How To Deal With Angry People…

Dealing with Angry People: 5 Simple Tools To Resolve Conflict Quickly

Cate Scolnik | Tiny Buddha

angry people

“Often those that criticize others reveal what he himself lacks.” ~Shannon L. Adler

I answer the phone.

And then the yelling starts. The woman on the other end lets fly a barrage of abuse.

She’s angry and upset and she’s taking it out on me. Because I haven’t sent her a text message for two days.

She wants to know why I haven’t responded and what is wrong with me. She wants to know how I can be so mean.

I don’t understand. I thought I was giving her space during a difficult time. I was also dealing with events in my own life.

I’ve known her for five years, during which time she’s shown herself to be a powerful ally, a fierce supporter, and a generous friend.

And now she hates me, because I didn’t respond to her text.

Normally I hate conflict. I turn to jelly, stutter and stumble over my words, and feel guilty as all hell. I take on more blame than I should—say it’s all my fault. I just want the conflict to stop.

Actually, I want to run and hide until it all blows over.

But there’s no hiding from this call. No running away from this angry torrent of questions and blame.

And somehow I don’t turn to jelly this time. I find I have a strong inner core. A firm resolve that I can call on.

I’m not quite sure how, but I managed that conflict effectively. Even elegantly.

I didn’t necessarily manage it in the way that the other person wanted me to, but I managed it in such a way that I am proud of myself.

I managed to draw on all the conflict resolution skills I read about, but never used.

Here’s what I did.

1. Take their side.

One of the best things you can do to deflate a conflict is to agree with the other person, particularly if they’re really angry and emotional.

By agreeing with at least some aspect of their argument, they have nothing to fight about. The wind goes out of their sails because the person they intend to argue with agrees with them.

There really is nowhere for them to go. You don’t have to agree with their whole argument, just agree with something. You can say, “You’re right” and leave it at that, or you can say, “You’re right to be angry.”

What I said during that call was “I’m sorry you’re upset.” Doing this allowed me to empathize with her, but not give away my own power or accept blame for the situation.

2. Pretend it’s Groundhog Day.

Remember Groundhog Day—when Bill Murray had to do the same thing over and over? Well, it’s often good to pretend it’s Groundhog Day when someone is angry.

You see, when someone is really emotional and upset or angry it’s a little like they’re drunk. Adrenaline is coursing through their body. This sets off a series of events that triggers the release of hormones.

In fact, some people use the term “adrenaline drunk” because when we’re in this state our ability to behave appropriately, listen to reason, and even control ourselves is vastly diminished.

That old expression “I’m so angry I can’t see straight” is fairly READ MORE:

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