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November 3, 2016

How to Confront Someone Peacefully and Productively


Unless you’re a robot, it’s almost a guarantee that at one point another you’ll have to approach someone about something they might’ve done either intentionally or unintentionally. Most people find extreme discomfort in the act of confronting someone in order to absolve an issue and reach a common ground. We do so for numerous reasons, including:

However, “the most important reason [to confront someone] is the deep psychological one: You matter, your opinion matters, and having a voice is worth a little discomfort for you and those around you.” [2]

Here’s how to do that peacefully and productively:

1. Ask yourself….is this worth bringing up?confront

The absolute first thing you should do is ask yourself if the issue is even worth bringing up to someone. If you’re answering this question while in a state of sadness or anger, then the answer is almost always going to be yes. Give yourself some time to live out the longevity of your initial emotional reaction, and while doing so, make sure that you have all the information and that it’s reliable and truthful. You never want to go into a confrontation with your guns blazing hasty accusations. The person will immediately retreat to a state of defense and you’ll be farther from a common ground than you were before approaching them. If someone did something to you directly, like say something that offended you during a meeting, then you have all the information you need. Simply ask yourself, should I let this go? Or will I feel better if I confront them about it? If the answer to the second question is yes, then you should take the next step.

2. Choose the right setting.

Confronting someone should always be done in private and never in front of people who aren’t involved. Not only is it very distasteful, but it makes other people extremely uncomfortable. Additionally, don’t do it in a place where you are likely to be interrupted. Confronting someone in private allows the attention to be focused on the issue at hand without interruption, embarrassment, or the input of someone who isn’t involved. Depending on the severity of the situation, you can choose to do it via text or email. But bear in mind that tone, meaning, etc. can be easily misconstrued when we don’t have non-verbal ques or instant clarification like we do when confrontation is done in person. Additionally, it can take more time to absolve when you’re constantly typing replies back and forth. For best results, gather the courage to do it in person.

3. Choose the best opener…it’ll set the tone for the conversation.

Think about how you would want someone to confront you. We can assume it isn’t an anger induced rage, right? It’s done in a calm, rational manner that provides a comfortable parallel for information and clarification to be transmitted between two people. Opening that parallel should be done in a well thought out manner. Here are some pointers:

4. Wait for their reaction…here’s what they might do:

                          Whatever you do, don’t….

confront5. Now, take a minute to decompress in solitude and think about what happened. Regardless of the outcome, move on. Take comfort in the fact that you’re thankful to be someone who’s successful and likable. You did your part by approaching them peacefully, and simply bringing it up, you’ve forced them to reflect on their actions. You did everything right, let them live with their poor actions now…not you.


[1] Coprino, Kathy. “5 Critical Steps to Fearless Confrontation.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 4 Nov. 2013. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

[2] Howes, Ryan. “How to Confront.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, 27 June 2014. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

[3] Raeeka. “4 Simple Tips for Confronting Someone Who Hurt You.” Tiny Buddha. Tiny Buddha, LLC., 2015. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

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