What to do when a stranger yells at you?

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This blog post will explore what you can do when a stranger yells at you. 

We will also briefly discuss why people yell, what are some behaviours to avoid when people are yelling at you, and what you should do when they start to physically attack you. 

What to do when a stranger yells at you?

Here are a few steps you can takewhen someone, a stranger, yells at you:

  • Remain calm 
  • Assess the situation
  • Do not agree with the yeller
  • Calmy address the yelling
  • Validate their emotions
  • Ask them for a time out
  • Address the situation after the yeller has calmed down

Remain Calm

When a persona is yelling at you the best thing you can do is not to react to them. Understand that their yelling has nothing to do with you and it is their own inability to cope effectively. So remain calm and do not feed into their behaviour by yelling back.

Assess the situation. 

Next, take a moment to assess the situation so as to determine a course of action. Make a mental note of whether their yelling is because of something you might have done, unintentionally to offend them, or whether it is simply them throwing their frustration on the next person that they come across. 

If it is the latter, walk away, ignore them, and remove yourself from the situation. This is usually effective when a stranger is yelling at you in public. 

Calmly address the yelling. 

If avoidnign and ignoring the person does not work or does not sit right with you, you can choose to calmly address their beaviour by letting them know, in a clear and calm voice that you will not tolerate being yelled at. 

Say this politely and calmly, without any expectations and give them the space for them to be heard if they are trying to make a valid point however, if they are not- use this opportunity to move on from the situation. 

Acknowledge their emotions

If they are trying to communicate something to you, acknowledge how they might be feeling in the situation. Let them feel heard as you attempt to understand them. Ask them to speak more calmly so that you can understand them better. 

You do not have to agree to what they are saying or apologise, but simple letting them know that you hear them and their distress is enough.

Ask for a timeout

Ask for a time out from this individual for them to calm down as well as for you to calm down so that both of you can think more clearly as well as allow you to communicate more effectively. 

Separate yourself and the individual in this situation and take deep breaths to calm yourself down from the shock of having been yelled at by a stranger. 

Address the situation

Once both of you have calmed down and you both are able to think clearly to settle the situation, it is vital that you and the yeller take turns to address their own point of news as well as yours. 

Take charge of the visitation by letting them know that you are listening and would like to address and settle the situation provided that there is no yelling and instead there is clear communication from them.

Call the police

If the individual has no intent to calm down and settle the situation, you can choose to call for law enforcement to help assist the situation as well as to protect your rights and also to protect you from further violence and aggression.

Why Do People Yell?

When someone, even a stranger, is angry and they are yelling, there are a variety of reasons that they are behaving as such. These reasons include:

Poor emotional regulation

The most obvious reason as to why they are yelling is because they are frustrated and might be feeling undervalued and insignificant or feel like there is an injustice that has been done to them. 

They yell because they are unable to express their feelings in effective ways as well as unable to regulate these feelings and emotions that overwhelm them. 

Poor coping skills

Many people yell because it is the only way they know how to cope with their feelings, the stress, and the challenges that come their way.

It is usually because this is the only way they know how to cope and it is the only way they have learned how to cope and they rely on this emotional outburst to express how they are feeling and what they are thinking. 

Loss of control

People who yell when they are confronted or in various other situations often do so because they feel like they have lost control of the situation and as an effort to regain control over the situation, they seek to assert dominance by yelling at someone else. 

Feeling threatened

Sometimes people who tell often do so because they themselves feel threatened and as a way to cope with the feeling of being defenceless, they use verbal aggression and yell as a way to stand their ground and defend themselves. 

Aggressive tendencies

Some people yell because they have easier tendencies towards aggression, It is their way to express their emotions and their aggression. 

Learned behaviour

Some people become yellers because they grew up in a household where their parents were also yellers and they were exposed to it early on and quite frequently. 

So these people think that this is the only way to communicate and carry this into their adult lives and their relationships. 

