No one wants to imagine themselves in a dangerous situation, especially if it’s preventable. However, there are many circumstances where a simple dispute escalates into a violent argument.
It puts you in a predicament where you may have to either de-escalate the argument or resort to self-defense to protect yourself. Luckily, there are a few ways to reduce the tension before resorting to any violence.
Know the signs
It’s critical to know the potential signs of escalation during an argument before dealing with any conflict. Some of those signs include:
- Clenching fists
- A sudden change in body language
- Change in eye contact
- Disruptive behaviors like yelling, bullying and defying rules
Spotting these signs makes it easier for you to respond quickly and effectively.
Control your response
Many people channel their anger during intense arguments. However, you must compose yourself and calm yourself down before you try to deal with the other person. If you decide to fight fire with fire, it will only end with burns for both parties. You can also try to control your mannerisms to seem less threatening or aggressive. Try limiting eye contact and maintain a neutral facial expression.
Listen to the person
When our emotions blind our rationality, it’s easy to forget that you are dealing with another person. Try to hear them out as much as you can. You can show empathy and even acknowledge their emotions. Sometimes, you can use questions to help them talk through their feelings and de-escalate the tension faster. It won’t always work, but it’s an essential step for most disputes.
Be aware of your surroundings
If the person doesn’t listen to you, you may need to reevaluate your surroundings. Are there other people in the area? Are there objects that the person could use as a weapon nearby? Are there exits or openings you can use to escape? Is there a way to trap the person away from you? There are ways to use your environment to your advantage.
If you cannot de-escalate the situation, consider calling for help or defending yourself. No one wants to resort to physical violence, but it’s important to protect your life first. If you are concerned about the possibility of arrest or assault charges, there are multiple defenses, including self-defense, that may help your cause.