When you are involved in an interaction with another person where there may be some form of conflict, it is important to be observant and vigilant. There are signs and signals which can give you a good indication that the person is starting to feel aggressive, and the situation could deteriorate to the point where you become the subject of aggressive or violent behavior.
Bear in mind that there are wide differences in what is normal and acceptable behavior amongst different ethnic and cultural groups.
The types of changes to look for include:
- Change in voice tone, g. becoming emotional, sounding angry etc.
- Ritually repeating one point
- Sudden change of direction in the conversation
- Dehumanizing language, e.g. “You’re all the same” or “Slut”... “Bastards”. Making you an object or part of a group couched in insulting terms
- Repetition of the facts
- Physical closeness, invading your space
- Positioning, directly face on or blocking your exit
- Movement, constantly moving about, unable to sit still
- Touching, perhaps a prod with a finger
- Facial expression, tight mouth, teeth clenched, frowning, nostrils flaring et
- Eye movements, staring, no eye contact, darting around, glazed or empty
- Gestures, pointing, ‘V’ signs, one finger signs etc.
- Head shaking
- Appearance can highlight a lack of care about themselves which may extend to not caring about others
- Mirroring – be careful that you do not mirror the aggressive signals of the other person