Confrontation is not equal to expression. In fact, it can cripple one’s expression if it’s not properly channeled and especially when we are not fully prepared for retaliation or the facts we have at hand are baseless. Being too verbose and garrulous can make the object of our confrontation ambiguous and therefore make it lose its main thrust. Lack of full confidence despite having our full facts and other factors in place can mar a successful confrontation.

As much as the purpose of our confrontation belies the seeming harshness and hostility it seems to present, it is not to be directed at causing chaos or breach of internal relationship between family members, friends, workers and boss-employees relationship. It must not be engineered towards causing an imbroglio of even the slightest magnitude.

The peculiarity and sensitivity of each confrontation is dependent upon the context of both the aggrieved and the ‘aggrievee’. The way you confront your boss when something goes amiss and he or she seems to be feigning crass ignorance or wants to lord it over or feels he or she can’t be looked up in the face is different from the way you confront your friend.

As much as the object thereof maintains its nobility of purpose and credibility of unambiguity, it must not have an indelible footprint of emotional hangover let alone an infinitesimal trace of bitterness that can fan the ember of disunity among an organization or in a family setting. The tactics to deploy so as not to offend each other depends on an individual.

The aftermath of a confrontation must be at our purview and foresight. The mismanagement of it can plunge one’s cordial relationship painstakingly incubated over a precious and long period of time into an abyss of irreparableness, the consequences of which may be a tag of regret for a very long time.

Let us dissect four ways by which we can stage a confrontation.

  1. Verbal confrontation. This is the use of words to right a palpable wrong implicit in an operation or way of life that we are not favorably disposed to. Verbal confrontation avails one the opportunity to get an instant feedback. It is a method most people who are as bold as a lion like to use.

  2. Action-packed confrontation. Some of us are not confident to confront others face-to-face whether due to an undue fear or owing to a weak tendency to be bamboozled into capitulation by a well-prepared recipient to an extent that we lose sight of the trajectory while the person continues the alleged misdemeanor. So instead of talking, a suitable and appropriate action is deployed, well-conceived that one notices it easily. It may tend towards stopping doing some things as against the normal routine of having to do that thing and vice versa. This is in lieu of verbal confrontation, not the best method though.

  3. Confrontation by proxy. This is the use of a delegate to confront an individual when the person seems to be irrationally recalcitrant and irrefutably condescending particularly when the person is an high-powered individual. There’s possibility he or she will not listen to your rhetoric, so you choose to send the people whom you know he revers so highly and cannot but listen to them in order to foster a continued relationship. We shouldn’t forget the main reason for confronting others; to right the wrongs inherent while the relationship stands strong.

  4. Electronics. I’m culpable of being hoodwinked by the slightest excuse that I lose sight of my purpose. What I do is to adopt the instrumentality of text messages where I will be unequivocal and unprevaricative without being strident thereby not hurting the person but nailing at precision simultaneously. And thanks to the advent of many social networks that you can use to get across to the person in question. Your message sent and delivered. You focus on the thrust of your message without losing focus of your relationship with the person.

Having given an outline on the different machineries of a successful confrontation, let us examine the ways to confront the people that surround us, using the above mechanisms bearing in mind their peculiarity and sensitivity.

Our bosses

How do we confront our bosses? How do we talk to them as their employees? They must know we are not being arrogant and disrespectful. There are 75% bosses who have the traits of an obvious supercilious affectation of superiority that they seem unapproachable. 15% are approachable and revere human dignity so high while 10% dangle between being a serpent and a dove. Whichever category your boss falls, we must know which of the above mechanisms to use. The unapproachable ones can be made to become broken and repentant by e-mailing them devoid of crudity but with an undertone of total humility and subservience to his or her authority. We can also use proxy confrontation to tackle them. If it were an organization where his or her action adversely affects everybody, proxy confrontation will be appropriate. Study your boss and know which one to use. The approachable ones may be confronted verbally while those ones who dangle can also be verbally confronted if and when he or she seems to be in a good mood.

Our parents

We confront our parents in such a way as not to lose the pocket money accruing into our account while we are still answerable to them. Having lived with them for so long a time, we know how and when to talk with them with total humility possessive of one who is unworthy to correct them. The influence of parents-children relationship can be used to let our parents know where they have erred and to know the corrective measures to adopt. I agree with the fact that some of us lived apart from our parents right from time, so we might not know what they are doing wrong. But if we begin to cultivate an intimate relationship with them, forgetting what might have transpired between you in the past that caused the separation, we will know how to intervene in their lives. It’s right about time to give back to them whether they have given to you or not. The Scriptures teaches forgiveness and returning good for evil. There are some parents who are mean, harsh and are disconnected from their children, though under the same roof, and cannot be approached. Some are so concerned about making money that they forget about their children, proxy confrontation will do. Note one thing that it takes a sane and right-minded fellow to see where others have erred bearing it in mind that we also default at times. The same way we would like others to heed our corrective moves; we also must be malleable and receptive to others’ move of correction. Don’t think you can correct someone else if you cannot be corrected and are found culpable of the same inadequacy.

