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Nobody else knows how frustrating it is to want to confront someone about what he’s done to you but can’t muster the courage to do it than a person who isn’t used to confronting people. Somehow you want to tell him point-blank about how his action made you feel but to no avail. For some reason, the farthest extent you can go to is winning nonexistent arguments inside the shower because you’re afraid you’ll cry like a baby when the real fight happens. If you want to do more than making up fake scenarios in your head that picture you as the hero, you need to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself for confrontation.
Conflict avoidance is one of the common reasons for distress among many. When we hear the word confrontation, the first thing that pops in your mind is a picture where you’re staring face to face with someone who may feel the same way you do or is naïve that you’re upset. You think about a situation where ugly words are about to be exchanged.
There is no control where this heated conversation may lead, but it will surely dig deep enough to resurrect past mistakes to hurt the person. With this being said, not everyone has the time nor the energy for confrontations like this (and that’s why for most of us who aren’t confrontational, the smartest way to approach a problem is to avoid the conflict or as we always say, “be the bigger man.”)
Personally, I have lost count of how many times I’ve been stuck in a situation where I had no intention of being in. I always blame other people for dragging me into their messes, completely forgetting that I, too, am also one to blame. It was so against my moral code to reject or refuse someone to the point that I get in the middle of situations and always end up me being in a position where I had to face ultimatums between people dear to me.
Ever since I was in elementary, I remember all too well the times when I cried because two of my “best friends” didn’t want me to hang out with the other for some reason, and my past self thought of scheduling my hanging out with both of them so it would be fair treatment. My 12-year-old self was so innocent; it made me cringe and sad about how early I experienced situations like this and how I singlehandedly resolved this problem to please both of them and allow them to talk bad about me (because I thought I deserved it).
SILENCE ISN’T ALWAYS GOOD
Every time you give an excuse about why you choose to be silent in a particular situation (even when you shouldn’t be), your relationship with that person is one step closer to going down the drain. Sometimes, being silent is selfish. Imagine how many fights you could’ve avoided and resolved directly if you only spoke up about the issue politely.
The truth is, you’re in that mess because your silence made the other party think that they got you under their skin. You need to understand that most times, it’s your fault that you’re suffering because by not speaking up about it, you tolerate their bad behavior and negativity. You’re the reason you’re in this mess by not drawing strict boundaries.
WHY DO WE FEAR CONFRONTATION?
Confrontations happen everywhere because there will always be an opposition between two people no matter how close they are. The more restricting and suffocating an environment is, the more escalating the confrontation. Most of us fear confrontation because we think there’s no healthy and constructive way to approach this but there is. We see confrontation as something harmful and we don’t want to be in a position where we are most vulnerable to harm’s way.
10 REASONS YOU AVOID CONFRONTATION:
1. You question your motives for confrontation. Is this a real issue or am I just looking for something to argue about? Am I overreacting or just misinterpreting his actions? Is confronting someone a desperate move? You’re afraid you’ll become that toxic person who’s always looking for something to ruin.
2. Your mistakes will be exposed. Am I willing to risk myself with embarrassment when I’m being confronted with my fair share of mistakes? In the heat of the confrontation, you will have your turn of the hot seat and your past will be used against you regardless if it’s not the complete story.
3. Your assertion will backfire. What if my point of view will make me the bad guy? You’re afraid you’re not making the right choice by fighting for what you believe in. Your decisions might impact you negatively by making the first move of the confrontation.
4. You will be known as a troublemaker or seen as not approachable. Should I risk tainting my sweet and innocent reputation to prove a point? You don’t want to take away your opportunity to make new friends because nobody wants to hang out with you anymore.
5. You’ve experienced this before and you didn’t like it. In the past, you’ve tried confronting someone and despite active efforts, it had gone awry. You’re afraid you’ll undergo the same, if not, more shame, awkwardness, and stupidity as before so you’d rather not risk another wave of suffering self-esteem.
6. You’re scared it would cost your job/opportunity. You don’t want to tangle with someone whom you know is powerful enough to destroy your life. You think it’s better to be silent and sacrifice a little more than you should than lose everything you’ve worked hard for.
7. Your relationship with that someone will be destroyed. You’re scared that the relationship you have right now will not be the same after the confrontation. You don’t want to risk that change and loss even if it means you suffer his/her treatment.
8. Your chance at a peaceful life is over. You think that once you start confronting people with their behavior, drama and controversy would follow everywhere you go. When you start calling out people on their actions, you would always go to sleep in your room with one eye open at night.
9. Your loved ones would be affected. You’re afraid that the people dear to you would suffer along with you, so you’d rather suffer the hands of a manipulator. You don’t want to make an enemy against someone who is capable of making your life miserable.
10. You wouldn’t have the opportunity to “redeem” yourself. You think once you confront someone who isn’t used to be corrected or confronted, he will make it his mission to make you never forget that “you’ve done him wrong.” When one confrontation is done, another will follow and you’re scared you would always be that way.
WHY IS AVOIDING CONFLICT UNHEALTHY?
With the aforementioned reasons stated, we come to a conclusion that avoiding conflict is not the smart nor the right choice to approach the world. No matter how much we would like to protect our inner peace and avoid being involved in a controversy, sometimes it’s far from what we can control.
