Conflict Is Messy. Here Are 5 Things To Do Before Confronting Someone

Confrontation can be scary sometimes, but it doesn’t have to be.

There are steps that you can take to ensure that you address the issue that is on your mind in a healthy and mature manner.

A bad confrontation has the power to ruin a relationship, but a positive confrontation may just save your relationship.

Yes, you heard me: confrontations can be positive.

Struggling with confrontations is totally normal. Some people can be overzealous when confronting others, and some shy away from it completely. You may fall under one of these categories, or you may be somewhere in the middle.


Regardless, taking the time to map out what you are going to say and how you are going to say it will help you carry out a constructive conversation that will benefit all parties.

Below, I have listed five steps to take before confronting someone. They will ensure that you address the things that you need to talk about in a constructive manner.

How To Confront Someone With Minimum Drama

1. Pinpoint exactly what is bothering you

Take a minute to consider what they root of the conflict is. Gaining perspective on what is really bothering you will give provide insight on what you actually need to talk about.

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Evaluate the situation from a macro perspective. For example, you could be upset over your roommate eating your cheese. Initially you may be upset about the cheese itself, but thinking about it later, you might realize that what you are mad about is the disregard for your property.

Look at the whole picture and really get down to the meat of the issue. The last thing that you want is to have to keep bringing these issues up. Figuring out what is really making you uncomfortable will make confronting easier and allow you to better explain your perspective.

2. Decide what the gravity of the issue is

Now that you know what is upsetting you, decide how serious the situation is.

Blowing things out of proportion won’t help anyone, but you also shouldn’t belittle yourself into thinking that your position is not valid.

Every slip-up is not the ultimate betrayal, but every lie is not of the little, white variety. Each situation is different, and depending on the gravity of the issue, you may need to have a longer conversation that you thought. Or, you may only need a few minutes to clear things up.

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3. Practice what you are going to say

Let the situation form inside of your mind, or write an outline of what you plan on talking about.

Don’t be afraid to write or type it out. Being able to physically read what you plan on saying can help you see it in a whole new light. Sometimes, I don’t know how things will come across until read it myself.

4. Practice how you are going to say it

This step is just as important as the last. Think about everything from the words that you will use to the tone of voice that you speak with.

These little things make a big difference in how your message is received by the other party.

The phrasing that you choose can make someone feel as if you are attempting to understand them and build a better relationship with them. However, if you pounce on them and accuse them, your conversation may turn into a battle.

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5. Consult a third party

Speak to someone that is not involved in the situation in any way. Talking to another person about how you will confront someone can be very useful, but it can easily be mistaken for gossiping if the friend is mutual.

An outside view could give you great insight. However, by talking to someone who is a mutual friend or acquaintance you may damage your relationship even further by making them feel as if they were isolated and attacked—so be careful!

The Takeaway

Whether it is your relationship with your co-worker, friend, or significant other, every relationship is flawed. There will be times when confronting someone is necessary.

You don’t have to go in guns blazing in order to speak your mind. Take the time to think about the issue and the best way to bring it up. You will feel more at ease and be less likely to say something that you don’t mean out of stress or anger.

Photo by Jacqueline Sinclair

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