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Hard, but harder to ignore it

Everyone is periodically faced with an angry person, and can be challenging to deal with. I’d like to share a few ideas in how to react to another’s anger. Be it a spouse, a friend, or even a stranger. Some of these will also apply if you are angry yourself. Of course is something to avoid in the first place.


Let the person vent a little, and get their words and feelings out. If you interrupt them too quickly to defend yourself, it’s going to just make things worse. Wait for them to finish or for a pause. Being a good listener is an important skill in many other situations also.

A good technique for listening is to ask questions. It not only helps you understand them better, but shows them you truly care to understand.

Stay Calm

Don’t go into anger mode yourself, it just compounds the situation. Just remind yourself that anger is unlikely to accomplish anything good, so why do it.


Validate their anger, do not just dismiss their emotions just because you feel it’s unjustified. The fact is that they feel this way. You will help the situation by accepting and acknowledging the way they feel.

Let them know by saying “I see that you’re really upset with me and am sorry this had to happen”.

Take Responsibility

Don’t let you ego assume that you are totally without fault in their anger. You may not be fully aware of how you come across or what you did. Just accept that your actions could have been responsible, regardless of whether the actions were justified.

Find things that you can freely admit you were in error about. This may help resolve the other person’s anger.


If possible, take a time-out, and let the other person cool down. Trying to debate the situation immediately will often make it worse.

Give some time to settle down, and then discuss it if necessary. People will require different amounts of time to release their initial anger, so be adaptive to their needs.


Continue reading:

Dealing With An Angry Person (Part 2 of 2)

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