What do people do when unpleasant things happen?

When accused, rightly or wrongly, how do they defend themselves?

1. Acquiescence
“You’re right.”
“There’s no excuse. I’m sorry.”

2. Aggression
“Let me tell you what your problem is!”
“I’m going to fight to make sure this never happens again!”

3. Argument
“It’s no big deal. Just give me a little time.”
“I can take care of it. Leave me alone.”
“Listen to my side of the story!”

4. Denial
“That didn’t happen.”
“You’re wrong!”

5. Feigned Misunderstanding
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“I’m sure everything will be fine.”

6. Withdrawal
“I don’t want to talk about it right now. Maybe later.”
“I’ve got to go. I’ve a meeting. We can talk later.”

7. Understanding
“Thank you for telling me.”  “Thank you for your patience.”
“Thank you for telling me more about the situation.”  “I’m so glad you told me.”

Adapted from Novel Strategies for Young Adults by Donita Covey. Teacher Ideas Press, 1992.

This page may be copied for use with students if the following credit is provided:
©2012 Sophie Rosen.


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