Confrontation into Conversation

The fear of confrontation prevents some people from being straight with another person and defending their position.

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

Confrontation needs absolute clarity, so stick to the facts to avoid chaos and arguments.

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


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Dancing to your own rhythm

Think about it… is there anything wrong with dancing to your own rhythm? Is not fitting in to the so-called norm such a bad thing?

I say, absolutely not! There’s no reason to worry about or avoid standing out as an individual.

Being who we are allows us to look at the world around us with a different set of eyes. It lets us fly into the wind against normal conventions and beliefs. It splashes bright bits of color onto the grays of conformity.

There are times that it’s hard for me to let my freak flag fly, and when I do, there are times that I feel the need to apologize for what I believe, what I say, and what I do.

But then I think to myself, “Why am I apologizing for that? It’s who I am!” It’s the real me, my authentic self. 

Being authentic is expressing all the different parts of ourselves – the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – united into one self.  Plus being authentic means not maintaining some type of semblance. Some of us are so afraid of not fitting in and so used to being inauthentic that it has become enmeshed with who we truly are.

It takes guts to be who we really are and to not care what others think; at times this can be downright uncomfortable. And other times it could mean losing or cutting ties with friends or family members, but…

When we just “fit in” nobody gets to learn and benefit from all the knowledge and diversity we can all contribute to this world.

So don’t hold back. Go ahead and dance to your own rhythm (and you can wave your freak flag while you do!) : ) 

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”


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