walk away]”
  • “It seems we are having another Drama Queen day today, are we?”

Of course, we can tone it up or down, depending on the circumstance, the person involved, and what is at stake.

What’s the result of this strategy? They’ll be more mindful when talking to you. 😉

5. Assertion Of Boundaries

To control aggression without inflicting injury is the Art of Peace. — Morihei Ueshiba

If mindful communication, powered by compassion doesn’t work…

If trying to directly shift the conversation or interrupt the other person’s patterns doesn’t work…

Then all you have left is to assert your boundaries. Unless you want to let them walk all over you…

To draw the line, take charge of the situation and bring the interaction to a close. This is an act of self-compassion, and also of compassion for the other person – because allowing him/her to go on and on in that pattern is not going to bring him/her any growth.

Here are some ways of closing (from softer to firmer):

  • Look, I feel our conversation is not progressing much at this point. Let’s just sleep on this issue and talk again another time.
  • I have to stop you right there. It seems like you are having a tough day. I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for this right now.
  • I don’t want to be engaged in this type of conversation anymore. So I’m logging out. Bye!”

As you are bringing the interaction to a close, remember that you are taking charge. It’s just like when you take charge of your attention during meditation practice when it has wandered off into distractions.

So be sure to express your decision with powerful body-language (straight, open, and forward) and a firm voice. Instead of throwing the ball back at them, you are throwing it out of the court, and walking away. For you, the game is over.

Henceforth, you just try to avoid contact with that person, if possible. That is also asserting boundaries.

Bringing It All Together

We all need to interact with “difficult people” in our life. Or, better said, we need to interact with people that often give us difficult times.

These are precious opportunities for us to grow as a person, and test the powers of our meditation. By bringing out the shadow in us, difficult people make us aware of what we need to work on. By touching our wounds, they bring them to the surface so we can examine the, and do the necessary work of self-transformation.

The key practice is developing equanimity and compassion. These two qualities are helpful in all types of human interaction. When they are present, to some extent, then mindful communication is possible, and can work wonders. If all else fails, you need to interrupt the difficult person, or assert your boundaries and close things up – but always with compassion and equanimity.

There are entire books written on each of these elements – equanimity, compassion, communication, assertion. Here is simply my synthesis, so you can quickly put them into action in your life, today.

In this post I mostly shared what worked in my own journey, and I’m open to your criticism, corrections, and suggestions. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

This great article was Reblogged from:

What’s Normal Drinking? — A Spiritual Evolution

Suppose I give you an algorithm to figure out whether or not you’re a normal drinker. I tell you to take the number of drinks you’d consume on an average Tuesday, multiply it by a rough estimate of times you’ve “had too much” and divide that by the number of drinks that would qualify as […]

via What’s Normal Drinking? — A Spiritual Evolution

Disability can be enjoyed!

One of my friends is a painter and her art works are exhibited in many exhibitions in abroad too. Since she posts all her art work on facebook, I used to browse through the pictures when she used to inform me. Twice it so happened that I wanted to add a comment to a couple […]


Dealing with obstacles, by Marcelle Hanselaar

Wow. Different ways of dealing with obstacles…I’ve tried them all! Its difficult to get to ACCEPTANCE AND PEACE. Pictures speak 1000 words…I love this Buddhist wisdom.



Reblogged from:


Buddhism now

Dealing with obstacles 1 © Marcelle Hanselaar Dealing with obstacles 1 of 4

View original post 24 more words

100 ways to say “I love you”

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20160417 094210

Thank you, Marina Richter for this list. We often take our loved ones for granted.  Love this list! Read on!

How To Tell Someone You Love Them Subtly Yet Sweetly (100 Ways Provided)
Freelance Writer


The biggest reason couples fall out of love is simple: they don’t feel loved by their partner. Why? Because even though they may say “I love you” at the end of phone calls and before heading off to work, those words have no magic if not backed by thousands of other simple gestures.

