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9 Tips for Dealing with a Non-Confrontational Partner

Here are 9 effective tips on what you can say and do to increase your success rate when dealing with someone who hates confrontation.

non confrontational partner

So what does it mean when someone says they have a non-confrontational person in their life? It simply means that this person would rather turn their back on a problem, than tackle it head on. He or she is also probably non-aggressive in nature and most likely on the quiet side. With that being said, there is no denying that there are plenty of introverts out there who are also non-confrontational.

Confronting someone is tough enough, and now you have to factor in the added drama of dealing with someone who would rather walk away than confront the problem. How do you go about quickly solving life and relationship problems, if your partner has a non-confrontational personality? There are no two ways about it. You have to resolve the issue at hand, and the only way to do so is to tweak your presentation and talking points, so that they align with this person’s personality.

Although my partner has no problems with confrontation, my brother is someone who tends to shy away from this. Hence from a very young age, I learned how to deal with someone who has confrontation issues. Not many people have the patience for this, but if you have someone in your life whom you care about very dearly, there is nothing you can do but be patient during a showdown.

How to deal with a partner who has a non-confrontational personality

If you do not know where to start, here are 9 helpful tips for you to keep in mind, the next time you have to sit down for a serious talk with a non-confrontational partner.

#1 One thing at a time. When dealing with a partner who has a non-confrontational personality, the best way to do so is to focus on one thing at a time. Do not inundate this person with more than one negative problem or issue at once, as it will send them scampering off in the other direction.

Give them the opportunity to work on one thing at a time before bringing something else up. Knowing that your partner hates confrontations, there is a very slim chance that you will be able to sort through everything in one sitting, so selecting the most important issue to tackle is definitely the clever thing to do.

#2 Prepare talking points. Make sure that you know what you are going to say. Not only will this kickstart the conversation, it will also set the tone. The last thing you want to worry about is having this person walk out on you out of sheer irritation, because you do not know what to say. Memorizing a script is impossible, so at the very least, prepare some talking points so that you know what to say and how to steer the conversation back to the topic at hand, if things go awry.

#3 Let them decide when. Let your partner decide on when they would like to have the conversation. You do not control their schedule, and hence do not know what they are facing at work, everyday stresses they have to deal with and so on.

Letting your partner choose when he or she would like to sit down with you for this serious discussion gives them a basic sense of control that they probably will not get during the upcoming conversation. If they end up procrastinating and are not able to promise you a fixed time or date, offer them several options and let them pick one.

#4 Pick a friendly place. Whether it is at your favorite café, in the comfort of your living room or at a park, pick the right setting. It is even better if you let your loved one decide. Try to steer them to select somewhere calm and quiet, where you can have a proper conversation. Of course, speaking at home is the best option as it gives you a sense of security and privacy that nowhere else can offer.

#5 Take the fight out of it. This is perhaps the most important tip that you should adhere to. Remember to treat the confrontation as a friendly and productive conversation, rather than a fight. Try your very best not to raise your voice. As difficult as it may be to stay calm, this is something that you have to get very good at, if you want to make any leeway at all. [Read: 23 dos and don’ts of a relationship argument]

#6 Do not place any blame. Stay away from any form of “he said, she said” shenanigans. Never play the blame game when dealing with someone who has a non-confrontational personality. This is a surefire way to send them right back into their shell.

Even if you are right, try your level best not to offend your partner or goad him or her into a fight. You will not win, as they will simply walk away and leave you shattered into a million angry pieces. As unfair and difficult as it is to walk on eggshells when confronting someone, these are the things that you have to do when dealing with someone who cannot function when confronted. [Read: How the words you use can make or break your relationship]

#7 Listen carefully. Once you have brought up the problem, the rule of thumb is to listen more and speak less. Hear what your loved one has to say, even if you have to coax it out of them. Remember to ask for their opinions and how they would like to solve the problem. Get them talking and take it from there.

#8 Be gentle but persistent. Keep in mind that you will probably digress a lot from the main topic when dealing with someone who does not like confrontation. They will try to avoid the issue, bring up other topics, confuse you with something else or sometimes even completely ignore what you said.

Be persistent, but remember to be gentle about it. Do not lose your temper when trying to get something out of them. Remember that people who have non-confrontational personalities avoid confrontations because they simply do not want to argue and upset themselves. If you can offer a calm environment to them, there is no reason why you will not get what you set out for. [Read: 10 important ways to love more and hurt less in a relationship]

#9 Patience is a virtue. Patience is very much needed during all forms of confrontations, and even more so when dealing with someone who hates being in that position. As difficult as it can be at times, remember to be supremely patient. Do not snap at your partner, do not mock them, do not raise your voice and try your best to keep sarcasm at a minimal. The more polite and patient you are, the more likely your confrontation will be a success.

Do not blame your non-confrontational partner for the lack of making any headway when dealing with issues. You play a very important role in this too. Instead of looking at confrontation as telling someone off for not doing things the “right” way, think of it as solving a problem together.

[Read: 8 ways to avoid the tension after a confrontation]

You can either make things better as a team or you can be frustrated at your non-confrontational partner and kick up a fuss alone. Obviously, the latter will get you nowhere. So no matter what, remember to be patient, calm and understanding and everything will eventually fall into place. 

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Gemma Hsieh
Born in Singapore and raised in Canada to multi-racial parents, Gemma is a self-proclaimed travel and food junkie. Having traveled extensively around the world,...
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