Perhaps a customer was unhappy with an order, or a colleague was upset about doing a certain project.
Whatever the reason, dealing with these people can leave you exhausted, so what can you do?
Try these techniques to deal with aggressive people without offending them or causing them to direct their anger at you:
- Remain calm. The most important thing you can do when dealing with someone acting aggressively is to remain calm throughout the exchange. If you aren’t open to a calm and open conversation, it’s best to walk away. Getting angry or frustrated will only make the matter worse.
- Empathize. What’s making the person so angry? Perhaps they’re stressed or feeling overwhelmed. Make an effort to understand their reasons and think about how these particular problems would affect you if you were in their shoes.
- Express your concern. Some people don’t even realize how they’re acting, or how it affects those around them. Sometimes they’re acting on emotion and don’t realize the damage they’re causing. If this is the case, gently try to make them more aware of what their actions are doing.
- Be honest with yourself about your own anger issues. Can you sometimes be aggressive as well? If you do, this can affect how your loved ones act too. For example, if you have children and they see you acting aggressively, they may copy you.
- Talk about it. This tip may not be suitable for all and will depend on your relationship with the angry person. If you’re close to them, perhaps a friend or a romantic partner, then it will be much easier to talk about what has made them so angry.
- Emotionally distance yourself. Quite often someone will direct their anger at you even though you are not the direct cause of it. This can be frustrating but knowing this fact will help you to distance yourself from the anger emotionally.
- Try to distract them. A good method you can use to diffuse a situation is to use a distraction. Laughter is one of the best methods, as it is impossible to laugh and be angry at the same time.
- Use active listening. When you listen carefully to what they’re saying, you might be able to truly understand why they’ve become so aggressive in the first place. Once you understand the reasoning, it will be easier to resolve the situation.
- Involve others. If you’re feeling threatened or intimidated, you may want to remove yourself from the situation entirely. If you’re dealing with an aggressive person at work, you may want to get a colleague or your boss to help resolve the situation.
- Set consequences for their actions. If someone is acting aggressively and won’t back down, set boundaries and consequences. Telling them that there are consequences to their actions will sometimes make them think about how they are acting and allow them to calm down.
Dealing with confrontation and angry people takes great communication skills. As you start to use these techniques, you’ll experience less grief, greater confidence, and more effective relationship skills.