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  • Writer's pictureRobert Stevenson

Handling Irate People

Robert Stevenson Blog - Anger is Not Your Friend

In most all cases, the person yelling the loudest is the one losing the argument. Yelling at a person, doesn’t make “the thing you are yelling about” any more possible. Yelling may intimidate, but it will never persuade or convince someone about anything. I once heard it said – Raise your words, not your voice. It is the rain that grows flowers, not the thunder.”

Your life is going to be full of disagreements, mistakes, and confrontations. They say that the only time you don’t have problems is when you’re dead … so I must really be alive. Our actions can lead to mistakes which in turn can lead to people who are NOT HAPPY. And if we’ve done a super job of supposedly messing things up, these people could be IRATE. The way you handle this person can have a great deal to do with your success in life. 

Always remember,“A person convinced against their will is a person not convinced.”

Here are a few rules to follow when dealing with irate/angry people.

Rule 1 - Don’t yell back. Apologize.

Rule 2 - Let them talk (vent) about their feelings. Then apologize again.

Rule 3 - Before speaking, have a full understanding of what they are upset about and empathize with them.

Rule 4 - Ask them how they feel this situation should be resolved and show them you are listening to every word they say.

Rule 5 - Explain your position in a Not to Prove Them Wrong Manner, apologizing again for their frustration.

Rule 6 - Throw in a few smiles during the conversation. It is mighty hard to stay upset at someone who is smiling at you.

Rule 7 - If they were wrong and you were right, don’t gloat in your victory. Even though they were wrong, apologize and tell them you understand why they got so upset.

If your objective is to win,you have already lost.

In handling irate people, the objective is not about who is winning or losing, who is right or wrong. The objective is to understand. Stephen Covey once wrote, “Seek first to understand, before trying to be understood.” I feel these words possess the solution to dealing with the irate.

Even if the person is wrong, they still felt there was a reason for them to get upset. You should be trying to find that reason and understand it. Diffuse the cause, calm the person and establish a feeling of mutual agreement.

And if it is you who is the angry one, please remember: Anger doesn’t solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything. There is an old Cowboy saying – “Words that soak into your ears are whispered, not yelled.”

“A moment of patience in a moment of anger,saves you hundreds of moments of regret.”


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