We’ve all done it – said “just calm down” to another person in a situation of conflict. And I’m willing to bet it’s NEVER worked. Truth be told, saying “relax” or “calm down” (or even “take a chill pill”) is more likely to intensify or prolong the anger and exasperation. These phrases don’t bring stress levels down; instead they are virtually guaranteed to trigger further hostility and escalate the state of affairs. While your intention may have been honorable, the outcome is rarely successful. Inadvertent perhaps, but these types of statements only imply that the other person is unable to control themselves; and even though you may not have meant to, it feels to them like they are being treated like children. Ergo, the sure-fire negative reaction.
So what should you say? Continue reading