Jay Z’s got 99 problems and now his sister-in-law is one of them. In a scene that Americans are more used to seeing on the Jerry Springer show, the music tycoon’s sister-in-law Solange Knowles, assaulted him in the elevator of an upmarket New York hotel. Ironically Solange means solemn or dignified in Latin.

As interesting as the footage is to watch, it begs the question: What do you do, in a rare situation, when a woman is hitting you? Firstly never fight back, but before you climb into an elevator with an angry woman, apply these tips to best preserve your dignity.

MAKE TIME FOR YOUR ARGUMENT… BEFORE THINGS GET HECTIC
“Women respond better to conflict in ‘face-to-face’ situations – where no outside factors interfere with your discussion,” according to a MH expert. Bringing up a touchy point in the bedroom, when you’re both tired after a long day is not a great idea. “Planning an argument makes sense. It allows you to work out what to say and how best to make your point.”

THINGS ARE HECTIC… NOW WHAT?
Sometimes conversations turn into arguments, arguments turn into heated arguments. Now’s your opportunity to de-esculate the situation before it turns violent.

Talk her down
US police are advised to follow these guidelines, from an article published in Law and Order magazine, when they’re called in to stop an escalating situation.

Give Her Your Undivided Attention
“When people are paid attention they feel validated,” according to article author Jerilyn Dufresne. “The converse is also true.” When people feel like they’re not being heard, they are more prone to esculate the situation.

Focus on Feelings
If you ask how the person feels, it’s likely to show empathy and understanding. A person who feels like you empathise is much less likely to attack you.

Silence Can Be Golden
“Officers want to make sure the incident is handled quickly and peacefully. However, sometimes allowing that moment of silence can be the best choice,” writes Dufrense.

Clarify Messages
You may think you understand what the problem is, but chances are the two of you are having different conversations in your head. Don’t wait for the misunderstanding to turn embarrassingly painful.

AVOIDANCE FAILED! NOW GET OUT OF THE SITUATION
Ultimately if none of the above works and you’re being pummelled by your sister-in-law, your best choice may be to simply get out of the predicament. Or in Jay Z’s case, the lift.

It’s no coincidence that Solange commenced the assault in the elevator, away from where anyone could see her (or so she thought). Solange didn’t want to commit the assault in front of the public and press.

It’s the same reason why school yard fights happen behind the bathrooms. Fighting is not socially acceptable in most places. If she wants to get into a fight with you, chances are she’s less likely to want to rumble in front of a large audience.

– Leigh Schaller | @LeighSchaller