How To Calm An Angry Person

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014

Christmas can be a wonderful time but for others it’s very stressful and tempers can easily flare.  Here’s some great advice from Wiki How.

Calming an angry person requires a lot of patience. When someone’s feeling heated up, hearing the words “calm down” usually just makes matters worse. Being a good listener and offering some good distractions can both help. However, when someone’s anger is explosive or unpredictable, walk away instead of attempting to use reason.


Method 1 of 3: Hearing the Person Out

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    Don’t say “calm down.” If you want to see an angry person get even madder, tell him or her to calm down. These seemingly innocuous words have the power to make a mildly angry person positively hostile. No matter how tempting it might be to say “calm down” or “chill out,” bite your tongue until the person is no longer ranting and raving.

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    Let the person vent.Whatever it is that’s making your friend or family member so angry, blowing off some steam will probably help. Give the person a chance to rant for a bit to explain what’s going on. Instead of saying “calm down,” say “tell me what happened.” Just stating the problem out loud instead of keeping it all bottled up might be enough to calm the person down.

    • However, if you’re the reason the person is mad, you might not want to let him or her vent to you. Don’t let the person scream at you, even if you did something wrong.
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    Use good listening techniques. When people are feeling emotional they want to know someone else understands. Really listen to the person talk. Look him or her in the eye, nod when appropriate, and ask questions to find out more. The act of conversing and feeling heard could help the person calm down.

    • Of course, sometimes angry people don’t want to be asked questions, and they might feel so angry they don’t believe anyone can really understand. All you can do is try your best; if the person isn’t in the mood for a heart-to-heart, don’t force it.
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    Try not to be judgmental. Everyone gets angry from time to time. Sometimes it’s for a rational reason, and sometimes it’s not. Maybe the person is acting angry but is actually embarrassed or sad about something. Whatever the reason, just hear the person out and reserve your judgement for when the situation has cooled down.

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    Don’t get worked up.When someone else is at a boiling point, getting equally angry is only going to make matters worse. Focus on staying calm yourself, or else the situation might quickly spiral into an argument. This is not to say you should act completely unemotional, but try not to let your own feelings get too heated.

    • Even if you have a reason to be mad, too, it’s better to wait until later to state your point of view. If you try to make a point in the heat of the moment, the situation could escalate and get worse before it gets better.
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    Try not to get defensive. When someone’s so mad they can barely speak in a level tone, it’s easy to absorb that negativity and feel defensive. When you’re hearing someone out, realize it’s not about you (unless it is, which is a different matter). Separate the person’s emotions from your own so you can be there for the person without feeling the anger is directed toward you.

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    Apologize if you were in the wrong.If you did something to anger the person, maybe what they need is a heartfelt apology. Reflect on the situation to see if you did something wrong, and if you did, say you’re sorry. Sometimes that’s all a person needs to hear to feel better about what happened.

    • If you don’t feel you were in the wrong, however, then don’t apologize just to calm the person down. There’s no need to debase yourself if someone accuses you of doing something you didn’t do.
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    Don’t force the person to talk. Some people are talkers, and some people prefer not to express their emotions that way. If the idea of talking it out just seems to make the person madder, give it a rest. You can’t force someone to calm down. Just let it be known that you’re open to talking if the person changes his or her mind.

Method 2 of 3: Having a Calming Influence

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    Match the person’s volume, then tone it down.This is a technique you can use to calm someone down without the person realizing that’s what you’re trying to do. Start talking at the same volume as the angry person, then gradually get quieter until you’re talking in a normal tone of voice. The other person will naturally follow your lead.

    • For example, if the person is yelling, “I can’t stand it when you do that!” Yell back, “I hear what you’re saying!” Then ramp it down and explain yourself in a normal tone of voice.
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    Don’t provoke the person into feeling worse.The feeling of being angry can make a person start feeling guilty or embarrassed. Make sure you don’t unwittingly cause these negative feelings to grow worse when you’re dealing with an angry person.

    • Rolling your eyes, belittling the person, or saying “not again” could all make the situation worse, and cause the person to get even madder.
    • Instead, try to be kind and caring, showing the person that being angry isn’t the end of the world.
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    See if you can help the person make things better.If the source of the anger is related to a solvable problem, maybe you can help. If the person is capable of listening to reason, offer solutions and help to lay out a plan that will correct the situation.

    • In some cases, an angry person can’t be reasoned with in this way. Assess the situation and determine whether you should wait until the person has calmed down enough to listen to positive reasoning.
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    Lighten the situation with humor. This technique can either work really well or completely backfire. It’s best to use humor only with angry people you know well, so you can predict the response they’ll have. If you’re fighting with your boyfriend and you know he always starts to feel better when you get him to laugh, tell a totally corny joke to lighten things up. But if you’re dealing with someone who’s more likely to yell louder, don’t attempt to use humor.

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    Distract the person.Maybe changing the subject or doing an unrelated activity will help the person simmer down. Find a gap in the conversation and use it to start talking about something completely different. This works especially well when the person is pretty much talked out and you think he or she is ready to move on.

    • Another good way to distract someone is to put on some of his or her favorite music. Just say “I’m going to put on some music now, I think it will help us feel better.” Start playing the music and see if it helps.
    • If the person is willing to try an activity, it can help to do something physical, like going for a walk or bike ride.
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    See if a hug will help. Some people respond very positively to physical touch in heated situations. Try giving the person a hug, a back massage, or a head rub to help his or her body feel less tense and worked up. However, if the person is prone to lashing out, you might not want to touch him or her right away.

Method 3 of 3: Knowing When to Back Off

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    See if you should back off and give the person alone time.Some people just need time to calm themselves down. No matter what you do or say, you won’t be able to reach a person who’s so worked up that he or she won’t listen to reason. If this is the case, tell the person “I’m going to give you some alone time. Let me know if you need me.” Give the person as much time as he or she needs to cool off.

    • This might be a good idea if you’re afraid that the person’s anger is going to escalate into a heated argument. Taking some time to think separately might be better than going head to head.
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    Don’t put up with verbal abuse.If the angry person has gotten out of control and is taking it all out on you, you don’t have to put up with that. In fact, there’s nothing you can say to help, and it’s better to leave the situation before you end up getting hurt. Tell the person you’re leaving and that you’re not coming back until he or she has calmed down.

    • Even if you were in the wrong, you don’t deserve to be the subject of extreme rage. Leave the situation until you can both have a calm conversation about it.
    • If the person routinely turns verbally abusive while angry, he or she has an anger management problem. If you’re in a close relationship with the person you might want to suggest that he or she pursue therapy to deal with the issue since it’s hurting both of you.
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    Get to safety if the situation turns violent.If you’re dealing with a person who has anger management problems and you fear for your safety, leave right away and get to a safe place. Domestic abuse is an ongoing cycle, and if abuse happens once it’s likely to happen again. It’s very important for you to get help to protect yourself and your family.

  4. .Here are the signs that the situation might be abusive:
    • You feel afraid of making the person angry
    • The person humiliates you, criticizes you or puts you down
    • The person has a violent and unpredictable temper
    • The person blames you for his or her abusive behavior
    • The person threatens to hurt you