There is no denying these are especially challenging times. COVID-19 is affecting people from all walks of life across the globe. Folks who are either lucky enough to not be personally impacted or are able to adapt quickly to negative events are perhaps not suffering, but it's likely they know people who have been harmed by this pandemic through compromised health, loss of loved ones or loss of livelihood.
With people under more stress than usual, tempers can flare when they otherwise would not. And sometimes anger might be directed straight at you or someone near you by co-workers, customers, family members, neighbors—even total strangers.
When it comes to angry strangers — for example, a patron at a retailer who refuses to wear a mask and spits on the employee charged with addressing the situation — I believe it's best to leave the vicinity. Attempting to intervene could escalate the situation, and you could become the target of someone's rage. Get to a safe place and phone 911 if the incident looks dangerous.
Luckily, most of us are unlikely to face such a situation. The upsets you face might be more numerous than usual, but you can generally handle them the same way you've handled similar situations in the past. Certain steps can be taken whether you're dealing with co-workers, customers, friends or family. Here are my suggestions:
As Linda Larsen, a motivational speaker and author said, anger is a normal, healthy emotion. "Sometimes, people can allow their anger to cloud their judgment and negatively impact their behaviors," she wrote in Speaking of Women's Health. "Remember: when the other person is angry and upset and you are calm, then you are in control of the situation."
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