This fear may stem from childhood, trying to placate grumpy and unhappy people where disagreements felt like a big deal. Also, a fear of confrontation may also come from a fear of being rejected.
But avoiding confrontation by bottling up what upsets you on a consistent basis, trying to be the nice guy/gal, can lead to a lot of pent up resentment, which may cause an emotional blow up, causing you to do or say something you really didn’t mean.
So for those times you find yourself in a confrontation, here are 5 simple ways to prevent a confrontational situation from exploding and turn it into a not so scary conversation:
1. Use facts only
2. No insults
Just like sticking to the facts, don’t go throwing insults around. Insulting and cursing might get rid of your frustrations, but this is only short-term.
Yes, sometimes you get angry, but calling names actually gives the other person a reason to be angry too. Now this becomes the issue, taking the focus off of what you wanted to discuss. Plus insulting someone will reveal negative characteristics about you and it won’t actually get the other person to change their ways in the long run.
3. Use “I” Not “You”
Want to know how to make someone defensive? Just start a sentence with the word “you”. The word “you” usually makes someone stop listening because all of his/her focus is now on defending him/herself. “I” statements will give them less to challenge. Using “I” is a nicer way to start out a possible confrontational situation, and it’s less likely to start an argument. Someone can argue with “you” but not “I”.
4. Make no assumptions
Don’t assume the other person knows why something he/she has done is a problem for you, so tell him/her. You can’t expect someone to be able to read your mind. Tell him/her exactly what the issue is and make yourself clear.
5. Stay Calm
If you’ve lost your cool with someone, he/she is probably not going to want to have any more discussions with you in the near or distant future. The best way to keep calm is to rehearse what you’re going to say. Fear of confrontation almost always occurs because an angry encounter is the expectation. Before confronting someone, close your eyes, breathe in deeply, let out a calm exhale, and just imagine yourself confronting that person. See yourself looking composed and unruffled, clear, yet fair and firm.
Do You Really Need to Confront?
Think about it… you don’t want to unnecessarily yell or confront someone and create problems where they didn’t exist, do you? So step back and think first.
“Avoiding conflict isn’t peacemaking. Avoiding conflict means running away from the mess while peacemaking means running into the middle of it.
Peacemaking means addressing those issues that caused conflict in the first place.
Peacemaking can never be separated from doing justice. They go hand in hand. Peacemaking means having to stir the waters on the way to peace.
Peacemaking means speaking the truth in love, but speaking the truth nonetheless.” ~Peggy Haymes