There are a lot of people in the world who self-identify as people pleasers.
And if you’re one of them, then you know exactly how difficult it can be to engage in confrontation when it’s needed.
Confrontation is probably best defined as actively, intentionally, and proactively addressing a difference of agreement, problem, or issue with another person.
What makes confrontation difficult is that it carries with it a high likelihood that the person you’re confronting will be displeased with you, especially in the short term.
Now, just because confrontation can make people displeased with you in the short term doesn’t mean that it will always result in something negative.
In fact, quite the opposite is true.
Failing to engage in healthy confrontation when it’s needed can be a death sentence for our relationships.
Without positive, healthy conflict, there’s no way to solve problems that might exist between yourself and other people.
Therefore, being conflict-averse actually puts you at greater risk for losing valuable relationships in your life.
All that being said, it’s also important to navigate confrontation in a healthy, positive, and productive manner.
Some people go really over the top with it, and end up hurting other people’s feelings by being needlessly negative, harsh, and critical.
So here’s the big question.
How do you navigate confrontation correctly, without running the risk of ruining the relationship and completely succumbing to anxiety at the same time?
For all of you ‘people pleasers’ out there, these four tips will help to get you started.
1. Be Kind And Honest
The biggest key to confrontation is to remember to be equal parts kind and honest.
The tricky part about this is that being honest sometimes requires you to say things that the other person won’t want to hear.
But the important thing to remember about this is that you can still share the truth in a kind fashion, even if the news isn’t particularly good.
This is the first step in accomplishing healthy, positive confrontation.
2. Address The Problem In An Isolated Fashion
The tough thing about confrontation is that it can cause emotions to really run wild.
A lot of people get in their feelings when confronted with something that they’re not thrilled about.
So in order to minimize needless emotional blowback, it’s in your best interest to try to be as specific and isolated about what you’re confronting them about as possible.
For example, telling someone:
“You’re always so selfish.”
… is a much less positive approach than saying:
“Hey, that one specific thing you did today was kind of selfish, and it bothered me. Can we talk about it?”
Do you see the difference?
Being as specific and isolated as possible while confronting the person about the problem is a great way to minimize emotional blowback, and to keep from needlessly hurting people’s feelings.
3. Be Courageous
It takes bravery to engage in healthy confrontation.
Giving people bad news, delivering constructive criticism, or otherwise addressing problems isn’t easy for those of us who like to make other people happy.
But the fact of the matter is that you can’t successfully navigate through your interpersonal relationships without being willing and brave enough to engage in conflict.
People don’t always appreciate it in the moment; but in the long term, your true loved ones will be infinitely grateful that you were brave enough to actually talk about the issues instead of just ignoring them.
And even if they aren’t grateful, they should be. Because you’ve displayed that you were the bigger person by being willing to talk about the difficult things.
And that matters.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
This might seem like a weird thing to say; but the more that you engage in healthy confrontation, the easier it will get.
It may never become a ‘fun’ thing to do.
But it can at least become something that you don’t dread.
The best way to get practice for this is to go ahead and start having those small confrontations that you usually avoid.
Even the smallest little confrontation can serve as practice for the bigger, more significant ones.
This is just part of learning to be overall better at confronting problems and overcoming challenges with other humans in your life.
There you have it!
Four tips for positively and successfully navigating confrontation in your life.
It’s not easy, but it’s important.
Most of all, it’s crucial to remember that you can do it.
Even if you’re a recovering people pleaser, you’ve got what it takes.
Now get out there, be honest, and succeed.