I believe it’s very useful knowing how to deal with someone yelling at you, since there are a lot of difficult or even impossible people out there who have no problem with being rude to the ones around them. This situation can be extremely unpleasant, especially if the person who is shouting at you is someone you care deeply about, like a family member, one of your friends or even your significant other. No matter what you did that made the other person so upset, I believe that yelling is not justified and that you can learn how to solve a conflict by being more assertive. Taylor Swift was absolutely right when she said that “If you’re yelling you’re the one who’s lost control of the conversation.” So, here are a few pretty useful tips on how to deal with someone yelling at you that will help you remain calm in order to solve that conflict in no time:
1 Say Nothing
One of the best tips I could give you on how to deal with someone yelling at you is to advise to try to just stay calm and say nothing. Look that person straight in the eyes and just sit there in absolute silence, in order to show them how much their behavior is bothering you and how offensive it is. They will notice your attitude and they will just run out of steam and realize that the way they approach that situation is actually wrong.
2 Explain Why Their Behavior is Bothering You
I know it can be hard sometimes to remain calm when someone is shouting at you, but it’s essential to do it so you can explain the other person why their behavior is bothering you. You could tell them how hard it is to concentrate on what they are saying if they are screaming, because you are not able to focus and understand the meaning of their words. Maybe this way, they will understand that what they are doing is wrong and they might even apologize for their inappropriate behavior.
The Daily Mail UK – Fashion Blog Stars .
3 Touch Them
Well, this works only if you are close to that person, because if you two are almost total strangers, they might misinterpret your behavior as being inappropriate or even hostile. So, be careful to whom you are doing this! If they are one of your friends or your significant other, you could try to gently touch their face because by doing this, you’ll show them how much you care about them and how much they mean to you. If they are not so close to you, then you could try touching their arm as a friendly gesture or one of good will. This trick always works, since it’s rather hard to yell at someone who is being friendly and kind to you, or someone who is showing you how important you are to them.
4 Walk Away
When someone is yelling at you, one of the simplest and most effective things you can do is to simply walk away and show that person how much their attitude is bothering you. Of course, you can’t do that if the person shouting is one of your parents, your significant other or your boss, because you will only seem disrespectful and make them even angrier. On the other hand, by walking away, you will give the other person some time to calm down and re-evaluate the situation. Just be careful not to hurt their feelings if you choose to do this.
5 Ask Them to Stop
Another very easy way to diffuse a yeller is by simply asking them to stop, by telling them that they are making you feel uncomfortable and that you cannot pay attention to what they are saying. Some people might not even be aware of how they are behaving. You will only help them realize that their behavior is inappropriate, and that even if they are upset or angry, they should still control their temper and behave in a more assertive manner.
6 Talk Softly
I know this may seem a bit silly but I assure you that it really works. Apparently, a lot of research showd that if you talk very softly when someone is yelling at you, even to the point where they ask you to speak a little louder, you will distract the yeller from the thing that is bothering them or stressing them out. They will shift their attention to your conversation because they will try to understand the meaning of your words, and this might make them calm down and use a proper tone of voice.
7 Don’t Back Talk
I know how tempting this may be sometimes, especially when someone is yelling at you, but try to control your urges and don’t snap back at the other person, because you will only make them angrier and they won’t even listen to what you have to say. Just keep your comments to yourself and search for other ways to deal with that situation.
I know how difficult it can be sometimes to restrain yourself when you’re dealing with someone who’s yelling at you but it’s not impossible. With a bit of practice and with a lot of patience, you will learn how to behave in a more assertive manner and how to control your temper in every situation, so you won’t hurt anyone’s feelings. How do you deal with someone who’s shouting at you? Please share your advice with us in the comments section! I can’t wait to hear your ideas!
How YOU REACT makes THE DIFFERENCE in this situation.
Immediately you’ll be tempted to react emotionally and defensively because you’re being attacked.
Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash
Remember, nothing productive can happen when you react aggressively.
Who Is This Person To You?
Context Is Important:
· Is this someone you know well?
· Is this an angry stranger who you cut off in traffic?
· Do you wish to maintain a relationship with this person?
Knowing the context, you’ll need to decide the OUTCOME you want:
“What do I want out of this interaction? What don’t I want to happen?”
Deep down you may want the issue to be resolved peacefully, and to maintain a loving relationship with this person.
Often, emotions cloud our view, and we don’t articulate what we want.
It sounds simple, but your behavior needs to reflect outcome you want to produce.
