We’ve all had conflict with others who may have thrown shade, but there are ways to confront someone without making yourself look silly in the process. Which brings us to Nicki Minaj’s publicly calling out Miley Cyrus at the VMAs on Sunday following a New York Times interview the “Wrecking Ball” singer gave bashing the rapper for her antics during a Twitter feud with Taylor Swift. The “Anaconda” rapper’s decision to use her Best Hip Hop Video acceptance speech as a platform to confront Cyrus — who she called a “b—tch” before MTV cut off her mic — has received mixed reviews to say the least.
In fact, it seemed to have backfired on Minaj when Cyrus simply brushed it off with a smile and continued hosting the nationally televised event. Kudos to Cyrus for handling that situation with ease and grace. Even though MTV's recently released unedited version makes it seem like the whole thing was staged. We wonder, could that have been handled better so that both parties walked away with class and dignity? (And I’m not referring to Cyrus’ multiple barely-there stage costumes.)
“You are 50% of every interaction and every relationship — not more or less. Understanding that will allow you to be fully accountable for your part,” says leadership trainer and women’s career success expert Kathy Caprino. So to better prepare you for your next confrontation, here are three key things to keep in mind when you have to confront someone or even handle one on your own.
Say It Well and Say It With Calmness and Control
“Steer clear of inflammatory comments, and NEVER trash a person in public, in the media, or online, EVER,” says Caprino, who wrote the book Breakdown, Breakthrough, “It always backfires and you’re the one that looks bad.”
Not only that, but you could also appear to be hiding behind the public shield.
“Backstabbing someone is always the cowardly way to do it,” Caprino adds, adding how Minaj’s approach “reflects badly on your entire industry and on other women in your field, and pushes women back 100 steps.”
Instead of lashing out in a moment of anger, take a step back and a moment to breathe to evaluate how best to handle confronting the person you’re at odds ends with. It’s not that you shouldn’t confront them — Miley was in the wrong to about Minaj to The New York Times when she could have easily expressed those thoughts to her directly — it’s that there’s a way to go about it so that the conflict can be resolved instead of built up.
“Carefully evaluate what you’re thinking and feeling and identify the real issue that you need to address,” Caprino advises. “Tease out all the outside factors, emotions, and issues that aren’t relevant or essential to the discussion. Then assess how best to approach this specific person and prepare what you’ll say in detail.”
Be Ready to Forgive and Forget
Life throws many obstacles in our way so why get caught up in drama that only weighs you down over time. “Seek for a compromise and learn when you need to let go,” says psychologist Dr. Karen Caraballo. One thing Minaj and Cyrus have in common is their sense of humor and unapologetic approach to it. This could have worked to their benefit in squashing the animosity between them.
“Use humor and be playful,” Caraballo says. But most importantly, she adds “Pick your battles,” after all there are much more serious issues to tackle than someone talking smack about you.
“Your voice is your most potent tool to lead your life and work powerfully. And change the world,” Caprino says. “Use it well.”