It’s inevitable, I suppose, during the course of the holidays, when friends, family and loved ones gather round, that certain quirky personality types are heightened or at least noticed more.
Needless to say, I had a few run-ins over time. It reminded me of an event in the past that I would like to use as an example.
See if you recognize this type…
The PHI, aka Pig-Headed Individual, aka Pig-Headed Idiot, (e.g. ‘I’m right. You’re wrong. Admit it!)
These are the kind of people who simply cannot admit they are wrong regardless of the evidence heaped against them. The PHIs will make the most outrageous statements and then refuse to back down when what they present as facts turn out to be, at best, howling errors. In some cases, they will not stop at merely ‘sticking by their guns’ but will in fact not back down until they get you to admit that their outlandish statements are right.
(It’s kinda hard to reason with this person)
My dear friend RS  and I had the misfortune to be present a year or so ago when two formidable PHIs squared off at an up-to-that-time perfectly pleasant dinner party. At one point, one of the PHIs tried to schlepp a very uncomfortable RS into the argument. Fortunately, I sensed her discomfort and managed, gracefully, to extract my dear friend from the brawl. After the rescue, RS and I spent a good amount of time talking together on the staircase trying to figure out just how best to deal with such troublesome social predicaments in the future.
RS ruled out – rather too hastily, I thought – taking the offending parties out back and thrashing them to within an inch of their loathsome little lives.
(I’m just not getting through to you, am I?)
She initially suggested a course of ‘active ignorage.’ While this sounds like a very practical solution, upon closer inspection it is not a solution at all. Avoiding a problem doesn’t solve it… nor is it truly ‘dealing’ with the situation. Besides, left unchecked, the PHI tiff could escalate into a Truly Unpleasant Incident. Such a result would not only have spoiled our otherwise good time but that of everyone else at the party/event. Also, depending on the size of the function, an ugly spat is sometimes hard to ignore.
More importantly, it would run the risk of extirpating  all the fun from a soirée that was carefully planned by a very dear mutual friend.
Luckily, things did not escalate between the two PHIs. Drastic Measures  were not needed, thank goodness. Some quick-minded socially adept individual came to them, apologized profusely and asked one of the PHIs for help in the kitchen. The intransigent combatants were separated without either of them admitting defeat.
I personally dislike unpleasantness and ill-feelings, even between others. RS is the same but we differ in our approach.
RS recommended that I have a word with our dear mutual friend about not inviting those two particularly obstinate PHIs together at the same event. I hinted that she perhaps over-estimated my influence with our friend. RS would have none of it. An intervention was what the doctor ordered, she felt, and, by gum, I was just the person to do it.
The next day I did manage to have a word with our friend but I’m not sure it accomplished much or at least not as much as RS had hoped. Our friend took the position that it was not up to her to ‘fix’ her guests, damaged as they may be. By that, I took it to mean that it was up to RS and me to take matters into our own hands and do as we saw fit. I planned to re-address the ‘thrash them in the backyard’ alternative with RS. I felt confident that, in time, I could win her over.
I wish I could say my attempt at an intervention was met with approval from RS.
RS was, to be kind, unimpressed with my encounter with our dear mutual friend and felt that I should have been more persuasive, more convincing, more adamant… in other words, a lot more like her and a lot less like me!
As RS put it in a rather curt text message to me after I broke the news to her, “Preemptive Etiquette FAIL!”
Some people have to be right no matter what!
 Not to be confused with my SigOth, the lovely SG. RS is a close, very dear friend of ours and practically a member of our family.
 Extirpate [ek-ster-peyt, ik-stur-peyt] verb (used with object), -pat·ed, – pat·ing: to remove or destroy totally; do away with; exterminate. [RS and my ‘Word of the Day’ that day.]
 Drastic Measures can range from “accidentally” spilling something or knocking something over, diverting attention away from the brewing argument, to, in extreme circumstances, feigning some kind of attack or seizure. On one memorable occasion, RS faked intense labour pains! This was only slightly undermined by the fact that she was holding her 4-month-old daughter at the time.
 I do not have any actual photos of RS. She intensely dislikes being photographed. This was the closest I could come up with on short notice.