How To Bring Someone To Safety:
Photo by Joey Pilgrim on Unsplash
1. Empathize with them and validate their feelings
Ask: “Why would a reasonable person act the way they are right now?”
Put effort into understanding their point of view. Even if you don’t agree, you need to validate what they feel is real. Everyone’s feelings ARE their own reality.
“I can see how you feel that way. I would feel that way too if ________.”
Be a good active listener. Once you’ve put on your empathy hat, paraphrase in a calm way what you heard them say. It highlights what you understand and demonstrates that you’re hearing them.
Utilize neutral language:
“If I understand you correctly…”
“What concerns you most is…”
“It sounds like you feel…”
3. Use a contrasting statement
The best way to bring about the result you want (and don’t want) is to state it explicitly.
“I don’t want you to think that my intent was to disrespect you. What I do want is for us to come to agreement about how we can get past this disagreement and ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
4. State the facts
We often tell ourselves stories about others’ intent behind their actions.
If someone is yelling at you they are telling themselves a story that is emotionally charged about your intent.
Stick to the facts and state them clearly.
Help them see what’s true and enable them to re-evaluate their story.
When you stick to facts rather than judgments, opinions, or assumptions, you increase the chance of making someone feel safe.
5. Take responsibility for your actions
If you were wrong, apologize. The easiest way to disarm someone is to agree with him or her and take your part of the blame.
6. Tell your story
It can be helpful to tell someone about your intent, or the story that’s going on in your head.
That opens an opportunity for you to add to the pool of shared meaning.
It allows them to empathize with you and understand why you acted the way you did.
7. Encourage them to add to the pool of shared meaning
The Pool of Shared Meaning is the thoughts, feelings, and experiences that people share. Successful dialogue results when everyone feels safe to add his or her meaning to the shared pool.
“Can you elaborate why you feel that way?”
8. Use “Yes, AND” instead of “BUT”
A classic rule I learned in improv comedy – use “yes, and” instead of “but.”
When you use “but” it implies everything I say after this word is more important than what I’ve said. When you use “but” you’re more liable to make the person feel defensive.
Using “Yes, and,” shows that you respect the person and their opinion, and you’re building on what they’ve said rather than detracting from it.
9. Use “I” instead of “YOU” statements
“I” statements allow you to talk from your own perspective and feelings without blaming, judging, or accusing another person.
“I feel offended,” vs. “You offended me!”
10. Don’t get caught up in the content
Things might get personal. Don’t take what they say personally. Worry about re-establishing mutual purpose and respect so you can get to a place to discuss the content safety.
**Important: Know when to give up**
Some people won’t calm down no matter what you do. You have to be able to be the bigger person.
If you can’t get to a place of safety either establish a time to come back and discuss when emotions are settled, or give them the victory and walk away.
No one enjoys being yelled at by an angry person. The experience is threatening and can feel scary. The best way to respond without making things worse isn’t always obvious, and if you’re on the receiving end of someone’s verbal aggression, you might not know what to do.
Here’s how to diffuse the situation and cope. First, though, it might help to understand why people yell.
Why do people yell?
People get angry and yell for several reasons. Sometimes, they don’t know how else to express their sense of helplessness.
They might want control, be overwhelmed, or seek attention. When yelling is someone’s go-to method for dealing with challenges, they are unlikely to adopt a different tactic unless they must.
Kids who hear their parents raise their voices to gain attention often develop the same behavior.
When they are adults, unless someone shows them a different way to deal with challenges or attract attention, they continue to yell.
People may shout because they want to control someone’s behavior. They bellow to intimidate and get individuals to bend to their will.
Often, they’ve learned verbal aggression leads to desired outcomes, if only in the short-term.
Some people yell out of frustration. They might not have the language skills to express their emotions well.
They want to be understood, but don’t know how to tell people what they want or need.
Sometimes people shout because they are easily overwhelmed by challenges. They yell when they experience emotion-overload.
They might have a mental health condition, an alcohol problem, or just be highly sensitive and not have adequate coping skills.
How not to respond to someone who shouts
The worst way to react when someone yells at you is to join in and yell back. You might be tempted if you feel defensive or upset.
Yelling back, though, will escalate the situation. Take deep breaths and keep your cool. Remember your intention to be a port in the storm.
At times, you might think it’s best to comply with someone’s demands to make them stop shouting, but this isn’t the best option.
Submitting sends the message you will always react favorably when the individual yells, and they will repeat the behavior another time.
How to induce calm and cope
People who have lost control are irrational and can’t take in lots of details when you speak to them at the height of their anger. They will, however, notice your tone. Talk calmly using your everyday voice.
