Does Acting Angry Help in a Potential Fight?

Fighting is something that can and does terrify most normal people. This is because most people are good people who don’t want any trouble.

With that said, there’s no denying that these situations – while totally avoidable – do happen. It’s also fair to say that they follow a few different patterns.

One part of the pattern is the vocal bluffing that often happens. Now, sometimes the anger/bluff is real, but it can also be a smokescreen – something to scare the other person into backing down.

With that in mind, here’s the question: does acting angry help in a potential fight?

It depends. Acting angry may or may not work to avoid or prevent a fight. Sometimes it works, and the other person decides to walk away, that’s good. On the other hand, it may be seen as a challenge to be beaten.

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Acting is Another Name for Posturing

Posturing is acting – specifically feigning anger in the hopes that the other guy is going to back off. Another name for it is bluffing.

Typically, posturing involves puffing up your chest, lifting your chin and trying to make yourself bigger than you are. You’re also very vocal, hurling insults and threats at the other person.

The idea is to make them believe that you could do these things – whatever the threats are that you used – but are giving them a chance to back off and go away.

Fight or Flight Explained | There are Five Responses | The "Mama Bear" Fallacy

The other Four Responses to a Confrontation

We’ve all heard of fight or flight, correct? Well, what if I told you there were three other responses that go along with them? Would you believe me? The four responses are:

  1. Fight
  2. Flight
  3. Freeze
  4. Submit

Fight and flight are obvious; you either stand and fight or you run for the hills. We all like to believe that we could handle a fight and/or escape when needed but we seldom consider the level of physicality involved.

A fistfight is incredibly physical, you are pitting your strength against the strength of someone else. Running is the same way, you’re pitting your strength and endurance against that of your attacker.

If they’re physically stronger and have better endurance than you, you’re not going to fight them off and/or get away without difficulty.

Freezing is probably the first thing that’s going to happen to an untrained average Joe. So, what is the freeze response?

The freeze response is where you freeze in response to stress, it’s the “what’s happening?” response to the stress stimuli. You can’t move, you can’t think, you’re stuck.

The last of the five responses, submission, is where you back off and go: ‘hey, I don’t want trouble’ and convince them that you’re not worth fighting because you won’t fight back. There’s no real glory in fighting someone who isn’t actively fighting back, after all.

Does Posturing always Work?

Posturing is a common tactic found in the wild – animals make threat displays to ward off trouble and show everyone who’s boss all the time. So, does posturing work as well for us as it does for animals?

Well, here’s the thing; posturing is a 50/50 tactic. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t work. When it works, the other person decides to walk away; that’s good. On the other hand, it may be seen as a challenge to be beaten for brownie points or street cred.

Bottom Line: Don’t Get into Fights

Fighting is something that most people would prefer to avoid. The risk of injury and/or legal headaches is just not worth it.

Bluffing your way out of trouble is an okay tactic but it’s not 100% reliable – unless you’re really, really good at it, I suppose. With that in mind, maybe just don’t get into fights. That works, right?

In all seriousness, I hope you enjoyed the article and found it informative. As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you for the next one. Take care!

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