5 Steps to Deal with Confrontational People

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where someone had such a difficult and aggressive attitude that you felt your patience is dangerously close to running out?

The blood rushed to your head and you felt an emotional outburst is immenent.

Hopefully, you managed to pull back from the edge and the situation didn't escalate further. It's difficult to keep composure in such situations, especially when you've done nothing to deserve this kind of treatment, at least not intentionally.

Here are 5 Steps to Take When You Find Yourself Face-to-Face with Confrontational People.

These five steps will help you maintain your cool and composure.

Step 1. Wait.

Yes, counting to 10 does help. Resist the immediate urge to retaliate aggressively to negative people.

Taking a mental timeout for a few seconds will help you put things into perspective. This is not easy, as our instinct to protect ourselves kicks into overdrive when we're on the receiving end of unwarranted aggression.

Taking a few seconds to calm down goes a long way in preventing you from personalizing the situation - and the pause will help you to start thinking rationally.

Step 2. Analyze the situation.

Do a quick analysis of the situation and try to find the reason for the confrontation.

  • Some people act aggresively simply because they don't know any better - and if you are agressive as well an unpleasant way to resolve the situation is immenent.
  • Others could be under tremendous stress, or they are simply having a bad day.
  • In some cases, unfortunately, people use confrontation to get what they want.

Knowing the root of the problem will make the next steps you take more effective.

Step 3. Verbalize what's happening.

Relate the situation out loud as a way to put things in perspective for the other person (and yourself). They may realize how ridiculous they are being.

  • "I bumped into you by mistake as I was rushing for the lift. I'm sorry."
  • "I failed to give you the report on time. Please accept my appology."

Perhaps they'll calm down if they hear your running commentary of what's taking place and they'll change their attitude


Put focus on their actions. "You seem to be really upset about that. It was not my attention to upset you. I trully am sorry"

Chances are that they've overreacted, and they will start to put things in perspective.

Step 4. Be calm and confident.

Speak with authority in a calm, steady voice as you recount the events that have led up to this point.

When you are confident you show that you can stand your ground and a calm demeanor shows that you are not a threat.

Your primary goal is to avoid the escalation of the problem.

Step 5. Walk away.

Sometimes the best course of action is to walk away, although pride will try to convince you otherwise.

When the other person simply refuses to iron out the situation, then there's no point in wasting your time trying to reason with them.

Don't let a bruised ego put you in danger. Just leave.

When dealing with confrontational people it is imperative to help them realize how an escalating conflict won't resolve anything. You can do that by being calm yourself, by confidently reiterating what is going on and, if all else fails, by just walking away.

How do you deal with confrontational people?