It’s important to let the person yelling know you won’t have a conversation while they shout. Tell them you want to listen to them, but not until they are calm. If you feel you are in danger, since the individual could become violent, go somewhere safe rather than hanging around.
It’s scary to be shouted at, but you can cope well if you stay unruffled. Use a calm tone of voice as you inform the person yelling you will have a conversation when they are composed and approachable.
They will learn you don’t respond to them when they raise their voice and they must stay calm if they want to talk to you.
Some people do conflict loudly, whether due to familial or cultural roots, habit, or a low boiling point. When you want to interrupt someone’s habitual yelling during conflict, try to make the request without contributing to the fight.
Someone screamed and yelled at me in public recently. Her anger had flared and yelling is her lifelong habit. I am weary of this habit of hers, though I have experienced it directed toward me only rarely.
I said, “You mistake me for someone who will put up with being treated this way.” Then I parted company with her for a while.
I regret those words. I regret them not because they weren’t effective (they did have some impact), but because they were fighting words.
They could just have easily escalated her further, because I had thrown down the figurative gauntlet. You don’t get to talk to me like that! Stop yelling at me! All versions of the same intention: I’ll press back on you about the same amount as I think you’re pressuring me.
There are better phrases I could have used in that moment, phrases designed to interrupt a habitual behavior I was not willing to tolerate yet at the same time invoke her self-awareness instead of more wrath. Phrases like these:
I can’t hear you when you raise your voice. I prefer this to “I can’t hear you when you yell” because using the word “yell” can trigger more yelling as they defend themselves against the label. I have used this phrase many times in my mediation work and in my own life and it is very powerful. It speaks to the underlying interest: To be heard.
Ouch. This one is too short to get attention in a tirade, but if the pace of their yelling slows, this one word, said with zest, can be a show stopper. It conveys that they’re doing damage and this awareness can interrupt the pattern.
When we argue like this I can’t think straight. The power in this phrase lies in the word “we.” It invites a collaborative halt to the way things are unfolding. It says, I am by your side, here, let’s change this together.
I can hear how important this is to you. While popular culture would have you think that people yell to coerce and bully, that is not the only reason people yell. Sometimes they yell because they’re desperately trying to be heard about something important. The power of this phrase is that it acknowledges what they most want, making further yelling unneeded.
Hang on, I missed that. Tell me again. This sounds like an invitation to continue yelling, but it usually has exactly the opposite effect. When you acknowledge you’re interested in the underlying message, the histrionics can abate.
Of course, these are not the only possible phrases that could achieve results, not by a long stretch. You must discover what feels and sounds right coming out of your own mouth when you’re faced with someone who habitually does conflict loudly. Perhaps the above phrases will get you started in discovering your own impactful phrase.
I feel duty-bound to note that I am discussing a conflict situation with someone whom you do not have reason to believe is escalating to violence. If you fear violence, remove yourself from the situation.
A person who is yelling at you is expressing his anger in an aggressive manner. While your initial instinct may be to defend yourself by yelling back, that only serves to escalate the situation. You can remain calm and bring the situation under control without resorting to a shouting match.
Explore this article
1 Keep Your Composure
Don’t attempt to problem solve in a rational manner with someone who is yelling at you. Anger engages the fight/flight mechanism and it takes about 20 minutes for someone to calm down and process information effectively, says John R. Schafer, Ph.D., behavioral analyst for the FBI. He recommends using empathic statements to allow the person to express his anger without getting caught up in it. For example, on your shift as a cashier in a department store an angry customer begins to yell at you about the price of a pantsuit. You respond, “You feel the store has issued an unfair price. Please give me a minute and I’ll see what I can do for you. Okay?”
2 Change Your Thoughts
You’ll likely feel compelled to defend yourself when someone is yelling at you. Because you feel threatened, your survival instincts kick in and you’re more likely to want to respond with aggressive behavior. Tell yourself that you are in control, while you change your thoughts to something positive like your best friend, the exam you aced or your new puppy. Changing your focus can make you laugh or smile. It will likely prevent you from reacting in a negative manner.
3 Clear the Fog
Your mind may go blank, making it hard to think when someone is yelling at you. To counteract this, have questions to ask yourself. Ask yourself, “What are two reasons he is acting out?” suggests Steven Stosney, a Maryland-based therapist. This gives you time to deflect his aggression and brainstorm how you are going to deal with the situation.
