Saturday, April 28, 2018

The #Confrontationists :And how to deal with them

If like me you too abhor confrontations,then this is for you.From the time I can remember,I have disliked aggression,domination,accusations,showdowns,acrimony-and even debates.But I have come across people whose only way of communicating is to oppose others.They will not forego any opportunity to butt in with a contradiction to prove you wrong or  hold you responsible for whatever has gone wrong.

What do you do when you are face-to-face with such a person?Keeping quiet after he has had his say shrivels your ego and undermines your public image.But you don't want to be rude or spark long debates.Moreover,answering back requires the knack of serving quick,sharp retorts,which everybody may not be good at.What if you give a smart reply and are silenced with a smarter one?It is not easy to out-smart a confrontational person.

However,learning the best way to deal with such people is essential to conserve one's sanity and safety.How,and to which degree you react depends upon who the aggressor is.confrontationist could belong to either of the following three categories:

2-Close Interpersonal relationships
3-Acquaintances or colleagues

A Stranger
When an unknown person accosts you belligerently:beware.He could be a drunkard or a psychopath or simply someone in a terrible mood.Since he has targeted you without any provocation,he is either boiling with rage or not fully there.Make sure you are safe first.Be alert to his movements:has he increased his pace?Are there any signs of violence?Decide what you will do if the situation deteriorates. Whom can you call for help? The best course is to just nod and move away.As soon as possible.
Intimate or close relationships
Aggressive behavior of close friends or relatives is the most tormenting of all.They are the ones from whom you expect support, cooperation and empathy,but these qualities are rarely seen in dominating individuals.What compounds the problem is:you cannot break free from such relationships.If you did,you would also lose their favorable aspects.

On the other hand if you go on suffering in silence,then one day pent up emotions of anger,resentment and hurt pride will breach the dam to come out in an angry outburst which might even be untimely and out of context to the issue at hand;invoking more ridicule.

My way of averting such a crisis when I have had enough of belittling is,to say calmly when both of us are in a good mood,that this kind of behavior is not good for our relationship and it hurts me terribly.

If the other person is not amenable to my request.I would try to rope in someone whom he holds in high esteem.If even that does not work(it is not likely to have any effect on a narcissist)then I just shrug and tell myself"He is like that only,it is about him and not me.Got to accept the thorn with the roses."

Colleagues and Acquaintances
After the first two categories,dealing with the above is a walk in the park.A thumb rule is to avoid engaging with them unless it is absolutely necessary.It is not possible to avoid an overbearing colleague since you meet him every day but try to maintain a distance between between the two of you because if you are on chatty terms with him his behavior is bound to rile you till one day you give a sharp retort, and that would be the end of a cordial relationship.If you can envisage when he is preparing to aim his broadside at you,make a polite excuse and run away.

Casual,domineering friends can be very irritating.You don't want to dump them but you can also not suffer endlessly.You also don't want to be rude or get into an altercation. If the matter in question is of no import to you,then you can choose one of the frivolous replies given below:
" You think so?"
"Never thought much about it"
"Very interesting"
"Your views are very original"
"I wish I could carry this conversation further but I have to rush now"

Most of the times such answers will do the trick.If not,then a little bit of cold shoulder will help.

But there are occasions when you cannot take the easy way out.Like,when someone encroaches upon your rights or flings false accusations on  you.Then you have to make clear that such behavior is not acceptable.

At the end of the day we have to weigh out the benefits and the disadvantages which entail a relationship and act accordingly.


  1. I'm wary of confrontations and confirtationists. Don't have the energy to argue or engage with them. I ignore and walk away with let's agree to disagree.

  2. I have always shied away from confrontation and found myself at the end of the road, unprepared on how to react. You have offered some very interesting suggestion on ways to act and not react. I am quite bad and few instances I lost my cool on social media ending up non talking to each. I worry about one day pent up emotions will flow.

    1. The confrontationists can sometimes become too much to tolerate.Personally,I cut off all connections with such people.Then,I feel more calm.

  3. I belong to the same category as you do. I also abhor confrontation. I am actually unable to even snap back and pay in the same coin. I just keep quiet. Usually, the confrontationist gets frustrated by my lack of enthusiasm to engage him, and backs off. I keep off such people as much as possible.
    A good and useful post.

    1. Looks like I have good company!Yes snapping back requires a lot of practice and it is so tiring,as Alka has said.

  4. Great tips to manage confrontations.
    Hope we never have to face such situations.
    Sad that in reality we have to deal with so much & more!
    If we don't say anything or walk away, then 'silence is consent' and they say that we are guilty & thus we have nothing to say in our defense :)

    1. What you say is also true,people will interpret everything in the way it suits them.


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