One of the hardest things to handle is when you feel ganged up upon. Whether someone criticizes you in their home or office, if an authority figure berates you or even when there are two or more people against one, it’s easy to default into defensiveness without a second thought, often fueling potential conflict. I remember when two girls at work ganged up on me years ago over office politics… I didn’t handle it too well and I recall being so angry after the exchange, not just at them but at myself for not handling it better.
To avoid a roller-coaster effect should this happen to you it’s important to remember the basic principles of assertiveness:
- State the facts: I asked Sophie if the meeting was still going ahead, I didn’t say anything else.
- State your feelings: I feel angry that you are accusing me of saying something I didn’t.
- State your thoughts: I think it is inappropriate for you to outnumber me and discuss an issue which is strictly between Sophie and I.
- State what you desire: In future I would appreciate it if Sophie approached me directly with regards to any future issues.
Then, if they persist and become aggressive, leave the conversation by finally saying ‘I am not prepared to discuss this with you until you moderate your tone and interact with me respectfully’.
Do you find it especially difficult to assert yourself in a group setting? Have you ever felt ganged up upon and if so how did you react? How would you have liked to react to past experiences when you felt ganged up upon? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.