4 Relaxation Techniques
Being yelled at can trigger your own angry feelings. Using relaxation exercises such as deep breathing, mantras or imagery can help you to remain calm and in control. Words like, “I am okay” or “Relax” can help you to calm yourself before responding to the person who is yelling at you. The American Psychological Association recommends picturing your breath coming up from your stomach to gain the full benefit of deep breathing. Remaining calm in these situations can keep a full blown argument from erupting.
- 1 Psychology Today: Controlling Angry People
- 2 American Psychological Association: Controlling Anger Before It Controls You
- 3 Eastern Washington University Access: Defusing Anger in Others
- 4 Oprah: 5 Ways to Derail Rage
About the Author
Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.
Dealing with someone’s verbal abuse can be psychologically and emotionally taxing. Victims of verbal abuse often wish the verbally abusive person’s behavior would change for the better, but victims must focus on their responses to the abuse, says Kellie Holly, a writer with website HealthyPlace.com. Using effective tools to address verbal abuse will enable you to successfully deal with this unhealthy behavior.
When someone is verbally abusive toward you, you must do is find a sufficient way to deal with the stress associated with this treatment. No one “makes” a person feel a certain way or forces a person to respond to a situation in a specific manner; your response to stress from a verbally abusive person is your choice, states Donna M. White, a licensed mental health counselor, writing on “Psych Central.” White suggests that the way you view the situation, such as realizing that you cannot change a verbally abusive person’s behavior and the way you choose to handle the abuse can help you manage your stress. White also suggests that “The Serenity Prayer” can help teach yourself to accept things you cannot change.
Setting boundaries with verbally abusive people requires you to assertively express how someone else’s verbal abuse makes you feel and that you don’t want to be treated in this manner, and can also indicate consequences for repeated violations of overstepping your boundaries. When your friend or significant other beings yelling at you or speaking in a condescending tone, tell him you do not like him speaking to you in that way, because it makes you feel unhappy that he does not respect you. Ask your friend to tell you when he is having a bad day and would rather be alone instead of yelling at you or speaking to you in a negative tone. If your friend continues to mistreat you, implement a consequence, such as telling your friend or significant other that you choose to minimize contact with him until he learns how to treat you.
Friends can help you deal with verbally abusive people by providing you with emotional support, Holly states. Have a network of individuals around to help you sort through the pain, anger, and hurt you experience when your friend, coworker or significant other is verbally abusive toward you. Keeping your anger penned up inside can exacerbate your stress levels and make you feel even worse. Talking to your friends about the various emotions you experience is a healthy way to cope with a verbally abusive relationship.
The Serenity Prayer says, “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” If you learn that no matter what you do you are unable to convince someone who is being verbally abusive to you to treat you appropriately, and are unable to maintain good emotional health while keeping this person in your life you may need to have the courage to move on from this toxic relationship. Removing yourself from a verbally abusive person and moving on is a way that you can change this situation. Be direct and tell your verbally abusive friend or significant other that you will no longer allow him to mistreat you. If he insists that he will change and asks you not to leave, tell him you will consider being available to him once, he seeks some help for his abusive behavior and practices healthier communication.
I work in retail management and I deal with a lot of angry customers on a daily basis. For the most part I can handle everyday angry people, but I feel like I do so poorly. Whenever someone starts yelling at me about a problem my heart starts beating way too hard and I can't quite think straight enough to diffuse the situation as well as I should. In my job I am required to be a problem solver, but when someone is yelling at me I just want to shut down and walk away.
Any tips or tricks that people have found to calm themselves down and keep a cool head in situations like this?
Therapist and past bartender here. First, in any customer service job, the golden rule is to start with an apology. Then, normally the customer is yelling because they're angry, and where there is anger, there is always pain. If you listen past the content ("my computer is still broken!") and hear the pain ("I feel like I've been cheated and disrespected by your company"), then you've found the cypher for their anger. Acknowledge and relate to what angered them ("That is so aggravating. I hate it when people don't do what they say they will.") This shows the person that they are not crazy for feeling the way they do. This has a wonderful way of disarming a person, because they enter your business expecting to meet an enemy but find themselves face to face with an ally. Take that role on and become the customers advocate, helping them get to the bottom of whatever problem they have.
I recommend against talking down to a customer or telling them how loudly to talk UNLESS they start personal attacks ("I asked for fries with that, are you incompetent or just stupid?") Then you have the right to defend yourself. Just remember what actions will make the situation better or worse.
This suggestion seems, to me, the most useful. I don't usually take personal offence to customers getting angry but I like that suggestion of hearing past the complaint to the source of their aggravation.
