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How to Keep Your Friend Cool When Other Loses Theirs

Updated on March 18, 2017


Never ever send an angry email at work – you will always regret it! Never write in CAPITAL LETTERS or add emoticons.

Stay professional, allow yourself time to calm down and consider why you need to send the email – and if you can, ask another colleague to read it first.

Fiery Friends

If you thought you had left those friendship spats behind in the playground, think again. When she is snapping at your every word and has avoided your eye for a week, a row isn’t far behind

Head it off

Offer your friend love and support. You may be grown-ups, but those argument triggers have barely changed since you were at school. She is likely to be feeling judged, misunderstood, let down, or that she is had her toes stepped on.

Don’t be defensive – when negative energies collide, a row is certainly on the cards. Instead, offer your positive qualities, your compassion and understanding. Give her an outlet to discuss her feelings before she explodes by asking questions such as, “Is everything okay? Can I do anything?”.

Heat of the Moment

Try to separate the problem from the person. Ask what they need, what they want and what they think the solution may be, but don’t feel forced to comply in order to appease them – true friendship has boundaries. Make sure you let them save face. The purpose of a row is not to bully someone into your way of thinking, but to find a way forward where you both win.

In the Aftermath

Say sorry. Let go of your need to win or be right. True friendship thrives on giving those things that you wish to receive, and that includes understanding and forgiveness

How to Keep Your Cool When Other Loses Theirs
How to Keep Your Cool When Other Loses Theirs

Stroppy Spouses

Even in the most stable relationship, the odd row is a time – honoured way to vent frustration and clear the air. But if your partner sees red over something as simple as emptying the dishwasher, it’s time to stop and think before biting back.

Head it off

Don’t react without thinking. If an argument is brewing, there is a reason for it – and it may not be the thing that’s set him off. Remember the word HALT – hungry, Agitated, Lonely, Tired; chances are he’s flying off the handle because he’s one of the four.

If he’s taking a bad day at work out on you, give him the space to talk about what’s really going on. Ask him if something else is bothering him, and whether there is anything you can do to help.

Heat of the moment

Even if he is acting like a total swine, its best not to tell him – resorting to personal or spiteful remarks will only escalate the problem. Avoid statements like “You make me… You always.. You should….”, as they will only put him on the defensive. Instead, be reassuring “What’s up? Can I help to make it right?”.

In the Aftermath

When an argument is over, let it be over. That sometimes means not having the last word. Don’t drag up past arguments, either, instead, leave what’s in the past behind you, and always look to a brighter, more understanding future.

Teenagers arguing
Teenagers arguing

Time-Bomb Teens

If home life has become one long round of door slamming, foot stomping and “it’s not fair”, then you must have a teenager in the house. They are a cauldron of hormonal activity, and that, teamed with insecurities about their body, confusion over their sexual identity and a need to find their place in the world, sets them on a hair-trigger. And parents are first in the firing line.

Head it off

No matter how unreasonable or silly you think they are being, talk to them as if the situation is as real as it can be. Don’t patronize them by saying it’s just a stage (but know in your heart that’s exactly what it is)

Heat of the moment

If they are in full tantrum mode, stay calm and don’t buy into the drama – they may be lashing out because of another problem entirely. Tell them to go away and cool off, then sit down with them later to find out what’s going on. If they become rude and obnoxious, don’t take it personally, but do call them on it.

In the Aftermath

Teenagers learn best through experience and won’t thank you for trying to control them. Create a manifesto that you can both sign up to. If a curfew is an issue, ask them what they would do in a crisis, and whether they would call you, if a messy bedroom is your bugbear, try to get them to sign up to a monthly clean. Make the process as democratic as possible, set your boundaries and agree on suitable penalties for overstepping the mark.

Rules of a Good Row
Rules of a Good Row

5 Rules of a Good Row

Never be afraid to walk away

In the heat of the moment your emotions can cloud your ability to get your point across. Taking time out will give you the chance to calm down and make your point with greater clarity and awareness.

Accept you are not always right

Drop the ego and realize that your right may be someone else’s wrong.

Don’t call names

Never punish, humiliate or shame someone in an argument – you will never win that way.

Say Sorry

Never be afraid to apologies. But make sure your apology comes from the heart.

Put yourself in their shoes

Try to understand where they are coming from. They are as entitled to their opinion as you are.

Tips to Tame Your Temper
Tips to Tame Your Temper

5 Ways to Tame Your Temper

Count to ten

It may be old-fashioned, but it really does work. It stops you from reacting impulsively and will give you the space to calm down.

Learn to Breath

Most of us breathe incorrectly, activating anxiety responses in the brain and making us lash out when we are afraid. Practice breathing in for a count of four, then breathing out for a count of eight. Repeat ten times and do this every day, so your breathing will become more balanced.

Change your routine

Anger can be addictive – the hot hormones that are released make us feel powerful in our rage. Reshape your reality by making smell changes in your routine to train your brain to be more open, and less rigid and controlling.

Wake up!

If you can’t stop your snappiness, wear an elastic band on your wrist. When you feel your temper rising, snap the band. The shock will wake you up and reorientates yourself to a different perspective.

End the blame game

It’s not someone else’s fault you are angry. These are your feelings, so take responsibility for them. Remember, you do not win through anger – you just lose your grace, your dignity and your peace of mind.


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