To Confront Others Or Not To? When Is It Good To And When It Does More Damage

You hear things being said about you behind your back. Things that are a hundred percent not true and hundred percent demeaning. You also happen to know where the gossip is coming from. Should you confront the person or not? 

Different things run through your head. Disbelief. Disgust. Anger. You cannot be blamed if you just want to go scream at that person. Ask yourself what’s up. Understand why that person is doing that to you. Will speaking to that person help? Will you be able to get some sense out of them? Or maybe getting some sort of reaction from you is what that person is aiming for. So will it be best just to ignore that person? Should you just let it go and let the gossip die its natural death? 

More than just gossiping, there are so many ways other people can hurt or can have a conflict with us. To confront others or not to? When is it good to confront the person and when is it best just to let it go?


Why Confrontation is Good?

One fact of life is simple. Conflict with others is inevitable. Whatever the root of such disagreement, brooding on it or purposefully using conflict avoidance strategies such as people-pleasing, won’t help to end the dispute. Confrontation in many instances when done well can significantly improve your relationship with other people.

We often equate the word “confrontation” with negative words like attack, provoke, and fight when in fact Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “To face especially in challenge,” and “to cause to meet: bring face-to-face.” So to confront really means to “face the situation and person with facts.” 

Confrontation can clear miscommunications, and correct misunderstandings by allowing you to explain your thoughts and feelings to each other. While being non-confrontational makes you miss out on important opportunities to give feedback or to be as transparent as you can be. It is through these things that people can grow deeper and more meaningful relationships where problems are discussed and solved. 

When we fail to confront other people about how we feel we can experience anxiety, irritation, and frustration. All that emotion you have bottled up can manifest in your body and cause headaches, body aches, shoulder pain, stomach ache, and even high blood pressure.

When we fail to tell other people, especially a subordinate about things they should correct, then work becomes less productive. When we fail to confront our spouse about how we feel or about needs not being met then we can end up unhappy in our relationship. 

Parents who do not confront their children about misbehaviors can create spoiled undisciplined individuals who will later suffer because of their own misgivings.


When Confrontation Creates More Damage?

There are instances when confrontation can create more damage. When confrontation causes more hurt and creates bigger problems instead of resolving them. It is also not too effective to confront someone known to have toxic behavior or a personality disorder such as narcissism

Confrontation in the heat of the moment

It is when we do the confrontation in the heat of the moment and want to avenge rather than resolve that we can create more damage.

When we are still very angry we tend to begin the confrontation with judgments or inferences, like, “You’re a liar! ” or “Since you don’t care…..” The conversation now begins with even more hurtful words. Sometimes we even end up enumerating all the faults or errors we have seen. 

When We Want to Change the Person

In a confrontation, where we readily make assumptions about the other’s motives or thoughts and want to change them we can expect nothing but a defensive response. More often than not we can also expect the same attitude from the other person because let’s face it nobody likes being told of their faults.

And more often than not you simply can not change a person in an instant. Remember that no matter how keen, sensitive, empathic, or brilliantly analytical we are, we cannot understand what another person is thinking. 

Remember that you should not confront another person with the goal of changing the other person. Sometimes you confront at least to speak your mind or clear the air. Even to do some bargaining where both parties can somehow meet in the middle.

When We Always Confront?

While confrontation is occasionally required, being persistently confrontational is neither healthy nor liked by other people. In fact, this kind of person is avoided. Most people shy away from conflict thus avoiding confrontation. But when you are the type of person who makes it a habit to always confront other people even when it is not warranted then expect trouble.

There are things you just have to let go of. Let’s face it, not all things you want to complain about are valid. For example, you were expecting to win a competition but did not. You cannot just confront the judges. In the same way, you cannot always confront any person every time you think they did not do right in your eyes.

Confronting the Right Way

There are a lot of things that could go wrong during a confrontation. You will not always be able to get the reaction you are expecting to have no matter how good your intentions are so you need to be prepared mentally and emotionally.

And more than that are a couple of things to remember:

  1. Know your intentions – Although you can not say for certain what the other person is thinking at least you know that at your end your intentions are right and your reason for confronting is valid. 
  1. Don’t let it be a surprise confrontation – Don’t just confront the other person out of nowhere, especially when there’s something else they should be doing or when they are with other people or in public. Ideally, you can reach out to them in advance and set a time and place where both of you can be comfortable.
  1. Be prepared about what you will say – Although you should focus on being able to say all that you need to tell the person instead of focusing on what their reaction is going to be, you still need to choose the right words. Be respectful. Be honest and straightforward. Never bring up previous incidents not relevant to the issue at hand.

Knowing when to and when not to confront somebody can be a tough decision. But it is something that you have to do for yourself so you can set healthy boundaries as to how others can treat you. And who knows that by letting them know how you feel you will also be able to see things from their point of view and it may not be as bad as you think.

When done right, confrontation can even strengthen relationships, make you feel stronger emotionally, and get you to know who is meant to stay in your life.