Tips for when someone yells at you
No one enjoys being yelled at by an angry person. The experience is threatening and can feel scary. The best way to respond without making things worse isn’t always obvious, and if you’re on the receiving end of someone’s verbal aggression, you might not know what to do.
Here’s how to diffuse the situation and cope. First, though, it might help to understand why people yell.
Why do people yell?
People get angry and yell for several reasons. Sometimes, they don’t know how else to express their sense of helplessness.
They might want control, be overwhelmed, or seek attention. When yelling is someone’s go-to method for dealing with challenges, they are unlikely to adopt a different tactic unless they must.
Kids who hear their parents raise their voices to gain attention often develop the same behavior.
When they are adults, unless someone shows them a different way to deal with challenges or attract attention, they continue to yell.
People may shout because they want to control someone’s behavior. They bellow to intimidate and get individuals to bend to their will.
Often, they’ve learned verbal aggression leads to desired outcomes, if only in the short-term.
Some people yell out of frustration. They might not have the language skills to express their emotions well.
They want to be understood, but don’t know how to tell people what they want or need.
Sometimes people shout because they are easily overwhelmed by challenges. They yell when they experience emotion-overload.
They might have a mental health condition, an alcohol problem, or just be highly sensitive and not have adequate coping skills.
How not to respond to someone who shouts
The worst way to react when someone yells at you is to join in and yell back. You might be tempted if you feel defensive or upset.
Yelling back, though, will escalate the situation. Take deep breaths and keep your cool. Remember your intention to be a port in the storm.
At times, you might think it’s best to comply with someone’s demands to make them stop shouting, but this isn’t the best option.
Submitting sends the message you will always react favorably when the individual yells, and they will repeat the behavior another time.
How to induce calm and cope
People who have lost control are irrational and can’t take in lots of details when you speak to them at the height of their anger. They will, however, notice your tone. Talk calmly using your everyday voice.
It’s important to let the person yelling know you won’t have a conversation while they shout. Tell them you want to listen to them, but not until they are calm. If you feel you are in danger, since the individual could become violent, go somewhere safe rather than hanging around.
It’s scary to be shouted at, but you can cope well if you stay unruffled. Use a calm tone of voice as you inform the person yelling you will have a conversation when they are composed and approachable.
They will learn you don’t respond to them when they raise their voice and they must stay calm if they want to talk to you.
References: Lifehack.org, Fortune.com, and Psychcentral.com.