It’s completely natural to feel mad sometimes. But when that anger isn’t coming from you, but at you, it’s hard to know what to do. Do you know how to constructively deal with an angry person without escalating the situation? Use these pro tips to calm that rage even as it’s coming at you while staying physically and emotionally safe.
The Ultimate Guide to Handling Angry People.
Distance Your Emotions
Don’t let your emotions get involved. You don’t want to get swept up into the same emotional investment as the angry person in front of you. Getting on their emotional level isn’t a requirement to talk them down — in fact, it can be counter-productive. So the first step is always to step back, keep yourself in check, and don’t react to their anger with anger (or fear, or sadness) of your own.
You may be furious with the other person and be entirely justified for it. That doesn’t mean you should display your own anger. Fighting fire with fire only makes it worse, especially when it comes to throwing out personal insults. Stay calm, or pretend to be calm, while both of you figure it out.
Figure Out Why They’re Angry
Honestly, their anger most likely has nothing to do with you. People get upset at one thing and sometimes they don’t know how to channel their anger so they direct it at a person instead. They might be taking it out on you, but that doesn’t mean it’s your fault. Understanding the reason for their rage makes it easier to distance yourself emotionally.
Start by asking them what’s going on. Finding the root of the problem makes it possible to resolve the situation. Once you figure out what’s going on, you can help the person find a way out of their compromised emotional state. Allowing someone to stay mad and letting their emotions fester creates more problems down the road. Solving the issue now makes it easier for everyone involved.
Sometimes there’s no fixing the situation. That’s when you’ll need to improvise. Creating distractions is a great way to take an angry person’s mind off of what’s bothering them.
Using humor is a fantastic way to de-escalate the environment. Try telling a joke or putting a humorous spin on the problem at hand (but beware, joking about the subject directly may backfire). If that doesn’t work, try to get them to focus on something else. Start up a new conversation or start a game together —playing pool can keep the hands busy and let the mind come back to a place of calm.
Walk Away if Needed
Sometimes it’s best to walk away for a while. Maybe the situation is totally outside of your control. Some people need alone time to process their emotions. It’s not uncommon for people to be too angry to have a reasonable conversation. You don’t have to solve everything — it’s okay to give them space to cool down.
Ensure That You’re Safe
You shouldn’t be physically threatened by anyone. But, some people become violent when they’re infuriated. Stay safe by creating some space between you, and ensure neither of you is in a dangerous area. Kitchens and kitchen equipment can easily cause harm if someone’s in a fit of rage so if possible, draw the person out of the area. If the situation is escalating (their anger level seems to be rising by the moment) play it safe and don’t be afraid to call for help.
There’s no tried and true formula for talking down every angry person. But asking questions instead of making statements (that can be seen as a judgment) and trying to help them step away from the anger until their thoughts clear, really can help in many cases.
As always though, we really want you to stay safe, first, and above all else. So take care of yourself, and if faced with anger, we hope these will help you to deescalate the situation.