Tips on supporting someone with anger
It can be difficult to support a friend or partner who is angry. Especially if they sometimes direct their anger towards you.
It's important to know that they're responsible for their own actions, including learning how to manage their anger.
This page offers some tips and ideas on how to talk to them about anger, how to support them, and how to look after yourself.
Some of our tips might work better for you than others, or some might feel really difficult right now. Remember to be kind to yourself and only try things that you feel comfortable with.
I can discuss things with my friends regarding their own triggers and how I can help ensure these don’t get in the way when I am with them.
Keep calm when they're wound up
Talk to them in your normal voice, without raising your tone or arguing.
Listen to them without judgement
They might not even want any other help, but just someone to be there for them.
Help them find a space to calm down in
Tou could suggest they go for a walk, or help them find a quiet room if you're in school or college.
Respect your own boundaries
Think about what behaviour isn't acceptable to you, and have a plan for what you'll do if they cross your boundaries.
Help them find information about anger
You could show them our information for young people on dealing with anger.
Help them recognise their triggers or warning signs
You might be able to notice something they can't, and this may help them plan how to avoid triggers or handle them differently.
What if they don't think they have a problem with anger?
If they don't think they have a problem, or they don't want to be helped, this can be really hard on you.
You can remind them that you're there for them, and that you can help them seek support when they're ready. For more information, see our pages on how to support a friend and looking after your own wellbeing.
It'’s important to prioritise your mental health too. You can't pour from an empty glass.
If you're worried because someone is very angry
Even when someone seems very angry, it doesn't mean that they will become violent. But if you feel like this might happen, the most important thing you can do is keep yourself safe.
- Don't confront them.
- Get away from the situation if it's safe to do so – like going to a different room or a friend's house.
- Tell a trusted adult – like a teacher, youth worker, neighbour or doctor what's happened, even if nobody's been hurt.
- Call a helpline – you can contact Childline to talk to a counsellor confidentially, or you can contact Refuge who offer support for young people experiencing violence at home. The Hideout also has advice on domestic abuse.
- Call the police – if your safety or someone else's is in danger, this is an emergency and you should dial 999.
Supporting someone can be difficult and you should not, by any means, be expected to put up with abuse or violence just because of someone’s struggles.
This information was published in March 2021. We will revise it in 2024.
The quotes on this page are from young people we spoke to while making this information. They've given us their consent to use their quotes in our information. The words, experiences and opinions in the quotes are not related to the young people shown in any of the photographs we use.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.