When you are faced with a crisis, or a challenging situation, it is important that you are the “first” to move towards a solution. What this means is that you need to try and implement the first course of action to resolve the situation or provide an alternative to the individual that leads them to a better point in time.
For example: Asking permission to start over.
“You are angry, and I can understand why” “Can we try and start over?” or
“You are frustrated, and I can definitely relate to that”
“Are you willing to let me try and help with this?”
“I understand you were hurt by what happened, and I can see why”
“I really want us to figure out how we can fix this, and try to move forward from here”
People in crisis want to feel heard, we know this. They want to feel as though the other person is willing to work harder than them to “come over” first, so to speak. I know from personal experience, that it is really hard to start calming down “first” in an argument. The feeling that you are not going to give up any ground to the other person until they show that they are willing to “give” something is tough to overcome. For this reason, I encourage you as the responder to try and always be the first to “try”.
Whether that means you try to better understand the person, or try harder to listen to their words, to try and bridge the gap between you, to try and relate, gain perspective, apologize, or put out your hand as a sign of vulnerability– there are so many ways to “try” and resolve the crisis, and if you are intent and focused on being the first to “try” and put in the effort, you will often discover that the method you use isn’t as important as making the effort in and of itself. Individuals in crisis will likely see your efforts to try and find resolution and our human nature will demand that they either force themselves to deny it or grant it the respect that it deserves. Be the first to “try” in every difficult situation.