We all lose our cool from time to time; some of us more frequently than others. When we get angry, we like to be treated properly. We like to get a fair hearing and, we tend to appreciate when somebody attempts to help us deal with the issue which is troubling us so that we may get back on track. Many times in life, the shoe will be on the other foot and we will have to respond to someone who is angry. If you respond to someone who is angry in an inappropriate manner, you are likely to escalate the situation. Alternatively, when you respond to someone who is angry in the right manner, you quickly restore normality, reduce tension and stress and, in some cases, you can even establish the foundations of an effective relationship.

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6 Strategies to respond to someone who is angry

Have you ever been in the awkward situation where someone you were with became totally frustrated and angry? Were you unsure as to how you were supposed to react to something like that? The following are some strategies which you can use to respond to someone who is angry and help to create a more amicable environment.

1. Just listen

anger is an acid respond to someone who is angry

When someone is angry, you rush to try and resolve the situation. However, this is the worst thing that you can do. Before you can resolve a troublesome situation, you need to understand the situation and, why the angry person has a problem with it.

When angry, people become emotional and use emotional and provocative language. This may trigger an emotional response in you, however, it is imperative that you focus on listening deeply to the core message that the angry person is expressing. When you focus solely on listening for the core message, you tend to ignore the emotional language and find it easier to understand their argument (even if you do not agree with it).

In addition, if you allow the other person to fully express their anger, they soon run out of steam and start to calm down. Once they are calm, you can start your attempts to resolve the situation.

Key point

As difficult as it can be, you need to listen to what the other person has to say, before you start jumping in with solutions. Otherwise, they feel that you don’t care enough to listen, which is only going to make them more emotional. You need to take the emotion out before you respond to someone who is angry.

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2. Don’t worry about whether you agree with them or not

dont waste your time in anger respons to someone who is angry

You may find it difficult to respond to someone who is angry because you feel that you cannot agree with their viewpoint. In reality, you do not need to agree with the other person and few, if any, people expect others to always agree with them.

When someone is angry, the most important thing for them is to be listened to and, for the other person to do their best to resolve the issue, even if it does not bring them the result that they would prefer.

Unless they’re angry with you and you’re personally involved in the situation, refrain from sharing your own feelings about whatever is happening to agitate the other person. Even if they are angry with you; it is best to hear them out first before you attempt to formulate your response. Once you have heard them out, they will see that you are genuine in your desire to resolve the situation as amicably as possible.

When you respond to someone who is angry, it is important that they understand your desire to be supportive. You want to help them., if possible, to get the best possible outcome from the situation. The act of genuinely caring is a very good start and, from there you can help them in whatever way possible. Often, caring is enough for them to find their feet again.

Key point

Being supportive does not mean agreeing with something you do not agree with or, accepting responsibility for their problems. It also does not mean that you should push your views or suggestions on them. It is about helping them find the right way forwards for them.

When you respond to someone who is angry; you don't have to agree with them. What they want most is somebody to listen and understand what they are going through.

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3. Relate and empathise

how much more grievous respond to someone who is angry

Once you feel that you have gained an understanding of the issue, you can attempt to communicate it to the other person. You could say something like:

  • “I hear what you are saying …."
  • “I see your point of view …”
  • “I feel that …”

You are not required to accept responsibility where it is not yours to take and you are not required to apologise, however, you should never attempt to relate or empathise unless you are sincere. When you relate with him, the angry person will usually feel understood and, therefore, his anger will begin to dissipate.

Relating to the other person and, empathising with them, is critical when responding to an angry person. Even though it requires subtlety of body language, tone of voice and words, you are effectively screaming to the other person that you respect them. You are telling them that you want to treat them in a dignified manner.

It is important to remember that anger often arises because the person feels disrespected so, demonstrating that you do respect them helps to calm them down.

Key point

When you disagree with the person who is angry, empathy helps them to see that you are not personalising the issue. You communicate that your problem is with their behaviour, ideas etc; not who they are as a person.

4. Trust your instincts to protect yourself

it is wise to direct your anger respond to someone who is angry

Most people won’t become threatening or physically aggressive when they get angry but you should trust your instincts. If at any point you feel that the discussion is heading in that direction; tell the person that you are going to give them the opportunity to calm down and, once they do so, you will be happy to resume the discussion.

