5 Tips On Dealing With Confrontations

dealing with confrontation

Most people are afraid of confrontations because they can be unpleasant. However, sometimes a confrontation is unavoidable – especially if you are not the initiator but are forced to respond to someone else’s angry outburst. Different things can trigger a confrontation, but the key here is to remember that your responses should be under your own control. You don’t have to be “the bad guy.” But neither should you be the pushover, or someone whose needs are trampled upon by a bully asserting his power. How do you cope with confrontation or the potential for confrontation?

1. Meditate. One way to ready oneself for confrontations is to have an agile mind. It can also be a way for you to confront your fears in a safe space, rather than be caught surprised and without a clue as to how to deal. Calm and insight into a situation can be learned through meditation. Recognizing what agitates you and why you are feeling restless can also be done through meditation. Meditation will help you be more mindful and at peace with your demons, while preventing yourself from being merely reactionary. Meditation is key.

2. Control your breathing. When the moment comes and you are thrust into a confrontation, take deep breaths, slowly; this lowers your heartbeat and blood pressure, and slows down the adrenaline flowing through your veins. It is natural for your body’s defense mechanism to kick in when immediately faced by a “threat.” However, it is best that you slow down your responses so that you are able to stop and think about what you are doing and saying, rather than just reacting blindly. You are not a cornered animal, but an intelligent, responsible human being. Do not let the other person pressure you or provoke you into saying or doing something you may regret.

3. Stay reasonable. This is not your fight. The other person is trying to engage you in a fight, for reasons of his own. Listen to him; try to find out what he wants from you. You are not obliged to respond to his provocation in the manner that he wants you to. You do not have to mirror him. If, from what he says, you see that you were somehow at fault, apologize immediately. Repeat the apology if he misses it. If, however, you realize that you are in fact the injured party, be patient, and try to make him see your side of things. Do not lose your temper. Keep a cool head. Be a voice of reason.

4. Turn a mirror on the other person. Sometimes a person does now know how he is behaving. Try to make him realize how his behavior appears to others. “Why are you yelling at me? Please calm down.” “Why are you cursing at me? Please be civil.” “Is there a reason you are being so hostile towards me? There is no need for violence.” Try to make him realize his surroundings; bring him out of his headspace. “We are in a public place.” “People are watching.” “Security personnel are on their way.”

5. Do not let the other person push your buttons. A modicum of self-awareness teaches you that there are some things that will trigger your own anger. Keep these in the back of your mind and remind yourself to stay calm even if the other person pushes those buttons. Do not allow him to draw you into an argument. If he is in the wrong, he should be made aware of that – but it is easier if you do not let the argument escalate to the point where both of you are shouting, and perhaps coming to blows. If someone is present to act as arbiter, enjoin that person to be a calming influence. This person will also serve as a “witness” if the incident escalates, or if a settlement is made, and there is any sort of agreement made between you and the other person in terms of solving the problem.

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