Deep breathing helps. Also, remind yourself that just because they are angry doesn't oblige you to get upset. It really doesn't.
Don't let the fact that some jerk yelling at you, when it is clearly uncalled for, bother you at all. I'm a waiter and I get this nonsense all of the time.
-Think about how funny it is that this grown person can't express themselves in a normal way. -When responding to them keep a very steady firm voice (never raise your voice to the customers level.) -Stand up straight breath deep and slow. -Smile and nod, this will confuse the hell out of them. -Bonus points if you ask them "Why are you yelling?"
-Bonus points if you ask them "Why are you yelling?"
Normally yes, angry retail customer, no way should you ever say this. While it might work sometimes, half the time it can set them off worse than before.
Read Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People". Fantastic read on how you can handle situations like this. My father is immature and yells like crazy. I'm not nearly perfect, but I have used his methods to defuse the situation.
Also, meditation will help you relax and not be baited. Sometimes it is hard because you instinctively lash out back, but you need to have a healthy mind.
Could you contribute the relevant tip from the book you referenced? I think that would add to the conversation more than the title.
Go to your happy place.
Take 5 deep breaths.
Think about the worst you ever got yelled at by a customer and think it's not as bad as this guy.
Get out of retail while you still can. (General public treats retail employees like they're their slaves)
I have heard this a lot, but how do you take deep breaths with the customer in front of you? I meditate before work, so I know how to breath, but I feel like they would become even meaner if they knew they were scaring me.
I have had so many customers say so many mean, and rude things to me because of my anxiety. Sometimes if I get too scared I blank out and can't think. This one mean guy wanted change back, and as I looked in the register I just couldn't think. He asked me what my problem was and I was like, "Oh, sorry, long day" while blushing and he said sarcastically, "Let me guess, you went to public school, right?"
I was so shocked I didn't know what to say. I just handed him his money back and stood at my register sort of shaking. I have worked in customer service for 5 years while in high school and now college. I really wish I could find a job that allowed me to be as far away from people as possible because most people are fucking horrible.
Contrary to what people are saying, DO NOT raise your voice back. You aren't there to fight with them, you are there to help them. Beyond that, LISTEN. Just let someone talk until they are done, some idiots just want to rant about something. The less you say at first, the less likely they are to resort to personal attacks.
Be friendly and curteous regardless of what an asshole they're being. Ask them what you can do to fix the problem. You want to get their brain to start working again on a human level instead of an animal one.
You have to go for a 'kill them with kindness approach.' Try to keep a smile on your face, not a mocking one but a genuine one, it'll help calm them down.
Try to stay impersonal about it unless they start attacking you personally. If they start insulting you, say that you aren't going to help them and walk away. Get a manager or someone else to assist you. Don't get angry back as, it will NEVER help you in the long run.
Remember they aren't mad at YOU, they are mad about whatever product/service you're providing. NEVER tell someone they are wrong, it will just make things worse. If you need them to see it from your angle, try to be as diplomatic as possible.
I know some of this won't come easily or naturally. At the end of the day though, you will be less frustrated because you won't take it personally.
The easiest thing I've ever found is simply to ask them a question. Whatever it is they're yelling at you for, listen carefully and think about what they're saying with the thought in mind of what you can ask them to get them to further elaborate, but the catch is making it a question that makes them have to stop and think for a second. This split second diverts their attention from their anger and makes them feel like they're being heard. People yell when they don't feel understood, heard or are fearful that they're getting an unfair deal. Asking them questions can pull them out of their heightened state. If they answer your question with anger, but it's lessened, ask another one. Once you have them talking at a lower level let them know you've been listening by saying something like "I can really understand why you're so upset" or "wow, I imagine this has been a really frustrating experience for you". Then, either offer a solution (in the form of a question) or apologize, then ask what you can do to correct the situation.
I've been in front of 50-60 people as the speaker and have had an audience member just start loudly shouting at me. It was really interesting, the other people in the audience immediately came to my rescue. But instead I thanked them and gave the floor back to the gentleman who was shouting by asking him questions to calm him. Instead of the room erupting into chaos he felt heard and shut his trap, embarrassed.
It’s hard to know exactly how to react and what you should say and do when your boss yells at you, first and foremost because they’re your boss.
Unless they’re harassing or bullying you (in which case you should skip the reaction and go straight to HR/a lawyer), even if they’re wrong on a point of work, they’re probably going to end up being right.
And depending on how they hold grudges and scrutinize you, your reaction could cost you a job or in the long term have them riding your ass even harder.
