When someone is “disarming,” it literally means that their very nature, character, and personality make you drop your weapons. In modern vernacular, someone who is disarming is calming. They encourage you to let your guard down.
This is an excellent skill to possess, especially if you work with a lot of people in sometimes tense situations. While it’s healthy to be cautious and skeptical, sometimes each of us are also on high alert. Whether through previous baggage or PTSD, we are overly alarmed.
To counter this, a disarming person is vulnerable, unfiltered, honest, empathetic, and thoughtful. Some people might call this refreshingly real. That’s one way to be disarming.
Another way is to give another person a chance to process what you’re about to tell them. Prepare them for what you’d like to discuss. For instance, lead with “Can I ask you a difficult question?” if you need to talk about a touchy or sensitive subject, which should never be discussed cold. You could also try, “I have something sensitive to talk to you about. Is now a good time?”
As the discussion hopefully moves forward, don’t get emotional, which only arms someone further. Stay neutral and calm, even if things get tense. When you hear something that sounds harsh, try responding with: “What I heard you say was this: [What they said.] Is that right?”
If they rightfully call you out for doing something wrong or offensive, don’t forget to offer a heartfelt apology. “I’m sorry I did that. Will you forgive me?”
Now, a third way to be disarming is to be incredibly perceptive, hyper alert to body language, and charming. Often times to the point of being manipulative. You don’t want to be this kind of disarming unless you are a con man or crook.
Finally, what’s the best way to tell if you’ve been disarmed by a genuine person or a crook? The former will leave you feeling good about yourself. The later will make you feel good on the outside but uneasy on the inside. As if something was slightly off. Pay attention to those feelings.
Our gut instincts have helped us survive for thousands of years and they will help you to, but you have to listen to them. Good luck!