How to confront someone

Some things just can’t be avoided and confrontation is one of them. But having a tiff isn’t necessarily the first step towards a full blown argument. Honestly, it’s the sign of a healthy relationship to work through your issues instead of bottling them up. The Mix explains how to confront someone without losing them as a friend.

Two young people are standing in front of a brick wall. They are looking up how to confront someone. This is a wide-angle image.

Don’t bottle things up

Rule No.1 for How to confront someone : ACTUALLY confront them.

Sometimes it’s easier to seethe in silence when someone does something to wind you up, but that doesn’t make the issue go away. If anything, suppressing your feelings like this just makes the problem seem worse in the long run. It means you risk a situation where your mate steps just slightly out of line and you explode right in front of them – which’ll just make things worse. A confrontation doesn’t have to be the point where this happens, by tackling the problem early you’re being proactive in protecting your long term friendship.

Choose your moment to confront them

Whether your friend’s just being annoying without realising it or they’ve done something terrible that’s totally wound you up, it’s always wise to pick a good time to talk – preferably when you’re feeling calm and there’s nobody else around to chip in or stir the pot for their own amusement. You might have to be patient and wait a day or two if you’re both busy or the opportunity doesn’t present itself, so try not to blow your lid in the meantime. 

Those couple of days can honestly be a blessing in disguise. Confrontation isn’t just a plaster for a real issue, it should be the antidote. Waiting a little bit helps to give you a chance to figure out how to confront someone without getting angry in the process. Don’t stack the odds against you when you confront your friend. This includes avoiding alcohol or anything else that can alter your mood before you meet up. To find out why this advice is essential, read our article on what alcohol does to your brain here.

Explain how you feel

Your aim here is to encourage this person to see things from your point of view. If your mate can see the upset they’ve caused for themselves, they’ll be more likely to change their behaviour towards you. Stay calm and pick your words carefully to avoid adding fuel to the fire. If you don’t think you’ll be able to keep calm, consider waiting a little longer before confronting them to allow for the best opportunity to smooth things over.

Avoid accusations

Nobody likes to feel as if they’re being attacked, or that somehow they have to defend their actions, so don’t lay into them. It’ll only risk things blowing up and taking a turn for the worse. Focus on explaining how you’re feeling rather than assigning blame.

Give them space

In the guide of How to Confront someone, this is probably the hardest one but you can’t expect them to change their behaviour straight away. You’re probably both feeling a bit self-conscious after getting things out in the open. Instead, give them some time and space to process the problem and act upon it. It might be awkward for a few days whilst they reassess things, but if they value your friendship you should see a marked change in their behaviour. 

If you end up having a full-blown argument, read our article on friends arguing to find out how to solve it.

Next Steps

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 16-Oct-2021