You’re beholden to your boss in a lot of ways, which means you can’t fly off the handle even when you want to. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stand up for yourself when they’re throwing a tantrum in your direction.
Your reaction to your boss yelling at you should be contingent on why they are yelling at you. Are you at fault? Or are you the scapegoat? Is their yelling because of general frustration? Or are they specifically targeting you, possibly unfairly?
It’s true that cooler heads prevail, so if you start by assessing why there is yelling going on in the first place, you can navigate a clear reaction to it. Here are some suggestions for ways to react and what you can say when your boss is yelling at you:
1. Ask To Schedule A Private Meeting
If someone is yelling, it’s probably because they’re at their wit’s end. They feel cornered by whatever conundrum they’re facing, and might have become irrational about dealing with it. Whether your boss’s concerns are legitimate or frivolous, you can diffuse the situation by calmly asking for a private meeting at which to discuss the meeting at hand. Make it formal: book a conference room and schedule a time that day so you two can sit down and hash out the problem, as it’s most likely a solvable work challenge.
2. Explain Yourself
Again, remain calm, but speak up. If your boss has the wrong idea about something you’ve done, say so. Don’t be vindictive or petty in your speech. Keep it matter-of-fact, and explain yourself. If your boss is demanding answers, give them. Be clear and succinct, and keep to the point without waffling on. If you can be direct in your communication chances are your shouting boss will calm down and meet you at your timbre.
3. Own Up To Your Mistakes
Don’t make excuses. If you’re getting yelled at because you messed up, own it. Denying your responsibility will only make your boss madder. Don’t be combative when you’re in the wrong, it won’t serve you in the long run. Let your boss know that you understand your mistake, are very sorry, and will work as hard as you can to fix the problem as fast as possible. Chances are the more repentant you are about your mistake and the more willing to fix it, your yelling boss will soften and even feel bad about coming down on you so hard. We’re all human, even bosses.
4. Offer A Solution
Whatever’s going on, whether it’s because of your folly or something out of your control, offer a solution. Yelling comes from frustration, so chances are your boss feels cornered, and is ironically probably terrified of being yelled at by their own boss. If you can be creative and show initiative in moving forward, you might be offering your boss a solution they couldn’t see on their own.
5. Never Yell Back
Never, under any circumstances, yell back at your boss. I once had a boss yell at me over something that wasn’t my fault, and I sat calmly and took it. Sometimes, with your boss, you just can’t take it personally, and you can’t let it get under your skin. I waited until he was finished, and then explained myself, and offered him a solution (see above).
I could have become emotional and yelled back, sure (I actually went and cried in the bathroom from the adrenaline afterwards), but it would have gotten me nowhere. It would not only have made him madder, but it would have put me at fault in a situation where I wasn’t. Don’t give your angry boss a reason to be angrier. Even when they should be more professional, you need to be the bigger person. It might seem unfair in the short term but it will serve you better in the long run.
6. Always Follow Up
When you’ve had a conflict at work, always follow up to see that it’s resolved. After you’ve been yelled at by your boss, follow up the next day to make sure everything is square. Whether that’s working towards the solution, or finalizing the solution, stay on top of it, and show that you care about your job and making things work. No one wants to be in their boss’s bad books, especially when that boss is prone to flying off the hook, so be proactive (which you should be anyway at work!) to earn your good graces back.
Workplace conflicts can trigger emotional responses. Some people freeze up because they don’t know what to do or because they don’t know what the person yelling might do next.
Other people yell back, which can make the situation go from bad to worse.
Obviously, neither of these responses is ideal. But what can you do if someone yells at you at work, especially if that person is your boss?
Focus On What Is Being Said
It might seem counterintuitive, but workplace experts suggest that listening to what the person yelling is upset about is the best way to handle the situation.
Don’t get into an argument with someone who is yelling. Instead, while they are yelling, take some deep breaths to help you resist the urge to yell back or defend yourself in any other manner.
Eventually, the yeller will stop yelling. When they do, do your best to summarize what you think they’re upset about, and listen carefully to their response.
There’s a great quote I love to go by during tough, contentious conversations. The great Stephen R. Covey said to “Seek first to understand… before you seek to be understood.”
For example, when your boss or client or coworker stops yelling at you, you can say, “It sounds like you’re upset that we lost an important client and you feel I’m to blame for that.” Then listen to the person’s response and summarize whatever he or she says next.
It’s important to note that this isn’t the same as agreeing with the yeller — you’re just diffusing the situation by making it clear you hear the complaint. After you’re both on the same page, you can explain your point of view and try to work out the conflict.
