Dealing with an angry person can be overwhelming. It can be very difficult to stay calm when someone is angry. Although anger is a normal emotion, some angry people act irrationally. They're disrespectful to those around them.

Situations may erupt and escalate from mild annoyance to rage. An angry person may shout, make threats, or become abusive. This can be frightening.

How to Deal with An Angry Person

Here are the 10 best ways to deal with an angry person:

1. To Deal with AN Angry Person, Get a Handle on Your Own Emotions

keeping cool with an angry person

We cannot control other people, but we can control how we respond.

In general, it is natural to feel overwhelmed when an angry person lashes out at you. In addition, you get angry yourself if the person is making direct threats or accusations. Returning fire with fire will only escalate the situation. Instead, try to remain calm and collected. It is nearly impossible to resolve an issue when emotions are out of control.

2. Take a Few Deep Breaths

When we feel threatened, it triggers a biological stress response in our bodies. In addition, the fight-or-flight response is a natural coping mechanism. It helps our ancestors respond to stress – for example when being chased by a bear. When we feel threatened, our nervous system becomes aroused. Our heart starts beating faster and we may not think clearly ourselves. We can thwart these symptoms. Be mindful of the biological reaction in our bodies. Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply. This will help you remain calm.

3. Take a Break

take a break with an angry person

Put some distance between yourself and the person. This will give you and the angry person time to cool down. Sometimes taking a break is all it takes to resolve the situation. The angry person may even apologize later for the outburst.

4. Use “I” Statements When You Communicate

Once you have your emotions under control, you can try communicating with the person. In a tense situation, one tip to keep a person from getting more defensive is to use “I” statements.  For example, you might say, “When X happened, I felt Y so I did Z.”

5. Take Responsibility and Apologize if Necessary

Disagreements stem from a conflict. If the person’s anger towards you is justified – even in part – take responsibility for your part right away and apologize. This will usually diffuse the person’s anger and calm them down so you can resolve the conflict together.

6. Establish the Facts

establish facts with an angry person

Anger is usually caused by real problems in our lives that escalate due to lack of communication. When we avoid conflict, our anger grows greater and reaches a boiling point. Conflicts frequently arise due to a misunderstanding of the facts. The person’s anger may be justified, but their response is irrational.

Logic defeats anger. Ask some questions. Also, ask the person to explain, in detail and in sequential order, what made them angry. What exactly happened? Is the angry person making assumptions about other people’s motives? Are they taking things too personally? Did something happen to them that was truly unfair? Acknowledge the source of the conflict and the person’s legitimate hurt feelings.

7. Ask the Angry Person What They Want

ask the angry person

Once you have established the facts, you can then begin to brainstorm ways to resolve the conflict. Ask the person specifically what it is they need to move forward.

8. Also, Make Clear What Your Needs Are

Explain your take on the situation. Continue using “I” statements. Try to keep a balanced perspective.  If resolving the situation will involve other people, bring them into the conversation.

9. Shift into Problem-Solving Mode

ask anything an angry person

Once the facts of the situation are clear and each person’s needs have been expressed, it is time to shift into problem-solving mode. This may involve making compromises. Sometimes the conflicts are so complex that a mediator is needed. In the workplace, it could mean going to speak with a supervisor together. In a personal relationship, a family counselor or mentor may help.

10. Ensure Your Personal Safety

If the situation escalates and the individual is aggressive, ensure your personal safety. and the safety of those around you. An angry person who is shouting or making threats may become dangerous. Remove yourself from the situation. Call 911 or a workplace security officer if the person shows signs of becoming violent.

Other Considerations

Everyone experiences loss, frustration, disappointment, and unpredictability. Also, we cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. In fact, everyone becomes angry sometimes.

Anger is a normal human emotion. If it becomes frequent and escalates into threats or violence, it is destructive. A trained counselor can help. If you know someone who is frequently angry, ask the person to consider counseling. As a matter of fact, anger management counseling is a proven technique. It helps people develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stressors.

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