Of course, if you feel that you are in immediate danger, you should leave without feeling the need to explain yourself.

It should go without saying but, nobody has the right to cause you any physical harm. Neither do they have the right to threaten to do so. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe that they will follow through on the threat or, if you think you can handle yourself in a physical dispute.

If the conversation has reached that low point, the problem is not going to be solved while that mood prevails. So, walk away and, if you feel the need, talk with the person when they are in a calmer mood.

Verbal and mental abuse should not be tolerated either. Apart from the pain and upset it can cause, somebody who is in that mood is not looking to resolve the situation; at least not amicably. Do not tolerate it. Walk away.

Key point

On most occasions where somebody is angry, you are not in any danger. But you should always be vigilant and remove yourself from any situation where violent threats or behaviour arise or, it looks like they are about to arise.

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5. Once they have calm down, change the direction

learn this from me respond to someone who is angry

When you believe the person has had enough time to talk through or vent his anger, you can attempt to ease the conversation in a more positive direction e.g. if you are in customer service, you might move from discussing the problem to identifying a workable solution.

If you encounter any resistance, this is a sign that they have not fully expressed their anger. At this point you can invite them to tell you what they are thinking. Once they have stated what they are thinking and talked through it, you can attempt to focus on a solution again.

For serious issues, you may have to go through this phase a number of times.

I have mentioned a few times how listening is often enough when responding to someone who is angry. They needed to vent, and you were there to listen. Now that you have given them the opportunity to air their views, they are happy to move on. However, it is only when you attempt to move things on that you will know for sure whether it was enough for them to feel that they were listened to.

If you encounter any resistance to moving on, you will need to take a step back before you can move on again. Even if their anger is gone, you should still try, if possible, to help them solve the issue they were angry about.

And, even if there is nothing you can do to help, try to move the conversation onto a positive topic before you leave them. The person who was angry will be grateful that you perked them up and got them back to positivity; even if they don’t express it.

Key point

If you just let them rant, it won’t be long before they are angry about something else. But taking a few small steps to give the conversation a positive finish can really leave both parties with a better opinion of their relationship.

Do's and Don'ts of Anger Management

FREE Checklist reveals the critical behaviours which inspire peaceful communication and extinguish the flames of anger.

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6. Invite their views on a solution

speak when you are angry respond to someone who is angry

It’s appropriate to say, “What can I do to help this situation?” or “What would be your ideal solution to this situation?” as this gets their mind focusing on finding a way forward. Asking one of these simple questions is a wonderful way to help the person recognise he has someone right there who cares about how he feels.

When you involve them in creating the solution, they are more likely to buy in and accept the agreed way forward. Ultimately, the best way to respond to someone who is angry is to make them feel that they have been listened to. There is no greater way to do this than to fully involve them in the resolution of the issue.

I can not stress enough how important respect is when you must respond to someone who is angry. Most anger issues arise because the person feels that they have been disrespected in one form or another. Whether they have been disrespected or not, is not the point. Their feelings are what is important.

Involving them in the solution is an immense sign of respect. It tells them that you want to hear what they have to say. Also, if you can’t deliver what they are looking for; it is easier to explain it in a way that they can understand.

When you respond to someone who is angry with an invitation to offer solutions, you will usually get one of the following responses:

  • Calmness, as they realise you are trying to help them
  • Appreciation, for including them in the solution
  • A desire to be part of the solution
  • Silence and respect, as they realise that it is more difficult to solve the problem than complain about it

Key point

Of course, when you respond to someone who is angry with an invitation to help solve the issue, you are treating them with respect and dignity. But it should also be mentioned that you will often benefit as they contribute real solutions, to real problems.

Anger Management Handbook

Enjoy open, honest and rewarding relationships; free form the pain, seperation and mistrust caused by anger.

Discover the tested and proven strategies you need with 'The Anger Management Handbook.'

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Life is full of ups and downs. It happens to each of us. You will experience times when you have to respond to someone who is angry. Knowing how to respond to someone who is angry is a wonderful asset. You will be more confident when faced with conflict. You will reduce stress and improve the quality of your relationships. Remember that there will be times when you are the angry person. When you are, you would like people to respond to your anger in the best possible way. You can be a shining example of how to respond to someone who is angry which will positively influence your friends, family and colleagues. Applying the strategies, listed above, will take you a long way towards achieving this.


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