Unless you're a super human who actually has their emotions in tact, no one likes confrontation. It's nerve-wrecking, it takes a lot of confidence, and it's frightening. But confrontation is necessary to let go of your ego and get your feelings out in the open. You need to confront the people you care about in order to develop a better relationship with them.
But that doesn't stop confrontation from being difficult. I have a personal policy that I don't accept it when people lie to me. So in order to stick to this value of mine and to keep it from just being a hobby that I talk about - I paraphrased that statement from Lilly Singh's How to be a Bawse; get yourself a copy here; I highly recommend it - I have to learn how to confront people.
Over the past week I've been incredibly upset with a family member of mine because she's been in the hospital and she hasn't allowed any of the people she cares about except one know what's going on with her treatment. I gave myself a day to think about why I was so upset. And then I went into her hospital room and told her straightforward that I was upset, that everyone was upset, and that now I'm not just stressed about her being in the hospital, I'm also mad at her.
This was a big deal for me because of two reasons:
1) I have a difficult time being honest with this family member.
I'm always trying to please her, but she also doesn't try to understand how my personality works because it's different from hers. So I usually just keep my mouth shut when we get into an "argument."
2) Because I'm terrible at confrontation in general.
It sucks, and I'm bad at it.
But today I finally decided that it's better to be straightforward than to keep my emotions bottled up for when she gets out of the hospital. We talked everything over, and while I'm still not happy with her, at least I feel a little better than I did before I confronted her.
So if, like me, you hate confrontation and you're normally bad at it, let me give you some advice on how I was able to get past my fear this time to accomplish a well-needed conversation:
Also, I made a video version of this blog, so if you would prefer to listen instead of read, you can watch the video below:
#1: Organize your thoughts
One of the many reasons I hate confrontation is because I never get out what I meant to get out. So if you also have this problem, organize your thoughts. If you need to, write down a list of the main points you need to get across to the other person. It may feel stupid doing that, but when you need to confront someone, writing down what you want to say ahead of time will save you in the long wrong.
Also, try not to imagine and perfect the entire conversation as you’re organizing your thoughts. Yes, it’s important to be prepared for what the other person might say, but if you imagine everything they’re going to say, you’re going to be thrown when they inevitably say something different to you, or act differently than you imagined they would.
#2: Get your feelings in check
Usually when I need to confront someone it’s because I’m pissed. So whether you’re angry, upset, happy, or even hungry, get your feelings in check before you confront the person. Don’t let your emotions ruin a perfectly productive conversation. And usually when you act on emotion instead of on logic and your true feelings, the conversation fails and you leave feeling worse than when you began. Which will lead you to confront the person again. So pull it together!
#3: Be fearless
Confrontation is nerve-wrecking. And what’s the best way to get over a fear. Face it head-on. Be fearless. You’re already confronting the person. Nothing you say or feel is invalid. Everything you’re upset about is probably worth being upset about until you talk with the person. So just do it. Grow a vagina because in the paraphrased words of Betty White, balls are fragile while vaginas take a beating, and be fearless.
#4: Don't yell
It’s important to be honest about your emotions when you’re confronting someone, but it’s also important to stay level headed. Chances are that one of the both of you are going to get upset during the conversation. So it’s really important that you don’t yell, even if the other person is.
You want to get your feelings across. And people will listen more to you if you’re level-headed. In any situation where you’re confronting someone, be the bigger person. Keep your emotions clear and your volume at a reasonable level.
#5: Demand respect
Don’t let the person you’re confronting make you feel small. Your emotions are valid and you should be able to get them across clearly and concisely. So demand that the person you’re talking to listens to what you have to say before they respond to you.
You don’t have to be rude about this, but you want to avoid being nice. Usually when you’re goal is to be nice, you’re letting the other person walk over you, at least that’s what I do. So demand respect and attention for what you have to say, and after you’re done, that’s when the other person can respond and join in the conversation.
Because that’s all confrontation should be, a productive conversation.
Confrontation is a bitch, but until you do it, you're probably going to act like a bitch too. So instead of letting your emotions fester inside of you until you explode, confront the people you have problems with. Not only will you feel better afterward, but you will either lose a relationship that wasn't strong in the first place, or you will build a better relationship with someone that you care about deeply.
Let me know in the comments a time that you had trouble confronting someone. How did you feel? How did you handle it?