What to Say When

Dealing with an Angry Person 

Steve is clearly angry. He has gone bright red in the face, a bit of spittle is coming your way in amongst being told your pedigree. First make an assessment of whether you are safe. If not, simply leave, saying “We will come back to this in 30 minutes”, or whatever time frame you think is needed for Steve to calm down sufficiently.

Avoid getting angry in return, and don’t patronize. It seldom works out well. Quickly demonstrate your concern. Steve wants you to be concerned, that’s why he is ranting at you. Let him know you want to help, then be quiet and listen. Don’t correct, interrupt, or clarify. Just listen. This gives Steve time to calm down and gives him no extra ammunition to get angry again. Once Steve calms down you can work on resolving the issue.

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