Confrontation is a hard enough thing for adults to deal with, but for teens it can be extra difficult. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid confrontation altogether, but there are certainly some tips that will help make it easier to get your point across without seeming too harsh.
Before learning about how to deal with confrontation, it’s important to understand why it happens.
“There are two reasons why confrontations occur,” says Leah Moore B.Ed., M.A., one of three counsellors at St. Mary’s high school in Calgary. “In this order: a misunderstanding of sorts and a lack of communication to clear the misunderstanding.”
After much discussion about the topic with Mrs. Moore, Youthink gathered some tips to help you deal with confrontation in an effective way.
Sometimes it seems that confrontations end up being about pointing out others’ flaws or mistakes, but remember that is not the goal. In order to avoid the blame game, or making it sound like an accusation more than an effort to work things out, use the “sandwich” method, suggests Moore. Add a positive or understanding comment before and after making your point, so that your concern is sandwiched between two positive statements.
When confronting others, whatever the reason or situation, choosing your words wisely is key. Although you may not be happy with what is going on, remember to always respect the person in front of you. By keeping your manners in check, they will realize that your efforts are genuine rather than an excuse to start a bashing party.
When facing any situation, especially the most infuriating ones, it is crucial to keep your cool. When you raise your voice, even if your word choices aren’t negative or crude, your tone will be the thing that stands out. This in turn will trigger the other person to raise their voice as well and it will turn into a competition of who can be the loudest.
If you want to be heard and understood, then the best confrontation tool is to stick to your main point, and repeat it if necessary! If you stray from the situation at hand, or if you bring up events from the past, all that you say will seem irrelevant. In fact, Moore tells us that it, “may otherwise turn into a personal dig,” as a means of self-defence. Having said that, it is worth mentioning that when confronting someone it should be done at a time relatively close to when the event occurred.
While you may have your own concerns that you want to express, don’t forget that whomever you are talking to may have their own opinions on the matter as well. Keep an open mind! Listen just as much as you talk, if not more. Be sure not to interrupt – it may get out of hand and lead to yelling, not what you want to do! Moore says, “You may have to be the compromise, and find different ways to accept the situation.”
Lastly, Moore suggests that if you don’t feel comfortable addressing the person face-to-face in certain situations, opt for writing them a letter. “People are typically more open to it,” says Moore, she goes on to say, “They won’t be able to interrupt your letter, and you may have an easier time expressing what you want to say.” Keep in mind the sandwich method when writing this letter!
No matter the situation you are facing, if you follow these guidelines, your confrontation should go smoothly and without any hurt feelings. You will find, more often than not, that confrontations are not to be dreaded drama gabs, but instead a healthy approach to fix a problem.