How to Conquer Your Fear of Confrontation
Confrontation can be super scary.
Unfortunately, failing to learn effective conflict techniques can be equally as terrifying. Standing up for yourself might be difficult, but it's a key part of ensuring that people hear your opinions and respect your position.
Learning how to confront someone in an understanding, but assertive manner is crucial to effectively solving problems. If you're ready to overcome your fear of confrontation, keep scrolling for some of our best tips.
Focus on the Negatives
If you want to conquer your fear of confrontation, you have to feel like there's no better option. When you're convinced that speaking up will make things worse, you'll never find the courage to do it. In order to shift your mindset, focus on all the negative things that occur when you avoid confrontation. Bitterness, feelings of stress, constant anger and damaged relationships are just a few examples. Once you realize that there are plenty of disadvantages to avoiding confrontation, it won't automatically seem like the best option for maintaining peace in your life.
(Pretty Little Liars via Freeform)
Think About the Why
Oftentimes, there's a lot of fear associated with confrontation. You've established the consequences of confronting someone in your head, even if there's no evidence they're actually going to occur in real life. After you've thought about the negatives of avoiding confrontation, think about why confrontation is so worrisome for you. Do you believe it will cost you important relationships? Do you think it will make you seem pushy or aggressive? Establishing where your fear of confrontation lies is a key element in overcoming it.
You've established the drawbacks of confrontation and you've thought about why it's so scary to you—now it's time to focus on the confrontation itself. Confrontation often conjures images of aggressive arguing and emotional situations, which would be terrifying to almost anyone. However, that's not how it has to be.
At its core, confrontation revolves around bringing up something that's bothering you and honestly communicating your feelings. That's it. It can be completely polite and rational, as long as it's done well. If you handle confrontation correctly, all the reasons why it's scary will be completely obsolete. You won't ruin your relationships and you won't be aggressive—you'll simply be opening up a space to honestly discuss your feelings.
(New Girl via FOX)
Discussion, Not Confrontation
Now you know confrontation doesn't have to be aggressive, but let's take it one step further. Instead of thinking of it as a confrontation, why not approach it as a simple discussion? In a discussion, you simply exchange information and search for a solution. When you approach it with that thought in mind, the idea that you have as much right to your feelings as anyone else becomes natural. Plus, it takes the emotions out of the situation. You're saying how you feel and you're working towards a solution—you're not blaming anyone or claiming the moral high ground. Your confrontation doesn't have to be a grand moment—it can be a simple conversation that centers around you expressing your feelings.
If you're truly afraid of confrontation, you can't dive in by calling everyone out on everything that's ever bothered you. Not only will it be totally overwhelming for you, it'll also be alienating to the people you care about if you come down too heavy all at once. Instead, start small. Practice saying what you feel about little things, like your friend not texting you back or the work you want to contribute to a group project. If those small things go smoothly—which they likely will—you'll have more confidence to bring up bigger issues as they arise.
(Pretty Little Liars via Freeform)
Stick to the Facts
Confrontation often goes awry when people allow their emotions to dictate their words. If you're speaking in a frustrated tone or attacking someone's character, the person you're talking to is immediately going to get defensive. Refrain from confronting someone about their behavior until you're calm. Then, focus on "I" statements—"I feel," "I am," "I would like," etc. If they allow the conversation to veer off topic, don't follow them. Stick strictly to the facts of the situation—what they did or said and how it made you feel. If you keep your emotions at bay, even in an emotional situation, you'll be much more likely to have a productive conversation that ends with both of you getting what you want.
Pick Your Battles
Part of learning effective confrontation also involves understanding when you don't need to confront someone. Once you become comfortable with confrontation, it's easier and easier to make a fuss about every little thing. If you're constantly calling people out on things, no one will be willing to listen to you when you have a real problem. In general, you shouldn't confront someone if your emotions are too high for a productive discussion, if the issue doesn't actually affect you or if there's nothing to be gained from saying how you feel. Pick your battles when it comes to confrontation and you'll find that your ability to stand up for yourself will become increasingly effective over time.
Still struggling with confrontation? Click HERE for eight tips for telling a friend that you're upset when you hate confrontation.