100 small things to make someone feel loved

  1. Don’t forget to hug before you say goodbye. Physical gestures often go undervalued after a relationship has been going on for a while.
  2. Tell them how special they are to you. This goes beyond just saying, “I love you”.
  3. Express understanding when it’s needed by saying, “I understand how you feel.” If you don’t understand, express your desire to by saying something like, “Tell me how you feel so that I can understand.”
  4. Tell them frequently how much you appreciate it when they do things for you. We often get used to how much our spouses or partners do for us and tend to forget how much easier they make our lives.
  5. Tell them how much you enjoy certain aspects of their personality. For example, “I love your sense of humor.” You need to be praised for who you are and so do they.
  6. Go an entire day with your partner without saying anything but positive praise. You can make this as frequent a practice as you like.
  7. Fix your partner their favorite food without them asking.
  8. Offer to help cook.
  9. If you have kids, offer to take them out so your partner can spend some relaxing time alone. Alone time is important!
  10. Send an intimate text message to your partner for no reason.
  11. Email your partner while they’re at work just to see how they’re doing.
  12. Call your partner when they’re on break just to say hi.
  13. Reach across the car, the table, or the couch to touch their hand, if only for a moment.
  14. Pull out their chair, or open the door for them- chivalry, guys!
  15. Remember to give them a smile. I don’t mean smile at them or fake it. I mean giving them their own personal smile- the one you save for them.
  16. Instead of taking your frustrations out on them after a hard day, say, “I really needed to see you today because … “, or, “I had a hard day and I need a hug.” They probably aren’t the cause of your bad mood, so let them help you out.
  17. Joke and laugh, and laugh with them.
  18. Go to bed at the same time for a week. Talk or read together, or just sit quietly.
  19. If you have children, compliment your partner or spouse in front of them. This will make your kids happy, too!
  20. Brag about your partner in public. Yes, they may turn beet red if they’re shy, but they’ll appreciate it.
  21. Try to avoid their pet peeves (e.g. sponge left in the sink or toilet seat left up). You may think they’re silly but it’s important to them.
  22. Light a candle or two when you have dinner together to make the atmosphere more romantic, just because.
  23. Find creative ways to tell each other “I love you” in code.
  24. Have date nights. Go out or stay in, but make the night about one another.
  25. Pick her some flowers.
  26. Offer to watch a movie with them that they like.
  27. Give them a massage after a long day, or for no reason at all.
  28. Tell them they’re your best friend.
  29. Don’t be shy about sharing your feelings. Let them know if you’re happy or unhappy at the moment, and why.
  30. Listen when they tell you how they’re feeling.
  31. Buy small “just because” presents outside of a holiday or birthday.
  32. Write intimate messages on a piece of paper and slip it into their bag for them to find.
  33. Hold hands in public.
  34. Take lessons together. It doesn’t matter what kind.
  35. Apologize when you make a mistake.
  36. Let them be right sometimes.
  37. Play games from your childhood together.
  38. Give your partner space when they need it. But let them know you’re there when they need you.
  39. Run a hot bath for your partner when they seem stressed.
  40. Wash your partner’s car for them.
  41. Put a cute little toy that reminds them of you in their glove compartment.
  42. Try to do one random act of kindness every day for your partner.
  43. Try new activities together. Challenging ones are the best.
  44. Take a day off work every once in a while to spend doing nothing together.
  45. Let your partner sleep in. Turn off their alarm.
  46. And bring them breakfast in bed.
  47. Remind your partner that they’re hot or sexy.
  48. Take bike rides or go for walks together.
  49. Wear matching outfits every so often.
  50. Keep your partner’s favorite snacks on hand at all times.
  51. Volunteer together.
  52. Do each other’s hair.
  53. Create goals as a couple. They can be about fitness, finance, personal-growth, etc.
  54. Take an unplanned vacation together.
  55. Plan a special day for your partner.
  56. Use a photo of them as the wallpaper on your phone, and show them that.
  57. Do a chore that he/she usually does.
  58. Keep a shared journal between the two of you.
  59. Accompany him to game night/football night and be “one of the guys”.
  60. Take time to get to know your partner’s friends.
  61. Let your partner have a guys/girls night out sometimes.
  62. Put on your partner’s favorite song or music and invite them to dance.
  63. Be silly sometimes. Make fun of yourselves. Don’t be too serious.
  64. Sing for your partner or play them something if you’re instrumentally inclined.
  65. Tell them, “I’m more in love with you than I was yesterday.”
  66. When you’re having a bad day, lighten the mood by saying, “I hate everything today– but you’re pretty cool, as always.”
  67. Tell them that you think they’re even more attractive than when you met them.
  68. Tell them you were thinking about them.
  69. Tell them you support them.
  70. Tell them you love their body and mind.
  71. Tell them what made you happy today, and how it reminded you of them.
  72. Ask them how their day was.
  73. Say good morning every day.
  74. Say goodnight every night.
  75. Make sure they know you’re their “number one”.
  76. Show your partner you respect them by listening to their opinions on important decisions, and actually act on them.
  77. Tell them you appreciate what’s good about their opinions, even when you disagree with them.
  78. Lovingly tease them. Call them names too sickeningly sweet for anyone else.
  79. Flirt! Everyone enjoys flirting.
  80. Ask them to choose your outfit for work.
  81. Go to the gym together.
  82. Write a poem or song for your partner, even if it’s goofy.
  83. Make your partner a sweet card for no reason at all.
  84. Recreate your first date, run-in, kiss, etc.
  85. If you’re crafty, make them something. It doesn’t have to be useful, but make sure it’s adorable and reminds them of you.
  86. Tell them you’re lucky to have them. Tell them how you’ve changed since you met them.
  87. Be truthful. Let them know about the naughty mistakes you’ve made.
  88. Be gentle about pointing out your partner’s flaws. They may need to hear it, but always softly.
  89. Show your partner how you trust them. Don’t feel the need to know their whereabouts if they don’t open up first.
  90. Buy your partner a gift certificate for their favorite store.
  91. Never blame your bad mood on your partner.
  92. Write them a story about your love.
  93. Make a picture collage of the two of you.
  94. Do something silly together.
  95. Invite their family to dinner (if they’re on good terms, that is).
  96. Make a playlist of your favorite songs as a couple and play it on a road trip.
  97. Rent some cheesy romance movies.
  98. Ask your partner to share their dreams with you.
  99. Laugh when they joke, even if the joke isn’t funny.
  100. Make it easy for them to love you. You’ll find that they’ll act in kind.

