We all get upset and want someone to listen when we do. Unfortunately we are programmed pretty heavily to be defensive when someone is upset with us. However, with a little forethought we can remember that when someone comes to us upset, WE do not have to respond the same way. We can actually try to hear what the person is telling us and respond kindly.
As a general rule of thumb, by the time someone is coming to you to talk to you about something, they are likely already wound up. This is your opportunity to be a little bit kinder, a little bit more understanding and possibly avoid an argument altogether.
10 Possible Things to Say Kindly:
1. I didn’t realize this was upsetting you. Let me stop and let’s do something else.
2. You don’t like that? Then we won’t do that.
3. You don’t like that? I can understand, what can we do to make doing it easier?
4. You aren’t feeling close? First, *hug the person to ensure closeness* now, let’s start fresh and make getting closer important. Is there something you think we should be doing?
5. You’re right, I didn’t do that and I was supposed to, I’m sorry. Let me put into place a process to make sure it gets done.
6. If you are feeling burned out I insist you take some time to yourself. Do something good for yourself.
7. I am sorry you’ve had a rough day, let’s go for a walk and talk about it.
8. I have pushed you to a point where you are yelling at me, what am I not hearing? I will really try to listen.
9. I can’t believe *name of person* did that. *exaggerated joking* Let’s go key their car and humiliate them on the internet! Or maybe, go to a cafe for something yummy instead and just forget about them?
10. I realize I can be frustrating sometimes. I don’t mean to be. Can we just sit and talk about these things kindly?
And on the flip side, here are a few examples of responses that tend to fuel an argument rather than douse it.
10 Typical Ways a Person Responds to Someone Upset:
1. This is upsetting you? Why is it that everything I want to do upsets you? You always have a problem with me.
2. You don’t like that? Well I don’t like when you do this… what’s the difference? Why do I have to stop but you can just do whatever? Am I not allowed?
3. You don’t like that? Well that’s too bad because it has to get done whether you like it or not.
4. You aren’t feeling close? Why? What about when I did this? Or this? Do you ever think about when I do this? What is your problem?
5. So, I didn’t do it? It’s not like you do everything either, you know. You forget a lot of stuff.
6. Burned out? Are you saying it’s hard to deal with me? Are you telling me you’ve had enough? You aren’t exactly easy to deal with yourself, you know.
7. You think YOU’VE had a rough day? You have no idea what I have been through.
8. I CAN YELL LOUDER THAN YOU CAN!
9. I think you are being too hard on *name of person* they were just trying to do their job.
10. You always have a problem with me. I can never do anything right. I don’t see the point in even trying.
Remember, when someone comes to you upset, you are the logical person in that moment, try to keep it that way.