How to Diffuse an Angry Situation

» Posted by on Nov 16, 2015 in Alpha Blog | 0 comments

How to Diffuse an Angry Situation

Diffusing an angry friend or loved one can usually be done very easily if you stay in control of your own emotions, and remain focused on finding a solution. It does take some practice and a lot of patience, but if you can master your own emotions and reactions during a conflict, you will find that you are able to settle the dispute and win over your counterpart’s trust and respect.

The most important thing that you can do during an argument is to really listen. That doesn’t mean just let the other person finish what they are saying and then pounce at the first pause in conversation. It’s important that you both allow the other person to say what they need to say, but to also process what they are saying. Just because you disagree on the topic doesn’t mean that what the other person is saying is invalid. They may have information  that you aren’t aware of,  or a different point of view that you have never thought of.

Always allow the other person to finish what they are saying without interrupting them. After they have finished, it’s important that you verify with them that they have said everything that they needed to say and that they feel as though you heard and understood them. If they don’t feel that they have, allow them more time to finish their thoughts. Do not interject or respond to the situation until the other party has completely finished their side of it.

When you do go to respond to your friend, don’t use defensive or insulting language. Open with a statement that shows that you understand they are upset (even if you don’t agree with the reason why). A statement such as “I’m sorry that you are so upset.”, or “I can see that you are very angry.” By stating that you can sense the other person’s emotions of anger or discontent, allows them to feel comfortable in admit to their feelings and elaborate on them. This also gives the other person a definition of what they are conveying, which allows them to tone down their reaction response. In other words, it lets them know that you know that they are angry, and that you want to work out the issue, and that there is no reason to continue acting out in an angry fashion, and that they can just get to the reasons of why they are angry.

If the argument has escalated to the point where it seems that the person is speaking on pure emotions, listen and ask them for clarification. Respectfully asking the other party the reason that they feel a certain way can open communication channels much more than just disagreeing with them. Listen to the reasons that they give you, and try to see where they are coming from.

Repeating something back to the person that they have said , and then asking if you are understanding them correctly, can help too. Often times when people are angry they say things that they don’t mean, or they word things in emotional language that can be confusing. If you repeat back exactly what they say, and then ask them for clarification, it often can help them see why you aren’t understanding what they are saying. Continue to ask questions to get clarity on the situation. Go beyond asking why they are mad. Ask them what they are wanting to achieve through this conversation, ask them what will rectify the situation, and ask them how to avoid having it happen in the future. If the conflict was due to something that you’ve done, intentionally or not, apologize and mean it.

Keeping a cool head throughout the conversation is an absolute must in order for you to diffuse anything. Remember to take deep slow breaths, sit down and try to relax, focus on the facts and the reasons behind why the person is reacting in such an angry fashion, and just remain calm. Don’t allow the other person to control the situation by upsetting you. If you keep control of your emotions and remain calm, you will see that the other person will begin to calm down as well. Their tone, reaction, and even words will seem extreme compared to yours, and they will recognize that they are not being attacked and don’t need to be on the attack either. Remain calm and focus on resolving the issue, not winning the argument.

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