Every person faces confrontation. Some face it better than others.
You know what it feels like when a person gets in your face, yelling about what you did wrong. Then this person proceeds to tell you what to do next in order to correct things.
It’s awful. Unexpected. Embarrassing.
But there’s the flip side. What do you do when you’re the one needing to confront a situation? A person? A behavior?
To begin with, most people walk away from confrontation. Maybe its part of their makeup, their upbringing or the result of a confrontation gone wrong.
Their voice goes up a few pitches, they begin to shake, and their thoughts take on a personality of their own. It’s the ‘flight or fight’ syndrome kicking in pumping adrenaline throughout your body preparing you to kick butt or run like the dickens.
In living a life with integrity, honesty and truth you will come across times when you need to confront a wrong, a misdeed or a lie.
Here are 5 steps to help you confront a situation or person.
Step 1. Take a deep breath. This lowers your heartbeat and blood pressure. Breathing slower, or controlling your breathing, lowers the amount of adrenaline flowing through your body. Adrenaline is what makes you anxious or tense.
Step 2. Rehearse what you want to say and what you are willing to say. These are different, for example, you may want to say, “Get your head out of the clouds and think about what you are doing!’ versus what you are willing to say, “This needs to be looked at from another direction. What other thoughts do you have?”
When you decide on what you are going to say, practice it. Make key points of your argument. Outline specific ideas, requests or behavior you are pinpointing. It also doesn’t hurt to offer solutions.
Step 3. Say it aloud to yourself. What does it sound like? What triggers does it arouse in you? Know what triggers can move you to anger or uncertainty so you can prepare responses to those triggers. Knowing your triggers makes it less likely that someone can push your buttons when you’re confronting them.
Step 4. During the confrontation, don’t be afraid to make the person aware of how he or she is responding to your feedback. For example, “Why are you shouting at me?” or “You seem really angry at what I’m telling you.” Bringing attention to the process or context of the discussion rather than the specifics can help deflate the other person’s reaction.
Step 5. Don’t get sucked into their arguments. That is their way of distracting you from the real issue or feedback you gave in the first place. The purpose of their argument is to manipulate you into dealing with what they want to talk about – not what you are confronting.
Rather you can acknowledge their feelings but don’t get involved in dealing with their feelings or making them the center of the discussion.
Confrontation isn’t a bad thing. The word has just been given a bad rap. Confrontation is an opportunity to correct a wrong, enlighten others and make change happen.