Conflict is inevitable, even if you make it your life’s goal to please everyone you meet. There will always come a time when we’re made to talk about a problem that we wished the other person would just forget. When this time comes, you have to be mentally and emotionally prepared for what you might receive and what you might accidentally say with your bottled emotions.
Being a confrontational type of person doesn’t necessarily mean you are a negative person who’s always looking to argue. It reflects how you conduct yourself around people with differing views. Being confrontational means you actively prioritize your mental well-being by looking out for yourself. When you confront someone, that courage to go face to face with that person speaks about what you tolerate and what you don’t anymore (especially when it’s triggered by your past).
If you don’t learn to confront people healthily, you will rob yourself of the significant lessons you would learn from situations like these. You would miss the opportunity to witness and observe how raw, human interactions play out when one is leveraging the other person’s weakness. You’re not only tolerating bad behavior from other people but also teaching those around you to accept and not do anything about it when you’re being abused.
HOW TO CONFRONT SOMEONE YOU’RE ANGRY WITH (PRODUCTIVELY AND CONSTRUCTIVELY):
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR ANGER
If you want to confront someone about something, certainly you want to address an issue that you find uncomfortable and upsetting. Acknowledge that you’re angry about what he made you feel and being not okay with it is a start. Carefully evaluate your emotions and eliminate irrelevant factors (such as you don’t like his taste in music or what he wore in a meeting) that could alter the objectivity of your evaluation. Also, when you engage in a confrontation, it’s important to understand your own preference and motive, so you would be able to evaluate your emotions and identify what you expect from them.
ASSESS BOTH SIDES
When you’ve acknowledged the reason and motive behind your need to confront someone, think long and hard about the proper approach to addressing this problem to that someone. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when confronting a person because each one has a unique set of personalities, behavior, philosophies, etc.
It is vital to be aware of your own feelings and of the other person as well (because your goal is not only to make him understand his wrongdoing but also to make him change his behavior). When you’ve already understood your point of view, make sure you still offer a listening ear to the other point of view by being calm and composed even when you’re on the brink of wanting to talk back.
BE DIRECT TO THE POINT
If you’re not a confrontational kind of person, you wouldn’t want to beat around the bush because as the minute passes, your message will come across as vague and confusing. The person you’re confronting will not receive your input the way you would want him to take it. By confronting someone about his behavior, the truth would hurt him one way or another, so it’s better to be as straightforward as possible.
It’s also essential to formulate your argument before rushing to offend anyone. Make sure you consider the kind of person the receiver is, so you would know how to approach them in the most effective way. Moreover, by preparing what you’re going to say, you will not only maintain objectivity but will also allow you to assume yourself in his role and anticipate how he’s likely to respond.
DO IT IN THE RIGHT PLACE
One effective way to confront someone on the right foot is to be respectful enough to choose the right setting for this. Doing it in public where many would directly be involved to intentionally bring the heat of the moment to the person you’re angry with is not only rude but is also risky on your part. The tables could turn pretty unexpectedly in a heated confrontation, especially when one is desperate to get out of the hot seat. Do it in the right place like someplace quiet and private, where both of you wouldn’t feel any pressure or embarrassment because some third party is in the room hears every word coming from both of your mouths.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
There is no telling when the perfect timing is to confront someone, but if the initiator of the confrontation isn’t in the right headspace or time, emotions can get out of place quickly and will fall off the rocks before it even gets started. When our emotions aren’t in check, we have a much harder time understanding the point of the confrontation, receiving what the other person is saying, and understanding the plights of both sides fairly.
On the flip side, if you see the person you’re about to confront just got rejected from a job or just lost a family member, then give him time to heal first. This isn’t only to show understanding on his part but also to ensure that your confrontation will not steer off to different emotional distractions.
VISUALIZE A WIN-WIN SITUATION
Put in mind that when confronting someone, you are not only looking after yourself but also the future relationships you’re going to have with that person. You’re troubleshooting the problems you have now with that someone to create a constructive and healthy environment between the two of you. It’s important to make it a goal to think beyond your feelings and convenience.
What’s important is both of you get to rise above this misunderstanding and reconnect from the core by establishing an open line of honest communication. The goal is to be open to exploring possible and effective solutions to the problem at hand. Various interpretations about the other’s messages may arise, and that’s why it’s important to be as specific and respectful when someone’s talking. explore other possible interpretations and solutions.
Although confrontation has its negative connotation, it isn’t about fighting per se; it’s about assertion. If you’re willing to confront someone with good intentions, it means you’re brave enough to stand up for what you believe in. It means you love yourself enough not to allow someone to mistreat you like you’re not worthy to be in the same room as you. There is no guarantee of the outcome of a confrontation as it depends on several, sometimes unforeseeable factors. However, if you’re truly not in it for the winning, it wouldn’t matter to you who would have the last laugh.
Understand that you have a role in a conversation, and it is of equal importance to the other party. Your active participation in the truth-telling and listening process is just as important as the person you’re confronting. Never think you’re superior to the other or that there is a winner when all of this is over. Whatever you say or do can manifest the outcome of your confrontation in terms of coming to a solution productively.
“Why are we so afraid of confronting ourselves? Why do we always use the loud noises of the outside world to mute what our inner voice is trying to tell us?”Louis Yako