I was talking with a friend of mine recently and he was worried: Seems that he was at a kids soccer game & another parent got upset about something. Rather than talking about it the other parent called my friend out. My friend wanted to avoid confrontation but also wanted to know what to do the next time he saw the other parent. My suggestions were simple:

1.  Walk away. If walking away would inflame the situation even more, try to talk.

2.  When talking to the other parent

*    Keep your arms crossed across your chest/stomach (this will tend to prevent a sucker punch to the stomach without seeming aggressive);

*    If you do move your hands/arms, raise them to the side of your face, rub an ear, or your cheek, or stroke you lips (this will prevent a sucker punch to the head);

*    Point 1 foot at the other parent and step back ½ step while turning the other foot 90 degrees away (this prevents a sucker knee to the groin);

*    Don’t let the other person within 3 feet of you;

*    Don’t let them yell at you–most people have to “warm up” before attacking;

*    Don’t laugh at them even when they are being silly; and

*    Don’t lose *your* temper.

3.    If they threaten you, remind her/him that you *will* call the police if they do anything. Now walk away again. This time, back away or walk away at an angle so you do not lose sight of her/him.

4.    Final tip:  It is my experience that the sex of the other person is irrelevant. It is impossible to predict what someone will do based on their sex. So don’t let your guard down — a man is as likely to attack a man/woman as a woman is to attack a woman/man.

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