Tips on how to deal with aggressive people

We all get frustrated by the pressures of life but some people, it seems, are angry all the time. So how can we deal with other people’s anger without getting into conflict ourselves?  In this article you can find tips on how to reduce the likelihood of becoming the subject of aggression and information about violent behaviour in general. Start your anger management journey today.


The 3 types of behaviour

In any interaction with another, there are three types of behaviour used – submissive, aggressive or assertive – some characteristics of which are listed below.



  • Acting in an apologetic or frightened manner
  • Not standing up for your rights
  • Not expressing your views
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Using cringing body language
  • Using ‘umm’ and ‘er’ too much in conversation



  • Putting others down
  • Using sarcasm
  • Interrupting rudely
  • Being threatening or abusing
  • Using ‘you should’ and ‘you ought’ in conversation



  • Looking assured, caring and understanding
  • Using good listening skills
  • Keeping direct, but not constant, eye contact
  • Using a firm and relaxed voice
  • Using empathetic phrases and not being judgmental
  • Using ‘I’ statements


Assertive communication

  • Be clear, about what you want, what you want to say, your purpose
  • Be precise, use short clear sentences
  • Be specific, address the aggression before other issues
  • Be positive, in word and action, if you don’t know – find out
  • Be confident, in your skills, in your ability to communicate

Clearly, while it is being suggested that you behave and communicate in an assertive way, if this is not your usual habit, you may not find it easy to do, especially in a frightening situation. If this is the case, it is suggested that you practice behaving assertively in your daily life, with people that you know well, and in situations that are not too difficult or threatening. Once you have become proficient at behaving this way, it will be easier when you are faced with aggression.


Advantages of being assertive

  • Improves relationships at work
  • Gives you greater self-confidence and confidence in others
  • Helps you increase your own self-control
  • Leads to win/win situations

It is important to minimise feelings of frustration being experienced by someone you are interacting with at your work. Remember that frustration is likely to be caused by them not getting something they want, and although they may still not be able to have whatever it is, using the tactics below will help.


Minimising frustration

  • Explain clearly and check that they understand
  • Don’t make false promises, they will appreciate honesty
  • Know your job and your limits
  • Listen well
  • Don’t patronise
  • Try to prevent an audience
  • Give them information. If you can’t, explain why and when you will be able to.

There are also many ways in which you can actively indicate to someone else that you are not aggressive or intending to be, and this is likely to have the effect of reducing their own aggression and feelings of aggression.


Non-aggressive behaviour

  • Breathing deeply and slowly
  • Maintaining a relaxed posture and relaxed muscles
  • Using open hand language
  • Perhaps sitting down, unless violence is imminent
  • If standing, stand at an angle of 45 degrees, this is safer and less confrontational
  • Listen actively
  • Keep your voice low and calm
  • Empathise
  • Keep appropriate eye contact
  • Ask if they mind you making notes
  • There are many other ways of defusing tense situations. If you would like to see further suggestions then download and read the eBook “Cool It! – Anger Management & Conflict Resolution” write to us