To Confront or Not to Confront?

To Confront or Not to Confront?


That is the question.   Do you confront the cranky coworker, annoying neighbor, overbearing boss…or just let it go?If you’re trying to decide whether confronting a current difficult situation makes sense or not, take a look at the three “reality check” questions below. This will come in handy both at work and at home.

Ask yourself:


1)     Is the other person’s behavior having a NEGATIVE effect?

If it’s just about you wanting to be “right” don’t do it.  But, if someone’s behavior is having a negative effect on you or others, it is worth saying something…and letting the person know specifically the negative impact of his or her behavior.


For example:

“When you interrupt I feel like you’re not interested in what I have to say”
“When you arrive late it throws off everyone else’s schedule.”
“When you miss the deadline, we turn in the report late and it makes us look unprofessional.”

2)     Will the situation begin to affect your ATTITUDE if not confronted?  

If your resentment is building and your attitude is growing sour it’s probably time to say something.  Even worse, letting the situation continue might also be affecting the attitudes of the people around you. 


3)      What are the CONSEQUENCES of NOT confronting?

Much like dirty dishes left sitting in the sink, confronting only gets “grungier” and more difficult as time passes.  The longer we put off the tedious task, the harder it will be to finally confront.  We are also more likely to have such a buildup of frustration and angst that we’ll explode and say the wrong thing.

In the words of educator/writer Dr. Peter Laurence:  “Speak in anger and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.”

Here are some phrases to use to get you started now.

“I would appreciate…”
“Would you be willing to…?”
“I need your help…”
“I’m concerned…”
“I would prefer that…

Check out 50 Phrases for All Occasions in the Resource Section of this website for more ideas on confronting constructively! 

And, remember…ask the three questions above to help you decide whether or not to address a situation in the first place!