How to Calm Someone Down When They’re Angry

June 17, 2019 • Rehack Team


You never know how a conversation will go when the subject at hand gets touchy. Sometimes people can take things personally or get upset, and the conversation will escalate. That’s why it’s helpful to know how to calm someone down.

It’s tempting to get angry with them, since that’s a natural reaction, but it will only make things worse. The smartest thing you can do when you’re in a situation with an angry person is to calm them down.

Don’t try asking them to calm down, because that never works. You’ll have to use real techniques to gain some control over the situation.

Read on to find out what these techniques are and how to calm someone down when they’ve been riled up. It could help you get out of sticky situations in the near future and even prevent them once you notice a conversation escalating.

1. Let Go of Your Ego

The first thing you’ll always want to do in an argument is to let go of your own ego. That’s what initially causes people to take offense when an angry person says things they wouldn’t normally say if they weren’t angry.

Take a moment to breathe deeply and remind yourself that it’s okay to let their words go. You’re being the bigger person and you’ll ultimately help solve the problem at hand. If the other person says things that are truly offensive, you’ll be able to talk it out and get an apology once they’ve calmed down.

2. Stay in the Present

One of the most common arguing techniques people use is bringing up the past. Past hurts can stick around for a long time, so it’s easy to use them to continue hurting the other person.

Don’t fall for this. If the other person brings up the past, make an effort to stay in the present. Tell them that you hear them, but you can talk about that later and solve the problem at hand now.

3. Ask the Right Questions

No matter what your argument is about, the root of the other person’s anger probably isn’t directly related to it. Instead, there’s more likely a different problem altogether that they haven’t mentioned.

That’s why it’s important to ask the right questions. Start by asking if there’s anything you can do to help. The kindness will put their emotions on pause and you may be able to gain some neutral ground.

4. Think About Your Actions

Consider what triggered this argument. Could you have done something to spark it without intending to?

One of the most common ways people get angry is by having their personal space invaded. You might have gone in their room when they weren’t there or touched them in a way they didn’t appreciate. Apologize for this invasion if you think it may have happened, as it could drop their guard down completely.

5. Watch and Listen

If you’re able to get someone to open up about why they’re angry, it won’t be enough to just nod your head along with what they’re saying. They’ll want to know you’re really listening, which is why it’s important to open your eyes as well as your ears.

Listen while they talk and watch their body language. Point their fingers, standing close to you or using lots of angry hand gestures will indicate a different level of emotion than if they have their face in their hands, play with their fingernails or leave their arms uncrossed.

By taking in what they say and how they say it, you’ll be able to better understand where their heart and mind are at and how to help them.

6. Make an Apology

Want to really know how to calm someone down? Tell them you’re sorry.

Oftentimes what angry people want is a simple ,heartfelt apology. Even if you don’t think what you did or said was wrong, it could be the best way to help them calm down without them even realizing it.

Make an apology and be the bigger person. The other person will immediately put their anger on hold, or at least consider calming their spirit a little. That might be all you need to get behind the wall they’ve put up and connect with them again.

7. Validate Their Feelings

Imagine you’re arguing with someone who’s been hurt by a comment you made about their new hairstyle. It may have been meant as a tiny comment or joke on your part, but it could mean much more to them.

Listen to why the other person is angry and validate their feelings. Say the phrases like:

  • I understand how you feel.
  • I don’t understand, but that doesn’t mean your feelings aren’t valid.
  • Thank you for telling me, and I’m sorry you’re hurting like that.

Even if you really can’t understand how the other person is hurting, it will make them feel better to know that you’re trying. That comment about their hairstyle might remind them of how they were bullied as a kid for their old hairstyle, which you might not have even known happened.

Angry people want to be understood more than anything. Validation will get them to come to the table and know that their concerns are being held equal with your own.

8. Leave If Necessary

Some people can have a real problem with their anger. Their emotions could be sent through the roof by the tiniest trigger, and they might not be able to be calmed down sometimes.

It’s important to know that if you’ve tried to deescalate the situation and it hasn’t worked, the smartest thing might be to leave the room.

That isn’t the same as storming out of an argument. The difference is that if you need to leave, you have to tell that person that you can talk about the subject later when you’ve both cooled down. Even if they disagree with you leaving, they’ll know that you’re going to address the issue later and not try to forget about it.

Cap Your Emotions

To do any of these techniques, you’re going to have to learn how to cap your emotions. None of these techniques will actually work if you’re just as angry as the person you’re arguing with.

Learning how to calm someone down isn’t easy, because it takes some practice and the techniques you need to use will be different with each situation. Remember the tools you have at hand and you’ll be able to calm anyone down during a tense situation.