You're late, again, for a date with your girlfriend. When you show up, her tense jaw and squinting eyes make it clear that she's mad. Before you open your mouth and say something that will just make it worse, stop and consider how you can calm her down. Like defusing a bomb, calming down your angry girlfriend takes skill, strategy and patience.
Apology That Owns Up
She opens the door and greets you with an angry, "I can't believe that you didn't sit with me in the cafeteria today!" You could quietly shut the door behind you and wait for her to cool off, or you can immediately own up to your mistake. If your girl is angry, and you're at fault, apologizing for your offense is an irreplaceable first step to calming her down. Instead of outright telling her to calm down, saying, "I'm sorry" can get her to relax. Apologizing will likely lessen her anger toward you, and get her listening instead of scolding.
Keep Your Cool
While your girlfriend won't shatter into a million pieces simply because you tell her to chill, telling her to calm down in a less than caring way may backfire on you. In this type of situation a little bit of empathy can go a long way. Even if your girl is flying off the handle for what seems like no reason, avoid getting angry at her. Feeling angry can impede your ability to show empathy, according to associate news editor Traci Pedersen on the PsychCentral website. Take a moment to consider why she's upset, allowing yourself to feel empathy for her situation.
Wanting your girlfriend to "calm down" doesn't always mean that you have to come out and say so in those exact words. Telling her to "calm down" implies that she's wound up, which she may interpret as belief by you that she is crazy or out of control. Avoid intensifying her anger by adding insult to injury with a seemingly acceptable comment that she hears as offensive. "Calm yourself" or "get over it" are negative comments to your girlfriend's ears. Take a positive approach and take the focus off of her bad mood with something that shows you're taking her side such as, "I completely agree with you."
Instead of directly telling her to stop her angry ways, take her mind off of the situation. Distract your girl by walking away. This doesn't mean that you walk away, leaving her alone. Instead, take her away from the situation or and go for a stroll. If possible, go for a walk in the woods or a similar surrounding. Getting out into nature has a calming effect that can help your girl to shed her stress, according to professor of human development and family studies Gail F. Melson in her article "Take a Walk on the Wild Side" on the Psychology Today website. Better yet, walking together means you are doing something as a team, instead of opposing each other in a fight, and that's a good first step. Simply say something such as, "Let's get out of here" or, "Want to take a walk?" to switch out of a difficult situation.
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