Almost never in the history of an argument where yelling is involved does it help for the person being yelled at to yell back. It’s like pouring gasoline on a fire. It just causes the situation to explode.
Try To Hash It Out In Private
Once the issue behind the yelling has been worked out, you might still want to confront the person about their behavior. Nobody likes to be yelled at, and you have the right to ask to be treated respectfully.
It’s best to wait until everyone is calm and to ask for a private meeting to discuss the issue. Don’t give in to the temptation to embarrass the other person publicly with this type of discussion even if they embarrassed you by yelling at you in front of co-workers or friends.
When you do meet, keep the focus on the behavior you want to be changed, not on them as a person.
Use lots of “I statements” (I feel… I think…) and try to avoid accusing them of anything or impugning their character. For example, it’s better to say, “I feel hurt that you yelled at me in front of my team. I would appreciate it if in the future, you and I talked privately about any concerns you have about whatever happened.”
Saying something like: “You yelled at me in front of my team and embarrassed me on purpose” isn’t going to solve anything.
Consider Involving Higher-Ups
There are some situations that can’t be resolved just by talking to the person who offended you or yelled at you. In certain situations, you may need to get someone else involved.
If you decide to involve other people, do your best to present it as a problem within the business rather than just complaining about how that person treated you. This makes it more likely that your complaint will be taken seriously and not just looked at as a personal squabble.
Let It Go
Once you’ve dealt with the situation and asserted yourself to the person that has mistreated you, it’s time to let it go. Holding a grudge won’t do anyone any good and will just make your job harder.
After the problem has been discussed and resolved, do your best to forgive that person and keep moving forward. Don’t hold grudges or retaliate by underperforming at work or looking for another job. These behaviors will hurt you more than the person who offended you.
Think of it as more of a challenge. See if you can turn an adversary into an advocate.
If the yelling is really egregious or ongoing and you can’t seem to move past it, it might be time to take further and more serious action.
But in most situations, if you use your active listening skills, talk to the person privately about how his or her behavior made you feel, and talked with company executives or HR about any serious problems, you can get past a yelling incident without having to give up your job.
Disrespectful, rude or shrill co-workers can turn any workplace toxic overnight. If you’re always butting heads, it’s important to confront dysfunctional behavior before it becomes a regular routine. However, it’s also important to see if you’re unwittingly giving jerks at work a license to continue behaving badly, as well. The more insight you gain into the situation, the more likely that the changes you seek will stick for good. Although you may be tempted to immediately tell the boss that a “coworker snapped at me,” there are steps that you can take to resolve the situation on your own.
Analyze the Conflict
Before attempting to address any conflict, analyze what’s prompting the behavior. Indeed Career Guide recommends taking a step back to analyze the situation from the other person’s perspective. Put yourself in the other person’s place, and objectively ask if you inadvertently said or did something that contributed to the problem. Seek to understand and respect differing ideas. If you still feel stuck, recruit someone – such as a human resources professional, or colleague who doesn’t work with either of you – to help brainstorm solutions, and serve as a mediator.
Stay Calm and Collected
Anytime coworkers start screaming, yelling or otherwise acting out, don’t stoop to their level. Stay calm, don’t interrupt and just listen. Once the tirade runs out of steam, repeat your colleague’s statements, and suggest ways to resolve the situation. If the behavior doesn’t stop, keep detailed notes of each incident, including copies of angry emails and memos. You’ll need them to pursue a complaint with the human resources department, suggests Women Working.
Change the Relationship Dynamics
Getting an abusive co-worker to respect you means doing something to change the dynamic of your relationship. People often think in terms of character, or motivation, but behavior is commonly driven by situational changes. Instead of arguing with hostile co-workers, think about what they’re trying to accomplish, and help them see how they can achieve their goals. In turn, they will feel less need to automatically oppose you, which changes how you relate to each other.
Rude or disrespectful behavior often stems from fear and insecurity. Less-skilled workers tend to overemphasize their abilities, and underestimate their shortcomings, which prompts them to view criticism as a personal attack. To counter these feelings, offer ways to improve on a particular task, or share the workload on a difficult project. Such arrangements help you play to each others’ strengths. Collaboration defuses the risk of confrontation, yet helps your employer meet strategic goals.
At some point, you may be unable to resolve your problems without enlisting some outside help from your supervisor, or the human resources department, advises Our Everyday Life. Before you approach them, however, make sure that you’ve exhausted all the other options for solving the problem. Also, if you pursue a formal complaint, be discreet. There’s no need to share your grievances with co-workers who aren’t affected by the issues that you’re trying to resolve.
