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How to Deal with Aggressive and Abusive People?

Posted on April 15, 2010 at 4:37 PM

Especially in the Cyberspace, we go through many situations like this where we have to interact/discuss/debate with aggressive people who have no problem whatsoever in using the worst of manners in debate. So how to deal with such people? 

1) Whenever in debate, ALWAYS have your trust in Allah that you will win. So when you writing down your points, tell Allah (even though He knows) that you're doing it for His sake, so that He should help you in this. This confidence is so important because most of the time its just a debate on who's got the stronger mindset (psyche.) Since you have trust in Allah, confidence that you're on the truth, and since you expect reward from Him - then you should be strong and patient.


2) I always try to think of what the persons thinking, try to make myself a few steps ahead of them when i'm writing up my response.

3) If they swearing or being abusive, I try to treat them with some slight respect[especially if they treat you with respect], but i focus more on telling them that they're acting like a kid if they are acting like one - and that they should be more like an adult, (i say this in a mature way without being abusive, so they feel like they should actually not be abusive.)

4) If they swear too much, and don't benefit from that mature respect idea, then I just ignore them, and tell everyone else in the debate to ignore them aswell. I tell everyone clearly, infront of that persons face 'ignore the person, they're acting like a kid' - and since the person just wants attention anyway, by everyone ignoring them - they either shut up or they start to treat everyone with abit more respect.

However - if everyone else isn't on that same level of respect and they're all abusive, the best thing to do is just to leave them since you can't really benefit them while they're like that. But before leaving them, i usually leave a useful or reliable link behind incase someone from among them does feel like wanting to learn (but can't due to peer pressure.)

5) Don't play by his/her rules: An irrational response can throw people off guard and cool the situation. People probably expect you to react a certain way. A person can be angry or insulting for many reasons. Try to figure out what it is they expect you to do or what their intention was and react in a different way. Not reacting that way might stop them acting the way they were. Not playing can be done by not replying to the opponent directly, but instead to what you suspect is the underlying cause of what he says. However don't overdo it so it doesn't become "avoiding" the issue.

An example of not playing by the rules out of a different situation every guy probably has great fear for the question:

Wife: Do I look fat in these clothes?

Husband: I'm sorry if I didn't give you enough attention lately but you know I love you, right?

Chances are she'll smile and walk away.

6) Stay defensive: By this I mean rather then attacking this person's views simply acknowledge his right to have his view, and then go on to stating that you have a different view and invite him to attack your view. The reason for this is that attacking his views will probably enrage him/her even more.


Atheists says: God doesn't exist

Wrong answer: No you're wrong, he does exist and I'll show you why you're wrong!

Right answer: Well you're entitled to your beliefs, but I belief he does exist, could you show me why I'm wrong?

7) Reply with questions as much as possible: I believe you can make any point simply be asking questions. Although the technique is difficult and time-consuming, you protect yourself from aggression, and rather then convincing a person by defeating his logic, you allow him to make the logical conclusion on his own terms by leading him to it. this is especially so for logical flaws. Rather then exposing them, simply question them.

Example: rather then saying: "You're wrong that's a sweeping generalization!"

say: "Are you sure that if some have that characteristic that all have it then?"

8) Rationize your wins: Don't try to defeat every thing he says, try to agree with as much things as possible. When he says something that is right, tell him explicitly: "yes, that is true". When he says something that is wrong don't go into it unless it's important, stick to the main issue.


9) Use humor: When you attempt to diffuse a situation with humor, make sure it's not at your opponent's expense for that would probably fuel him even more. Instead use something that you think he'll be able to laugh with to (something off topic). It doesn't even have to be really witty, just something that shows you have good intentions. If the tension is strong people might even laugh at a lame joke since they will be relieved that the tension dropped a bit. Just remember nothing directed at your opponent or nothing that can be interpreter as provocation


10) Be Always proud of yourself: You got the honor of being Muslim and guided by Allah Azza Wa Jal, so don't lower yourself to their level where many filthy disgusting words are using, instead make yourself above that by showing them the best of manners that any Muslim should have.


11) Don't give up your coolness: Because even if you couldn't see its effect in public, they will feel ashamed of themselves that they were acting like kids and only insult. People who are participating in the same debate or discussion will start losing the interest in listening to kids' mumbling.


12) Remember also, that the above tips are not only for debating with non-Muslims, but also with some Muslims who oppose you in opinions.

Quoted from here with some additions and modifications


Categories: Tricks of The Trade

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