I have definitely been in the position of coming across an angry person (or angry people), and being a very angry person on some occasions.
BEING THE ANGRY PERSON
Every time I get angry and someone diffuses me effectively, I step back after the heat is over and observe what they did to get me to calm down so quickly (hey, it’s a great way to study yourself and to learn how to deal with others).
I’ve noticed that what works on me are three things:
- Humour: This is only if I am upset and slightly angry, but not foaming at the mouth
- Coaxing offers to help: This only works if I am foaming at the mouth
- Acknowledging/Apologizing: This works if I am foaming at the mouth
Taking a tough stance on me and being rude or curt, doesn’t help at all. I’ll bet it doesn’t work on other foamy-angry people either.
KEEPING YOUR COOL WITH AN ANGRY PERSON
You can use the above methods, but it can be hard to joke with someone who is beet red in the face and foaming at the mouth, so pick and choose your methods wisely!
A study from Stanford University says that if you think: It’s not about me, it’s them having a bad day and taking it out on me, really helps you keep a level head in the face of fire:
In one experiment, participants were upset when they were shown a picture of an angry face.
But when some of them were told to consider that the person had had a bad day and saw the same angry face again, it had less impact.
Participants who were told to just feel the emotions triggered by the angry face continued to be upset when they saw it again.
So there you have it.
The next time your boss flips out on you for the umpteenth time, think to yourself: she is having a bad day… again.
This may not work in the long-term if they’re always yelling at you, but it stops you immediately from reacting in hotheaded frustration and reciprocal anger.