Encountering an aggressive situation can be quite stressful and, in some cases, even frightening. Fortunately, with the proper understanding of aggression and certain techniques, you can help to defuse an aggressive situation and prevent it from escalating into something more by keeping these four simple things in mind.
Give the Person Some Space
Research has found that people who are aggressive are typically feeling a great deal of stress. By adding more stress to the situation, you will only escalate the situation. To help defuse the aggression, on the other hand, you should back off and give the person some space. After given the opportunity to calm down, the person will likely begin to think more rationally and will be easier to talk to.
Avoid Being Confrontational
In addition to giving the person space, you should take steps to help avoid confrontation. This includes remaining calm and reasonable while also speaking in a low, soft tone. Pay particular attention to your own body language, as the way you carry yourself can sometimes say much more than your words. Rather than allowing yourself to get upset by the situation, maintain control of your emotions and try to empathize with the person so you can redirect the situation.
Ignore Nonverbal Cues
A person who has grown angry may display their aggression in a number of nonverbal ways. For example, the person may glare, stare or roll her eyes. Or, he might engage in passive-aggressive tactics, such as sarcasm or a change of voice tone. Rather than allowing these behaviors to push you over the edge, ignore them and don’t let the person know that his or her behavior is unsettling to you. By maintaining your composure, you will be able to think more clearly and you will be better capable of maintaining your composure.
Listen to the Other Person
Sometimes, all a person really wants is to feel as if someone is listening to them and really cares about their situation. Not only will this allow the person to get a few things off his or her chest, but it will also help you get a better idea of why the person is upset in the first place. After the person has vented, allow for a respectful pause before you tell the person you are sorry to hear about his or her problems. Sometimes, simply getting a bit of attention and sympathy is all that is necessary to defuse an aggressive situation.