We can’t always avoid discussing uncomfortable situations with people. Knowing how to confront someone in a civil manner is more than necessary.
There are just people out there who hate confrontation. I’m certainly one of them. But life comes with all sorts of situations that require confrontation and that means we have to learn how to confront someone in a way that doesn’t create a scene.
It’s not easy. Having an issue with someone is hard enough but going up to them and talking about it is both uncomfortable and really awkward. This is especially true if you’re the quiet, shy type.
Being shy doesn’t mean you can’t confront someone
It might be more difficult for you to go up to someone and tell them how you feel but it’s still possible. The fact that you don’t want to talk to a lot of people really doesn’t make much of a difference in the long run.
Those who are shy can even find it easier to confront people because there’s a specific reason to talk to them. Putting yourself in the mindset of confronting someone about an issue can make it that much easier to go through with it versus talking to someone at random. [Read: 10 motivational tips for shy people and introverts]
How to confront someone when you hate uncomfortable situations
As much as it can be annoying and awkward to confront someone after a less than savory situation, it’s still necessary. It’s required in order to stand up for yourself and demand respect. Here’s how you can do it.
#1 Prepare. You probably hate talking to people about awkward stuff and that means you really have to prepare for it mentally. Sit yourself down and prepare for the confrontation. If you’re just thrust into it, you’ll panic and that’s when things get tough.
Before going through with it, make sure you’re ready and you feel as though you can discuss what you need to without freaking out too much.
#2 Figure out what you’re feeling. It’s not enough to know you’re upset and need to talk. You have to get to the bottom of whatever it is you’re feeling. Think hard about the situation and then think about how it would make someone else feel. This allows you to look at the situation from a different perspective to gain logical clarity. [Read: How your self respect affects you and the relationships in your life]
#3 Think it through fully. Before you end up making an unsavory situation even worse, think about it in full. Don’t make any rash decisions. What is it you want to say? What are you hoping to get out of the situation? Sit yourself down and figure this out first.
#4 Write down what you want to say. Instead of just winging it, write down all the things you want to get across. It’s easier to figure out how to start when you have an ending in mind. So jot down the stuff you want to talk about on a piece of paper and read it over to yourself.
#5 Ask someone to hear your side. Sometimes we can’t see things clearly when we’re thrust into the middle of them. Meaning, a situation may have been upsetting to you but that could be a result of irrational thinking on your part. So have someone else hear your side so you can get an outside perspective on the matter first. [Read: 15 ways to cut out drama and resolve conflict]
#6 Know that your concerns are valid. It’s easy to think that your concerns don’t matter when you hate confronting people. You’d rather just ignore it but that’s toxic and bad for you. Know that your feelings are valid and you have a right to be heard.
#7 Wait until you’re in a calm state of mind. Confronting someone when angry will only end in one way – and it’s not the way you want it to. Honestly, just calm down. Separate yourself from the situation and try to distract yourself. Get to a place where you can calmly discuss what’s going on.
#8 Visualize the interaction. Sometimes it helps to picture the outcome. It helps your mind and body prepare because you can see what’ll happen. So close your eyes and visualize yourself approaching the other person and talking about what happened to put you in such an unhappy state. [Read: 12 life questions to help you visualize your future]
#9 Prepare for different outcomes. As much as you can prepare for what you say, you should also prepare for what could happen. Although you never know what someone will say or how they’ll react, it doesn’t hurt to prepare a number of different outcomes.
Think about what you’ll do if they get upset. Think about how you’ll respond if they apologize and are understanding. Having a range of responses and preparing accordingly will help you feel more relaxed.
#10 Do it in private. Don’t try to confront someone in a public place. That’s just a recipe for disaster. They’ll likely get more defensive and upset if they know others can hear them. So make sure you get them alone if you want to learn how to confront someone and keep it civil.
#11 Keep your tone light. Don’t be aggressive or accusatory. Understandably, that makes people upset. Keep your tone light and even sympathetic. If you go at them this way, they’ll be more likely to listen to what you have to say. [Read: 10 communication techniques you need to adopt]
#12 Talk about how the situation makes you feel. Don’t just tell them they upset you and it’s their fault. Lead with your emotions. Start by saying something like, “I felt really uncomfortable when you did that,” so it registers in their mind that you were hurt first. Otherwise it’ll feel like you’re attacking them.
#13 Be direct an to the point. This is pretty simple. Don’t beat around the bush. Just get to the point so they can understand what’s happening. Something as simple as, “Hey, I felt really isolated when you did that thing,” is more than enough to get the point across. Plus, it’ll make you less nervous.
#14 Listen to what they have to say. Don’t just go into this thinking you can talk at them and then not listen. They may have an explanation that can resolve the entire situation. Learning how to confront someone is just as much about learning to listen as it is figuring out what to say. [Read: 10 ways to become a better listener]
#15 Come to a closure of some kind. It might not be good but there has to be some form of final agreement. Don’t walk away feeling like nothing has been accomplished because then you’ll just have to do everything again. Make sure they have a clear understanding of why you feel the way you do and work to get some closure.
Everyone should learn how to confront someone no matter the situation. It’s a life skill that will make communicating your feelings and concerns a lot easier. These tips can help you do it civilly and effectively.
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Bella is a lifestyle writer, cheese enthusiast (Wisconsin native over here) and fantasy adventure author-in-progress who enjoys all things love, dog, p...