How to Deal with Confrontation

No! You McDonald’s University dropout, that’s not how I want my steak cooked!

Confrontations are sometimes unavoidable. Colleagues at work make unreasonable demands, neighbors play their music too loud, chefs overcook your food, or people sell you things that don’t work. Sooner or later everyone must learn how to handle confrontations.

1. Know that you are in the right.

You must be sure of your ground. For example, if your neighbors’ son has an 18th birthday party, you need to make allowances. There may be a little noise, but that isn’t such a big deal; after all, he will only turn 18 once. However, if the noise continues until 2 a.m., and you have to be up for work, your annoyance is justified.

2. Be calm and assertive.

During a confrontation, people tend to be either passive or aggressive. Pushing, shoving, yelling, and cursing are not helpful. Far from demonstrating confidence and power, such behaviors often reveal insecurity and fear. Truly confident people have no need to shout or bully. So keep your voice clear and strong but calm and level. You could even practice this at home. Learn to project your voice by reading out loud. If you are anticipating a confrontation, rehearse what you are going to say in front of a mirror. Above all, stay calm. Calmness implies strength.

3. Watch your body language.