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A Healthy Approach To Confrontation

Updated on June 13, 2011

Being confronted or confronting someone over a particular matter can be in some cases an uncomfortable and even unpleasant experience. The experience really depends on a number of factors including the particular reason for confrontation, the emotions involved, any existing fear to confront, the words used, the timing of confrontation amongst other reasons. What is certain though, is that the manner in which a person confronts, and the reaction of the other person can greatly affect the outcome.

Just the very sound of the word confrontation may cause an immediate defensive alert in a number of people. Unfortunately, confrontation is associated with verbal abuse and beyond, but fortunately confrontation can be beneficial to both parties. Think about these situations in a positive sense:

  • A man is severely depressed to the point where he becomes withdrawn from social activity, but a friend realizes the seriousness of the situation and gently confronts him on the matter.

  • An accountant firmly confronts his employer, warning him of the implications of his reckless spending spree.

  • A Hubber politely confronts a new Hubber about inappropriate content in a hub, carefully outlining how it can reduce the standards of Hubpages.

  • A college student confronts her lecturer after class about his disrespectful reaction to substandard work that she and her group members had submitted.

  • A woman confronts her man of his flirtatious behavior.

Illustration by Robert F. Balazik
Illustration by Robert F. Balazik

"With more than seven million copies of 30-odd titles in print, preacher turned leadership guru Maxwell is a one-man publishing empire. His latest follows the proven format—a series of short, friendly sermons filled with plainspoken common sense...." Reed Business Information

You may agree that these situations are quite realistic, and each of them can have varying outcomes based on what was outlined before. There are a few points about the nature of confronting someone that can be drawn from these examples. Confrontation can occur from a person of lesser authority to another of greater authority; for the purpose of helping another person and even to defend one's dignity.

Here's where it can all turn sour! These reasons where adapted from the book Winning With People by John C. Maxwell:

  • winning at all costs.
  • ignoring the matter.
  • complaining about the issue.
  • keeping score of wrongs.
  • using position of authority.
  • forgetting about it.

All of these will cause confrontation to be toxic, and the operative word is WILL, because it is inevitable that sooner or later the issues will surface. Why not make life easier by following a few helpful tips on having healthy confrontations? It is recommended that you confront a person only if you answer YES to ALL of the following guide questions:

  1. Do you care about that person? (or at least respect them?)

  2. Will you deal with the matter quickly?

  3. Will you listen to the other person to avoid an unnecessary quarrel?

  4. Will you encourage the other person to respond?

  5. Will you work towards a resolution with the person?

Improve your relationships, reduce your stress, be more agreeable and even be more confident with a healthy approach to confrontation.

"Treat a man as he appears to be, and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
German dramatist, novelist, poet, & scientist (1749 - 1832)


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    • theblackedition profile image

      Shane Brown-Daniels 7 years ago from Jamaica

      Awesome quote it is! You're right about that word - after all CON means you're quite clever Winsome.

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Great job BE! You'd think we'd have come up with a better word for it by now though--CON-frontation gives the idea of being against from the start. Maybe intervention or creative dialogue or improvement strategies? I have used that quote of Goethe's all my life--"see" the solution. Nice work.

    • theblackedition profile image

      Shane Brown-Daniels 7 years ago from Jamaica

      I love his books too! Very down to earth principles with real life examples. Thanks so much :)

    • wavegirl22 profile image

      Shari 7 years ago from New York, NY

      excellent ending quote .. and I am a huge fan of Maxwell's. All in all a great hub . .loved the graphic you chose!!! Big thumbs up!