Blowing up!


Different people react differently in different situations. It might not be the situation itself, but it could be the person. Some people are very capable to rubbing people the wrong way and getting an uncontrolled reaction.

Recently, I was working in a local food establishment making some phone calls and updating myself on email activities. While I was working, two ‘gentlemen’ started to yell at each other. Various ‘descriptive’ words were used to quanlify the personality and level of intelligence of each person. The event escalated to the point where one person started to throw small objects at the other person and walked about. How often do you feel that you are ready to blow up on someone? How do you handle yourself in such situations? In the past, I have used a number of different strategies to avoid such a blow up.

Listen to hear, not reply: Listen so that you can get a full understanding of the other person. In many cases, the argument is occurring because one of the parties isn’t listening to the other. I have been involved in arguments that became colourful while the same point of view is being taken by all parties, just communicated differently.

Breath: Take a deep breath. By making yourself pause for that 3-5 seconds, you are able to recollect yourself and move forward in a mature manner.


Ask Questions to Understand: Not only ask questions, but paraphrase what is being said. At times, the person may not be saying what they are meaning.

Walk Away: Walking away is a sign of strength than weakness. Walking away shows that you understand to the point where you know that you have to remove yourself from the situation. Removing yourself from the situation will allow you to recollect yourself and review what just occurred.

In the end, the discussion between the two gentlemen was due to the fact that a burrito order was wrong. Is that something worth yelling and throwing objects at? Probably not but, in their defense, one of the individuals may be highly stressed due to a loss of a parent, their job, or their house.

What strategies do you use to calm yourself while in the heat of the moment?

Have an awesome week.


Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc ( L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for different groups and donates platelets at the Canadian Blood Services clinic on a bi-weekly basis.


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