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8 Tips for Confronting Someone

Having a confrontation is very difficult for a lot of people. However, you can’t sweep problems under the rug and hope they’ll magically get better. Here are my tips for confronting someone:

  1. Don’t think of confrontation as war. If you want a successful outcome, you can’t be aggressive. You’re simply facing something that needs to be faced. It doesn’t always go well - the other person may or may not get past their own emotions, guilt, defensiveness, or insecurities, but you can’t go through life trying to avoid dealing with issues head on.  

  2. Get your emotions under control. If you’re too angry, upset, or scared, then you can’t have a confrontation. Don’t engage until you get your emotions in check.

  3. Envision a positive outcome. If you can’t envision a positive outcome, you’re not ready.

  4. Prepare. Think about what you want to say. Don’t bring in a bunch of extraneous things or recruit anyone else (i.e. “He/she said…”). It makes you look weak. Identify the real issue you need to address and avoid all the other emotions and issues that aren’t relevant. Practice what you’re going to say with someone you trust. That way, you’ll be more matter of fact about it.

  5. Ask permission to discuss the situation ahead of time. Find out when is a good time to talk because a lot of times we sandbag somebody when they’re not ready (tired, in a bad mood, etc.)

  6. Say it well. State the issue in one or two totally non-emotional, factually-based sentences.  Be open, honest, direct, and calm so that the other person focuses in on the issue and not their hurt feelings.

  7. Express your desire to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution. Say, “I’d really like to come up with a solution that can make us both feel good.”

  8. Don’t take things personally. Even if you follow all of these tips, you need to remember that you’re only half of the interaction. If the other person isn’t willing to meet you half way, there’s only so much you can do.

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Tags: Attitude, Behavior, Character-Courage-Conscience, Tips, Values
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