How to Avoid Fighting Someone Who Wants to Fight

by Culture & Society Editor

Often people think that fighting is brave or somehow makes them stronger and more powerful if they're not afraid of backing away from a fight. Actually, the opposite is true. The minute a fight happens, instinct takes over and it has nothing to do with bravery or power. It takes more strength to avoid a fight than to get into one.

Learn to handle your emotions. The first rule is to think before acting. This will take practice and an entire new set of skills. Human nature is to let emotions rule how a person acts, but it's possible to keep emotions in check. Avoid the temptation to let anger get the best of you.

Forget about who's right. When tempers flare it's difficult to reason with someone who wants to fight. Now is not the time to make your case or explain how the other person is overacting. Maybe there will be a time to talk things over later, but maybe the person is a stranger that you'll never see again and in that case, who cares who was right or wrong?

Acknowledge that the person is angry. Often people simply need the person they are angry with to recognize their emotion. This doesn't mean that you concede to being wrong or say it's OK for them to be mad. Tell them that you can see they are angry and you've clearly upset them.

Be sorry for upsetting the other person. This doesn't mean that you are sorry because you did something wrong. You are sorry for him that he is letting anger get the best of him. But sorry goes a long way in soothing over a touchy situation and can get emotions back down to a safe level to help you avoid a fight.

Walk away. Sometimes nothing beats avoidance like walking in the other direction. If the person who wants to fight is coming down the street or a discussion is heating up to an uncomfortable level, simply take a step in the opposite direction and continue walking.

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