6 Things to Think About Before Confronting Someone Who Upset You

Friday, November 30, 2012

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Sometimes the people we are closest to say and do things that hurt, anger, or just rub us the wrong way. It can be tricky to figure out when and how to talk to someone close to us when they have upset us.

Here are some things to keep in mind: 

  1. Give yourself a time out
    Maybe you were having a bad day and were feeling especially sensitive? Maybe your friend was having a bad day and was being especially insensitive? Take a breather to gain perspective.

  2. Intentions matter 
    Give friends and family the benefit of the doubt! Chances are they have no idea that they have done something to upset you, and even if they do know, it’s likely they haven’t tried to hurt you on purpose.

  3. Know your reasons for airing grievances
    If your goal is to change someone else’s mind, you will likely be disappointed. Focus on stating your feelings and what you need from the person in future interactions. Be aware of the expectations you bring to the interaction.

  4. Starting the dialogue
    There are lots of different ways to “talk” about something that has upset you—face to face, the phone, email, or text messaging. Choose your mode and go for it! Unsure whether it’s worth discussing? Try writing out your thoughts. You may find that you weren’t so bothered after all, or if you are still upset, you have some thoughts handy for a conversation. Other people cannot read your mind. Let them know how you’re feeling and what they did that upset you.

  5. Remember the Golden Rule
    If someone has hurt or upset you, be careful not to “return the favor.” Approaching the conversation with the goal of getting back at someone will only further damage the relationship. Try to approach the situation in the way that you would want this person to approach you if the tables were turned.

  6. Be open to hearing others’ grievances with you
    Although it may be hard to imagine, sometimes you might be the “offending party,” and someone will air their grievances with you. Having an open mind without becoming defensive will not only protect the friendship but may provide an opportunity for you to learn something new about yourself.

Take a couple minutes to think about these things before confronting someone so you don’t say or do something you’ll regret.


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