An extraordinary personal ad

Amy Krouse Rosenthal, an amazing author, was able to “market” her husband while on her last leg of a fatal diagnosis. Her unselfishness is a beacon for me. Just WOW. Read on!


You May Want to Marry My Husband

Modern Love

Note: Amy Krouse Rosenthal died on March 13, 2017, 10 days after this essay was published. You can read her obituary.

I have been trying to write this for a while, but the morphine and lack of juicy cheeseburgers (what has it been now, five weeks without real food?) have drained my energy and interfered with whatever prose prowess remains. Additionally, the intermittent micronaps that keep whisking me away midsentence are clearly not propelling my work forward as quickly as I would like. But they are, admittedly, a bit of trippy fun.

Still, I have to stick with it, because I’m facing a deadline, in this case, a pressing one. I need to say this (and say it right) while I have a) your attention, and b) a pulse.

I have been married to the most extraordinary man for 26 years. I was planning on at least another 26 together.

As the couple head home in the early morning of Sept. 6, somehow through the foggy shock of it all, they make the connection that today, the day they learned what had been festering, is also the day they would have officially kicked off their empty-nestering. The youngest of their three children had just left for college.

So many plans instantly went poof.

No trip with my husband and parents to South Africa. No reason, now, to apply for the Harvard Loeb Fellowship. No dream tour of Asia with my mother. No writers’ residencies at those wonderful schools in India, Vancouver, Jakarta.

No wonder the word cancer and cancel look so similar.

This is when we entered what I came to think of as Plan “Be,” existing only in the present. As for the future, allow me to introduce you to the gentleman of this article, Jason Brian Rosenthal.

He is an easy man to fall in love with. I did it in one day.

