Dealing with those that are angry

Picture of angry man on telephoneIn business as well as life in general we are going to find people that are angry. For many today expressing anger has become a way of them ‘getting their own way’. It seems built into the human psyche is that we believe that if a person is very emotive that they must be right.

Is that true? Does an outpouring of emotion and anger mean that a person must be right?

The reality is that this is not true and in most cases angry people are wrong. Outpouring of anger is often a result of  “fear and frustration and tall stories” says Seth Godin.

When we have a customer that is subjecting us to a tirade of anger  keep this in mind. Try and calm the person down and find out what the frustration or fear is. What is the ‘tall story’ that is causing them to feel the way they do. If there anger is based on any of the three things that Seth mentioned you will not be able to resolve the problem if you don’t find out.

Let award winning therapist Ian Beardsall explain how you can calm down a person that is angry and highly charged.

Can you recall the last time you had to deal with a negative or difficult person? Or the last time someone said something with the intention of hurting you? How did you handle it? What was the result? What can you do in the future to get through these situations with peace and grace?

No matter where we are or where we go in this world, we will come across negative people, people who disagree with our ideas, people who will try to upset us or people who simply do not like us. There are over 6 billion people out there and disputes are a fact of life. This fact isn’t the cause of conflict but it is the trigger to our emotions and our emotions are what drive us back to our most basic survival instinct; react and attack in order to defend ourselves.

In these instinctual moments, we may lose sight of ourselves and become the human animal with an urge to protect when attacked. This too is natural. However, we are the only animal blessed with intelligence and having the ability to manage our responses. So how can we do that?

I regularly get asked “How do you deal with the negative comments about yourself? They are harsh. I don’t think I could handle them.” My answer is simple, “I don’t let it bother me to begin with.” It wasn’t always this simple, and took me some time before overcoming this natural response to protect myself and attack back.

I know it’s not easy, if it was easy, there wouldn’t be difficult or negative people to begin with.

10 Top Tips for Dealing with Difficult People

While I’ve had a lot of practice dealing with negativity, it is something I find myself having to actively work on. When I’m caught off guard and end up resorting to a defensive position, the result rarely turns out well.

The point is, we are humans after all, and we have emotions and egos. However, by keeping our egos in-check and inserting emotional intelligence, we’ll not only be doing a favour for our health and mental space, but we’ll also have intercepted a situation that would have gone bad, unnecessarily.

Here are some tips for dealing with a difficult person or negative message:

1. Wait it Out

Sometimes I feel compelled to instantly defend myself. I’ve learned that acting when emotionally charged never get us the result we want; they only add fuel to the fire. What is helpful is inserting time to allow ourselves to cool off. Wait until you’ve cooled off before responding, if you choose to respond at all.

2. “Does it really matter if I am right?”

Sometimes we respond with the intention of defending the side we took a position on. If you find yourself arguing for the sake of being right, ask yourself “Does it matter if I am right?” If yes, then ask “Why do I need to be right? What will I gain? ”

3. Don’t Respond

Many times when a person is being difficult, they are trying to trigger a response from you. When we react, we are actually giving them what they want. They will be trying to engage into a ‘game’ with you. Stop the ‘game’ and don’t bother responding.

4. Stop Talking About It

When you have a problem or a conflict in your life, don’t you find that people just love talking about it? We end up repeating the story to anyone who’ll listen. We express how much we hate the situation or person. What we fail to recognise in these moments is that the more we talk about something, the longer we hold onto it.

5. Be In Their Shoes

As cliché as this may sound, we tend to forget that we become tunnel versioned at times. Try putting yourself in their position for a moment. This understanding will give you a new perspective on becoming rational again, and may help you develop empathy for the other person.

6. Look for the Lessons

No situation is ever lost if we can take away from it some lessons that will help us grow and become a better person. Regardless of how negative a scenario may appear, there is always a hidden gift in the form of a lesson. Find the lesson.

7. Choose to Eliminate Negative People In Your Life

Negative people can be a source of energy drain. And deeply unhappy people will want to bring you down emotionally, so that they are not down there alone. Be aware of this. Unless you have a lot of time on your hands and do not mind the energy drain, I recommend that you cut them off from your life. Again, stop interacting with them as much as possible. Remember, healthy attracts healthy.

8. Become the Observer

When we practice becoming the observer of our feelings, our thoughts and the situation, we separate ourselves away from the emotions. Instead of identifying with the emotions and letting them drive us, we observe them with clarity and detachment. When you find yourself identifying with emotions and thoughts, bring your focus on your breathe.

9. Worst Case Scenario

Ask yourself two questions,

1.“If I do not respond, what is the worst thing that can result from it? “

2.“If I do respond, what is the worst thing that can result from it? “

Answering these questions often helps you realise that nothing good will come out of reacting. Your time will be wasted, and you will feel worse.

10. Express It

Sit down and write all your negative thoughts on paper freely without editing. Continue to do this until you have nothing else to say. Now, (in a safe environment) burn that piece of paper and as you watch the smoke rise up, imaging it either going to the person it really belongs to or being recycled as positive energy by the universe. Let it go!

Thanks go to Ian Beardsall for the above tips.

Image: Filomena Scalise /


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