Whether it’s someone confronting us over a personal or work issue, or the other way around confrontations can be awkward and generally unpleasant.
As introverts, our natural response is to try and avoid them altogether but that isn’t always a healthy solution. It can also result in the conflict escalating beyond its original premise. Fortunately, there are many sensible articles out there with advice on how to handle confrontations like a well-adjusted grownup. Here are some you might like to check out:
Introverts and Conflict by Introvert Spring
How to Successfully Deal with Conflict as an Introvert by Loner Wolf
Personally, I’m all for complete avoidance because I consider it a real skill. So here they are…
My top ten recommendations for avoiding confrontations like a boss.
Hide behind or under things.
If you’re at work I recommend the water cooler, that enormous fake plastic tree in the corner of the floor or under your own desk. Better yet, someone else’s desk. There is nothing more fun than a confused co-worker. If you’re outdoors, I personally recommend consulting The Dustin Hoffman Guide to Hiding.
Adopt a disguise.
Wigs and hats just won’t cut it. Go for full cosplay. I personally recommend Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Ghost the other party completely.
Not many people can handle being completely ignored. Sure it’s rude and immature, but hey, when needs must.
Recruit a trusted friend or co-worker to rush over and distract the person wanting to ‘have a word’ with you so they completely forget about what it was they wanted to say. Suggestions for distractions include “OMG have you seen the massive box of baked goods someone left in the break room?! Let’s go get some!” or “There’s a Keanu Reeves movie marathon on right now! I’ve got the popcorn, let’s do this!”
Scare the pants off your confronter.
Start a rumour that the last person who confronted you about something was Never. Seen. Again.
Triangulation occurs when you talk to a third party about an issue you’re having with someone instead of speaking directly to the person concerned. Take the triangulation concept to a whole new level – dodecahedronation. Tell twelve people that a particular person has a particular issue with the person you’d like to confront. Make sure one of the twelve mentions you and the issue you’re having with the person. The person you would like to confront will then hear about twelve different people each having a different beef with them. As you are only one of the twelve it will significantly reduce the odds of them coming to speak to you. Of course if they do approach you, deny all knowledge.
Put your head in the sand.
Literally. You won’t be able to hear a thing.
Keep a super hero cape with you at all times.
If the worst case scenario does happen and someone actually confronts you with “I’m upset about something you did and I need to talk to you about it”, whip out the cape, put it around their shoulders and say “Now you’re Super Upset!” You risk a punch in the face but no one could accuse you of not having a sense of humour.
Keep wrapped gifts in your desk.
If a colleague approaches you about an issue they have with you, hand them a beautifully wrapped present. They won’t know what to do.
Quit your job.
I mean, life’s too short to work with a**holes.