Let me explain: My father’s best friend since summer camp, “Uncle” John, had known Jason and me separately our whole lives, but Jason and I had never met. I went to college out east and took my first job in California. When I moved back home to Chicago, John — who thought Jason and I were perfect for each other — set us up on a blind date.

It was 1989. We were only 24. I had precisely zero expectations about this going anywhere. But when he knocked on the door of my little frame house, I thought, “Uh-oh, there is something highly likable about this person.”

By the end of dinner, I knew I wanted to marry him.

Jason? He knew a year later.

I have never been on Tinder, Bumble or eHarmony, but I’m going to create a general profile for Jason right here, based on my experience of coexisting in the same house with him for, like, 9,490 days.

The following list of attributes is in no particular order because everything feels important to me in some way.

He is a sharp dresser. Our young adult sons, Justin and Miles, often borrow his clothes. Those who know him — or just happen to glance down at the gap between his dress slacks and dress shoes — know that he has a flair for fabulous socks. He is fit and enjoys keeping in shape.

If our home could speak, it would add that Jason is uncannily handy. On the subject of food — man, can he cook. After a long day, there is no sweeter joy than seeing him walk in the door, plop a grocery bag down on the counter, and woo me with olives and some yummy cheese he has procured before he gets to work on the evening’s meal.

Jason loves listening to live music; it’s our favorite thing to do together. I should also add that our 19-year-old daughter, Paris, would rather go to a concert with him than anyone else.

When I was working on my first memoir, I kept circling sections my editor wanted me to expand upon. She would say, “I’d like to see more of this character.”

Of course, I would agree — he was indeed a captivating character. But it was funny because she could have just said: “Jason. Let’s add more about Jason.”

He is an absolutely wonderful father. Ask anyone. See that guy on the corner? Go ahead and ask him; he’ll tell you. Jason is compassionate — and he can flip a pancake.

Jason paints. I love his artwork. I would call him an artist except for the law degree that keeps him at his downtown office most days from 9 to 5. Or at least it did before I got sick.

If you’re looking for a dreamy, let’s-go-for-it travel companion, Jason is your man. He also has an affinity for tiny things: taster spoons, little jars, a mini-sculpture of a couple sitting on a bench, which he presented to me as a reminder of how our family began.

Here is the kind of man Jason is: He showed up at our first pregnancy ultrasound with flowers. This is a man who, because he is always up early, surprises me every Sunday morning by making some kind of oddball smiley face out of items near the coffeepot: a spoon, a mug, a banana.

This is a man who emerges from the minimart or gas station and says, “Give me your palm.” And, voilà, a colorful gumball appears. (He knows I love all the flavors but white.)

My guess is you know enough about him now. So let’s swipe right.

Wait. Did I mention that he is incredibly handsome? I’m going to miss looking at that face of his.

If he sounds like a prince and our relationship seems like a fairy tale, it’s not too far off, except for all of the regular stuff that comes from two and a half decades of playing house together. And the part about me getting cancer. Blech.

I was totally serious about this and encouraged submitters to be serious as well. Hundreds poured in. A few weeks after publication in August, I heard from a 62-year-old librarian in Milwaukee named Paulette.

She suggested the word “more.” This was based on an essay in the book where I mention that “more” was my first spoken word (true). And now it may very well be my last (time shall tell).

In September, Paulette drove down to meet me at a Chicago tattoo parlor. She got hers (her very first) on her left wrist. I got mine on the underside of my left forearm, in my daughter’s handwriting. This was my second tattoo; the first is a small, lowercase “j” that has been on my ankle for 25 years. You can probably guess what it stands for. Jason has one too, but with more letters: “AKR.”

I want more time with Jason. I want more time with my children. I want more time sipping martinis at the Green Mill Jazz Club on Thursday nights. But that is not going to happen. I probably have only a few days left being a person on this planet. So why I am doing this?

I am wrapping this up on Valentine’s Day, and the most genuine, non-vase-oriented gift I can hope for is that the right person reads this, finds Jason, and another love story begins.

With all my love, Amy


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