/// De-Escalating a Bar Fight
As a covert operative or civilian, you may find yourself in a situation where it’s your responsibility to de-escalate a bar fight for the mission or for your friends.
Drinking lowers your inhibitions, impairs your judgment and cripples your motor skills (while making it seem like it’s actually been enhanced).
In these situations, your training and experience can be invaluable as you work to prevent further violence and harm to yourself, your associates and strangers. This is a guide on how to de-escalate a bar fight:
Assess The Situation
Before you engage an ongoing or potential bar fight, it’s important to take the time to assess the situation. Take note of who’s involved in the altercation (or imminent altercation) and how many people are involved (or potentially involved) in total.
Pay attention to any weapons that may be present and try to identify what started the fight in the first place. All of this information will help you determine how best to proceed with de-escalation.
Once you’ve got an understanding of what’s going on, it’s crucial for you to stay calm and collected no matter how chaotic things might seem at first glance. Your cool demeanor will help set an example for those around you (including being intimidating in a positive way), which can have a calming / authoritative effect on everyone involved in the altercation.
Additionally, maintaining control over your own emotions will prevent any additional outbursts or aggressive behavior that could potentially worsen (further escalate) an already volatile situation.
When a bar fight breaks out, the primary objective is to avoid physical confrontation with the fighting parties. But if you or a member of your group is a part of one of those parties, then the objective is de-escalation by exit strategy; to remove yourself and group from the situation and leave the area / bar.
If exiting the space is not possible and the bouncer / security is unavailable / unhelpful, then the following methods of de-escalation should be followed.
Once everyone has settled down a bit, it’s time for you to step up and use your verbal communication skills —including active listening to address any concerns or issues that caused the fight in the first place (i.e., money disputes, feelings of disrespect).
Try to get both sides of story before jumping into conclusions about who is right or wrong. Remember that even if two people are arguing about something as simple as who spilled beer on whom first doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for compromise between them both. Don’t take sides. It’s better if both sides are in the wrong or both in the right.
After assessing each person’s side of story carefully and thoughtfully, use your discretion when offering solutions that can satisfy all parties involved without resorting back into violence or aggression (i.e., suggesting they pay for their own drinks if one side claims they were taken advantage of, both sides acknowledging it was a misunderstanding etc).
Your solutions should strive towards bringing peace between everyone involved so that everyone can be on their way without feeling further disrespected or threatened by one another’s presence in the bar.
Create a Distraction
Sometimes words will fail due to “deaf ears” or the level of commotion. So you can create a larger and or louder commotion to get everyone’s attention and therefore completely stopping or at least pausing the bar fight.
This can be accomplished by yelling “drinks on the house!”, spraying the fire extinguisher into the air, setting off the fire alarm, turning off the lights or anything of extreme misdirection that can instantly cause people to stop what they’re doing by reflex.
That’s why your priority should be to protect yourself and group by de-escalating the situation, but be prepared by knowing how to fight drunk if unavoidable.