If you have not come across confrontational people consider yourself lucky. Such people, it seems, live to have conflicts and argue about everything. There is a special personality trait that determines the likelihood of a person entering a dispute regardless of the objective reason.
The reasons for argumentativeness may be different. During certain periods, when experiencing troubles, when everything does not go well and stress is high, each of us can become aggressive. But this is a situational conflict. Another story is personality types for which argumentativeness is a stable characteristic that is completely independent of the circumstances.
There are several confrontational types. Having a general understanding of them, we can develop a strategy that will save us when interacting with them.
Demonstrative type – “Look at me!”
Such a person is always in the spotlight. Always. Completely. The demonstrative type attentively observes what others think of them, how they appear in the eyes of others. At any cost, they need to be on top. If for this it will be necessary to push you farther away, they will push and not hesitate. Conflict situations ignite them. They often become active participants and shine brightly in the arena. High emotionality also adds fuel to the fire, because first there is a reaction and thinking comes much later – if it comes at all.
How to interact with this type?
Keep a couple of compliments ready, listen to them, try to find something to admire about them. If the situation requires you to negotiate something with a demonstrative person, it is better not to argue head-on, but to do it as if they proposed something, and you agreed.
Eleanore is a bright woman of Balzac’s age, she is an accountant. She is conflict-oriented and argues loudly trying to persuade people to be on her side. No one can find a common language with her, except for Renee from the sales department. Everyone is perplexed: how is this even possible? And Renee just comes in and starts a dialogue by asking where Eleanore did such a beautiful manicure or asks for advice on some trivial matter. After that, Eleanore calms down and glows with friendliness.
Rigid type – “My way or the highway” and “What did you mean when you looked at me like that?”
This type tends to get stuck and is very inflexible. They value themselves highly and can be acutely offended if someone does not agree with them. Change is perceived by them as hard and difficult. Being conservative allows them to feel on solid ground. They are straightforward and forthcoming but their “truth” seems to them the only possible one. They are suspicious. If you have a fight with them, it is very difficult to make peace. They remember the grievances for a long time, and it does not matter whether they are real or made up.
How to interact?
Appeal to facts, without any “nonsense” such as emotions and opinions. Stereotypes are great, innovation is not. In personal interaction, take care of your emotional well-being and do not try to prove anything – it is a waste of time.
Neha is a librarian at the school. All teachers know her touchiness and corrosiveness. Once she was invited to a birthday party an hour later than the others. Because of this, she has put everyone in the category of shameless people with whom you cannot interact. Neha is very knowledgeable. She has no equal in organizing quizzes for schoolchildren, but it is better to communicate with her only at work.
Ultra-precise type – “What if?”
These “anxious people” are always worried about whether they correspond to someone else’s idea of themselves, whether they are liked or talked about behind their backs. They can make assumptions about people’s intentions and wind themselves up to the extreme. Ultra-precise people worry a lot, often feel guilty, and try to do everything perfectly.
When Karen works in a team, it leads to stress both for her and … for everyone else, because Karen is trying to out-do everyone and double-check everyone’s work. Situations of work conflicts cause a lot of stress for her.
How to interact?
The main thing is not to press. Persuade gently, show benefits, use psychological pleasantries (praise, compliment).
Unmanageable type – “I do as I please”.
Impulsive, explosive type, prone to falling into a rage. It is impossible to predict their behavior. They can ignore the norms accepted in society. The inconsistency of their behavior can be shocking.
Sean is a big boss. Nobody knows how he will be today – he will smile and hum or start yelling at everyone. Every morning, all employees are holding their breath listening to his footsteps in the corridor, trying to understand what awaits them today…
How to interact?
It is better not to interact, but if you have to – do not go into “their” territory. It is better not to give off an aggressive reaction so that the conflict does not escalate.
Conflict-avoidant type – “I am not here, do not notice me.”
Yes, the conflict-avoidant type is also a confrontational personality type, even if it sounds odd.
They rarely argue, try to “catch the direction of the wind”, to agree with the majority, and provide themselves with psychological comfort.
How to interact?
Appeal to the opinion of the majority and cite authorities. If you show the desire to come to a compromise and agree, there will be no problems.
If the conflict is managed – and knowledge of the personality traits of the interlocutor greatly helps in this – it ceases to be destructive and it is quite possible to direct it into a peaceful channel. And this is exactly what we need!