You do your best to keep your emotions in check when you’re in the office. And, even if you did fall victim to having a rare emotional outburst on an off day, you addressed the situation, said your genuine apologies, and moved on.
But, what about when your co-worker or boss is the one to flip his lid in the middle of the workday? Should you respond immediately, even though he’s emotionally charged? Should you just ignore it and pretend it never happened? Should you pack up your desk, move to Bermuda, and hide for the remainder of your career?
Let’s face it—we’re all human. And, just because we all try to maintain a professional reputation in the office doesn’t necessarily mean we’re able to check all of our emotions at the door. These things happen. But, it doesn’t mean that your peers or supervisor have a free pass to constantly fly off the handle.
When someone in your office has a meltdown—particularly if it’s directed at you—you want to make sure the circumstances are handled, without signing up for a leading role in your office’s drama.
Sound impossible? It’s not! Follow these steps to effectively deal with the situation and carry on. (Or, move to Bermuda. It’s your choice.)
1. Don’t Engage Immediately
First things first, do your best not to engage when someone in your office is having an outburst. It’s easier said than done, especially if your co-worker is bellowing directly at you from across the conference room table. But, participating in a conversation (a.k.a., screaming match) with him or her will only serve to escalate the situation.
We all know that emotionally distressed people aren’t exactly capable of having rational and reasonable discussions. So, you’re simply wasting your time and breath. Whether your co-worker is sobbing or screaming, it’s important to give her some time to cool off. That way you can both come back to the situation with a clear head.
2. Analyze the Situation
Once the craziness has died down and your co-worker or boss has retreated to his desk in anger or embarrassment, it’s time for you to think about your next steps.
There’s no need to get yourself wrapped up in a situation that didn’t even directly involve you in the first place. So, take some time to consider whether or not this is something you even need to take action on.
Did this outburst directly impact you? If your co-worker was yelling and pointing a finger in your face, then—obviously—the answer is yes. But, if the hostility was directed at someone else and you were just a witness, do you really want to stick your neck out and get brought into a situation that really has nothing to do with you?
Outbursts are uncomfortable to witness, and your first inclination might be to jump up and defend a co-worker. But, make sure to evaluate the circumstances first—or you might end up having a meltdown of your own!
3. Determine Your Approach
So, you’ve decided that you just couldn’t let the situation be swept under the rug. Your co-worker or boss’ behavior crossed a line, and the idea of letting it slide and carrying on as normal immediately makes your jaw clench and your palms sweat.
What now? It’s time to figure out your best course of action. You have numerous options for handling the situation—you just need to pick the best one to address the circumstances.
If the emotional flare-up was threatening or harassing in any way, you’ll likely want to involve a superior or your human resources department. Certain actions require repercussions, and a simple “Whoops, sorry!” isn’t always enough to smooth over outrageous behavior. You might feel like a tattletale, but you deserve a workplace that isn’t hostile.
In contrast, if your co-worker or boss just got a little too heated without being aggressive or vulgar, you can likely handle that situation yourself. Rather than springing a conversation on him or her, request a time that you could sit down and chat. Then, explain how you felt that the outburst was unwarranted and how it made you uncomfortable.
Not sure what to say? Something simple like, “I understand that sometimes we all lose our cool. But, the way you reacted made me feel very uncomfortable. Can we talk about some ways that we can better communicate with each other when we disagree?” should do the trick.
Of course, you can always sit back and wait for an office peer to approach you with a humble apology. But, if the situation is really nagging at you (or, that employee has a reputation for being ridiculously stubborn), you’re better off tackling it head on to avoid letting it fester.
4. Move On
Emotions will definitely find their way into the workplace here and there, but that doesn’t mean your office needs to be tense and awkward. While your co-worker or boss’ emotional explosion served to make things uncomfortable, holding a grudge definitely won’t make things any better.
That’s right, it’s time to do the tough thing and be the bigger person. If the situation has been handled and you’ve received a somewhat genuine apology, it’s time to let it go and move on. No muttering under your breath, snarky office gossip, or refusing to work on a team with him or her. After all, what purpose do those snide remarks and passive aggressive actions serve? They’ll likely only add fuel to the fire—and maybe even inspire another outburst!
Witnessing your boss or co-worker lose his or her grip is uncomfortable—and even more so when you’re directly involved in the incident. But, don’t let your own emotions get the best of you too! Follow these steps to successfully handle the situation with dignity.