3 Unhelpful Responses to Confrontation

Confrontation can create many unpleasant feelings and situations: awkwardness, irritation, and hurt. However, it can achieve much more if handled correctly—improved communication, understanding, solution to a problem, respect, and trustworthiness. The key is to do your part when faced with confrontation.

Here are three things to avoid when confrontation occurs:

  1. Interruption: If someone has worked up the courage to speak to you about a problem, give them the respect to finish what needs to be said. Interruption will only create more tension and frustration. Wait for your moment to speak—that way, both sides of the story will be clearly addressed.
  2. Anger: It’s tempting to get angry, to feel offended, and to become defensive, especially if the person confronting you has an angry tone. You want to match it. More than that—you want to raise the stakes. Don’t do it. Stay calm and keep focused on the issue at hand. Most often, the biggest obstacle in confrontation is learning not to take the matter personally. By remaining levelheaded, you will find resolution much more quickly and easily. Using anger as a tool in confrontation can unravel a relationship—but when handled maturely, it can result an improved relationship with better trust and new levels communication.
  3. Blame: You haven’t interrupted, and you’ve kept your temper in check. But are you aching for the moment you can finally say “But this isn’t my fault! [Insert excuse] is the real reason it happened!”? While you may not have been 100 percent involved in the issue at hand, were you 20 percent involved? 10 percent? Own up to your words or actions relevant to the situation, and leave it at that. The person confronting you will have a better picture of the whole situation if you’re honest and transparent. They will also appreciate your honesty and willingness to take the brunt for an action that may not have been entirely your fault.

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Written by
Elizabeth Russell
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Written by Elizabeth Russell