Feeling neglected

Some people yell in anger because they feel the other person is not listening to them and thus they feel neglected and under-valued.

They might resort to yelling in anger because the other person has not listened to them, or does not pay attention to them. For example, when Parents feel their kids aren’t listening, they choose to yell instead of repeating themselves. 

Another example is within a relationship when one partner feels like they are not being listened to or are being neglected by their partner, they might repost yelling to communicate their needs. 

What should you not do when someone yells at you?

A few things you should avoid when you find a stranger yelling at your for no apparent reason includes:

  • Yelling back at them or mirroring their behaviour. Avoid this as it can escalate the aggression and lead to physical aggression and violence.
  • Do not turn your back on them as it can leave you defenceless in the case they attack you from behind. 
  • Do not tease them or bait the yeller by challenging them and their behaviour as it can escalate the aggression. 
  • Do not criticise them or make personal attacks even if they do as it can lead to more aggressive behaviour from them. 

What should you do when yelling turns into a physical attack?

If the person who is yelling at you, a stranger, starts to come closer to you with obvious signs of aggression or threatens you physically here are a few things you can do:

Run away or escape

The best thing you can do is to do nothing and simply try to escape the situation by seeking a way out, or if you are in public, to reach out to someone who is present and looks non threatening, a police officer who is patrolling the area, or going into an establishment like a business where there are other people present. 

Call the police

If the yelling starts to become aggressive, attack you, when you have escaped and are in a safer place, call the police immediately and give a description of your location and the individual who attacked you. 

Defend yourself

In the case where escape is not possible nor is it possible for you to call for help, try to defend yourself, disable them, and escape. 

  • The areas you can attack include.
  • The eyes where you can claw at their eyes.
  • Their throat- punching them or hitting them in the neck and the adam’s apple can be another defensive manoeuvre.
  • They grow by kicking them between their legs.

Once they have doubled over and they have backed off, run away to the next safest location and call the police. 


This blog post has explored what you can do when a stranger yells at you. 

We have also briefly discussed why people yell, what are some behaviours to avoid when people are yelling at you, and what you should do when they start to physically attack you. 

FAQ related to What to do when a stranger yells at you

Why do strangers shout at me?

Normally when a stranger shouts at you or yells at you for no fault of yours, it is most probable that they are simply lashing out due to their own frustration and anger. 

It is mostly because they do not know how to regulate their frustration and pick on the easiest and most convenient target that they can find- maybe you were in close proximity- to lash out on and it has nothing to do with you. 

Is screaming a form of violence?

Many experts consider yelling at someone a form of violence and can be regarded as a form of physiological and verbal abuse in most contexts. 

Can you be traumatised by yelling?

Often individuals who are in an environment where there is yelling, violence, and aggression, they tend to become hypervigilant as a trauma response. 

Yelling, screaming can often traumatise a growing child and even an adult if these behaviours are frequent and accompanied with aggression. 

Can you call the police if someone is screaming at you?

Yes You can call the police if someone is yelling or screaming at you and they can come to the scene and determine if there is need for further action or not even if the person yelling at you is someone you know or a stranger. 

Is it legal to yell at your child?

While it may not be illegal to yell at children in a public place, it is mostly frowned upon due to the damaging effects it has on the child. 

Yelling or screaming at your child as a way to punish, teach, or instruct is a poor parenting behaviour that can cause negative reactions and can affect the mental health of the child in negative ways leading to anxiety, aggression, and possible abuse. 


Battles.M. The Best Way to React When Someone Is Shouting at You in Anger. LifeHack. Retrieved on 28th December 2021. https://www.lifehack.org/627394/the-best-way-to-react-when-someone-is-shouting-at-you-in-anger

Exactly How to React If a Stranger Yells at You in Public. Dr.Oz. Retrieved on 28th December 2021. https://www.drozshow.com/stop-argument-safety-tips

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