Our spouses

The most sensitive relationship one will ever cultivate is the one we cultivate with our partner via marriage. This person is from a different background totally. His or her ideals and philosophy about life in general will be different from the ones you hold dear to your heart. What you discountenance, the person considers and vice versa. You sleep early in the night, she sleeps late. People tell you that you don’t snore (because you cannot know by yourself) but you found out that this person whom you are going to live with for the rest of your life (for better for worse) snores. Oh my God! You exclaimed the first time you noticed. This person is allergic to anger and rage and not short of being recalcitrant. You don’t know yourself whether you are choleric, sanguine, melancholic and the rest (though these don’t really define who you are, personal opinion). She doesn’t worry about a thing and gives no damn about anything and this gives you concern as a man. The different things that define your divergent backgrounds are inexhaustible and for you to live happily ever after there must be a reconciliation and compromise point where you fuse things together. This is when you start correcting each other using the appropriate mechanism of confrontation highlighted earlier. There’s no way you wouldn’t step on each other’s toes but how you handle the pains the toes suffer will define your co-existence. By the time you step on each other’s toes many times, you will learn how to place your steps so as not to step on the toes and how the owner of the toes will place the toes to avoid being trampled upon. It means you now understand each other better to know how to adjust for the good of both of you and you are ready for compromise.

Our employees

If it were possible to run your business all alone, you would have done so I suppose. But unfortunately, you can’t run it alone, hence the reason for you to employ labor. And you will have it at the back of your mind that the operations of the employees are not ‘Eldorado’. They can only get better in the course of honing their skills everyday. They are prone and can be predisposed to human errors by our imperfection. In the face of a grave mistake from anyone of them, how do you confront him or her so that

  • He or she will not feel repudiated and humiliated?

  • He or she will not feel to be the worse among his or her colleagues and losing his or her sense of worth?

  • He or she will clearly see where the error had occurred with a view to rectifying it with a promise not to repeat the same mistake in the future?

  • And so that you will not be dispossessed of the goodwill and dignity you have been enjoying as a boss?

  • And ultimately that the growth of your business will not be impeded?

If you don’t take the first three into consideration, kindly consider the last two. But you can’t take the last two leaving out the first three because of their interdependence. The growth and the exponential development of any business is dependent or pivoted on the workforce. Whether your business will grow or not is a function of your relationship with your staff. If the bad ones are not reciprocating your good gestures, they can be retrenched so as to avoid a contagious syndrome.

Our friends and colleagues

I nearly inadvertently ended a relationship with a friend of mine due to an enraged fury sometimes back. He is my closest friend. We had planned to attend a seminar which would be of great benefit to us both in that it will open us to an endless world of possibilities. I had gotten to his house on the appointed day and I met him unprepared. I was furious. He said he was no longer interested. On hearing that statement I started uttering all kinds of foul languages and hurling them at him. I left his house and headed in another direction instead of towards the seminar venue. But something happened to me along the road, I felt uneasy. A pang of regret engulfed my heart. I’d said what I shouldn’t. I began to palpitate and perspire so profusely. I felt I needed to apologize to him immediately. In fact, I detested myself to have claimed being a child of God and uttering repudiating remarks against a fellow human being. Then I went to a phone booth and put a call through to him. I started apologizing to him and at the same time made him realize that he predisposed me to such an extreme rage. (Though it’s not an excuse). He accepted my apology and he also apologized to have disappointed me and till today, our friendship is still as solid as the rock. We are both inextricable and not mutually exclusive. We are all imbued with a pride of not caving in to our colleagues’ advice because we think he or she cannot know better than we do. But it’s a lie. The confrontation is to make you a better person and not to make you feel less than you are worth. Your colleagues reprimand you because they love you.

(f). Our siblings. Our siblings are another category and component part of our lives that need to be confronted constructively, correctively and out of love. Compassion doesn’t really exist here. I had to call my younger brother’s attention to a misdemeanor he was gradually involving himself in. He’d stopped it before but all of a sudden he reverted to it. Somebody reported him to me but he became enraged when I confronted him with a seemingly impeccable fact. He was actually angry at the person for reporting him. Another report came in to me and I couldn’t contain it this time around. I confronted him through a text message despite the fact that we live together. The content of the message pierced into the very core of his heart like a dagger that he couldn’t sleep. I threatened to indict him for failure of compliance with my warning. He was so troubled in his spirit that he replied me expressing his dismay. When we got together, ( I’d actually called him back immediately I saw his message to iron things out bordering on what actually made me send the message but he tactically didn’t admit it in his message). I still told him the same thing. I was elated that the message touched his heart and he became penitent. We disagreed but I prevailed and our relationship as biological brothers became more cemented and communicative.

An unjustifiable fracas is bound to play out but the person will definitely peruse it over and time again and he or she will heed correction. Remember one thing; confrontation is corrective in nature.

Author: Olajide Oluwafemi