A little while ago, I almost knocked somebody out for being stupid. I’m going to tell that story in a bit as it’s what triggered this post but first something else:
Peyton Quinn has some excellent advice on how to avoid fight (or to avoid getting beaten to a pulp; you’re not always going to win…) In a nutshell, he isolates a couple of practical tips that are easy to understand. He says that whenever you face somebody who is getting aggressive on you or there’s a potential for violence:
- Don’t insult him.
- Don’t challenge him or accept his challenge.
- Leave him a face-saving exit.
- Show (preferably non-verbally) that you know what they’re doing and give them no fear but a relaxed focus in return.
This is some of the best advice you’ll find out there but it’s also not always as easy to pull off. There are several reasons for this:
- Lack of experience. For the most part, people don’t have enough experience handling these kinds of situations. So they don’t know how to handle the adrenal stress, can’t come up with a good solution or get the timing wrong.
- The lizard brain takes over. You default to some primitive reactions, once again because you lack the experience to control them or perhaps because you don’t understand that another part of your brain is now in the driver’s seat. You think you’re thinking and acting rationally but reason and common sense already checked out and are only coming back once you calm down after it is all over.
- Ego takes over. How dare he challenge/insult/threaten you like that! You’re not gonna stand for that, you’re gonna give him a piece of your mind. At which point fists start flying… You have to want to de-escalate a hostile situation. If you’re spoiling for a fight, you’re bound to get one.
- It’s a bad day. Sometimes, Mr. Murphy comes along and you are faced with potential violence at the worst possible time: you’re tired, you’re sick, you weren’t paying attention, etc. For all sorts of reasons, you’re not on top of your game and fail to manage the situation correctly. Not because you don’t know how but because for some reason, other factors made it more difficult than on any other day. And that’s all it takes for things to go haywire.
We’re all only human and prone to make mistakes but if at all possible, you should always try to avoid getting into a fight. Simply because there is so little to gain and a lot to lose. Granted, sometimes you have no other option but to fight but in in the vast majority of situations, you can manage to avoid trouble when it comes your way. So it’s with that in mind that I’d like to add some additional practical tips to those Peyton already gave.
Here goes: [Read more…]