We’ve all found ourselves in situations where someone is angry with us. It could be a spouse, friend, co-worker, or even a stranger! And if you’re someone who likes everyone to be happy and nice, then these instances make you uncomfortable. You want to solve the problem and make things better. But how do you make a person who’s angry at you suddenly become nice?
4 Steps to Fix the Situation
Every situation is unique and you’ll have to determine how to best approach an angry person in the moment. However, in most cases, the following tips and techniques apply.
1. Don’t Retaliate
The number one rule is to avoid retaliation. No matter what someone does, you can’t attack back. This will only make the person angrier. A common example of this is when someone gets angry and cuts you off in traffic because you’ve been driving slower than they’d like. If you respond by cutting them off, this will infuriate them even more.
As hard as it can be, never repay an angry action with another angry action. Even though you feel disrespected, you have to put your pride aside and move on. Make sure you don’t come across as sarcastic, though, as this can infuriate an angry person even more.
2. Show Your Care
Instead of acting angry, show the person that you care about their situation. You’ll find that angry people are often that way because they feel misunderstood. Taking the time to listen may be enough to change their attitude. Depending on the situation, here are some good lines:
Can you tell me what’s wrong? Maybe I can help.
I’m sorry you feel that way. Is there something I can do?
This should have never happened. How are you feeling?
Little lines like these are enough to get the angry person talking. You may eventually be able to help them see past the problem by letting them talk it out.
3. Make Yourself Human
If the angry person is directing their malice towards you, the quickest way to reduce frustration is by making yourself seem more human. Tell them how their anger makes you feel – i.e. scared, confused, or anxious – and be sure to let them know that you mean no harm in your words or actions.
4. Lighten the Mood
You have to be careful with this technique, but a mean person can often be quelled by lightening the mood. Consider telling a joke, flashing a smile, or adding perspective to something that isn’t really that big of a deal. Knowing when to do these things will get you far in life.
Don’t Let Someone Else Ruin Your Day
When it’s all said and done, it’s impossible for you to control someone else’s emotions. No matter how hard you may try, some angry people just want to remain angry. If at all possible, don’t let them ruin your day. Choose kindness and you’ll be the better person.
Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.
The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.
The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.
Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages
People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.
They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.
Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise
They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else. A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
Their stories are full of holes. Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising. The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.
How to Spot a Wolf
Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony
Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.
A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.
A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.
Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.
Ask Questions, the More the Better
There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.
When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.
Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.
They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.
Wolves Are Everywhere
As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.
Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.