How To Quickly Assess Who You're Dealing With And Avoid Succumbing To Fear Dre Baldwin

The 3 different types of people you’ll encounter when it comes to conflict — and how to identify each via their actions… 

Level 1: The person who fears conflict (in certain contexts). 

This is the person who does whatever they can to avoid head-on, direct disagreement and conflict. 

Level 1 people often become overly friendly, nice-guy, people-pleaser types to compensate for their deficiencies in competitiveness and aggression. 

Confronted about this, they’ll defend themselves as friendly, peace-keeping and less of an asshole than you. 

I’ve played on sports teams with Level 1 folks, and they annoyed the shit out of me. 

These are the players who seem more interested in making friends with the opponents after the game than in kicking their asses during the game. 

I played in a game once with a guy who’s a friend of mine, let’s call him Mike. Mike was a fine enough player, one who I trusted to deliver to a certain level in games. 

I could also sense, though, that Mike — a Level 1 guy on the court — wanted to make friends in the local hoops scene just as much as he wanted to win. 

One particular game, Mike and I played against a team that featured a player whom I’d seen before. 

This other guy, let’s call him Clint, had professional experience and was from the area, so everyone knew Clint and his resume. I respected Clint’s game, but I also savored the opportunity to make an example of him in front of his local fans. 

Mike was closer to Clint’s size, though, and he called for the chance to guard him in our game. 


Clint scored about 35 easy points on Mike. We lost the game. After the game, I noticed Mike introducing himself to Clint and trying to find out where and when Clint worked out so he could join him. 

That told me all I needed to know about Mike (on the court at least). 

Level 2: The loud talkers. 

These are your classic all-bark-and-no-bite types. 

They have just as much fear of conflict as Level 1 people have, but instead of avoiding it, they put up a front of not being afraid, hoping to scare their opposition away with a show of bravado. 

Ever seen a rowdy chihuahua dog? It will bark at you all day, but couldn’t hurt you if it tried. 

That’s a Level 2 person. 

The world is heavily populated with Level 2s; you’ve probably seen two of them having a shouting match that’s entertaining, but ultimately fruitless for all involved. 

Level 2’s common tools are the raising of their voice, insults and threats. These are defense mechanisms designed to scare the opposition into fleeing the scene, like the terrified chihuahua. 

I once started a conversation with a noisy neighbor of a building I live in. The approach was intended to only be a courteous, please-keep-the-noise-down exchange. I ran into the guy in the building gym. 

The neighbor, a man about my size who had a friend with him that was about 6’7”, had other plans. 

In the midst of the conversation, the neighbor made a comment (“you’re lucky there’s cameras in here because otherwise…”) that I took as a threat, even though I knew he didn’t mean it — he said it while walking away from me. 

I let the neighbor know that I wasn’t concerned about cameras, and stepped towards him. 

He moved further away. His tall friend did nothing. 

I wasn’t planning on hitting the guy. I’d already diagnosed who he was and knew he didn’t have plans on ascending past Level 2. Putting hands on a Level 2 person isn’t worth the energy: you’re fighting someone who doesn’t want to fight. 

I have more stories of dealing with Level 2 people that I can tell in one article. 

Another story is of a pedestrian who approached my car window to offer a suggestion about how I was parked. 

I dismissed him and his suggestion — well, at least I thought I did. He started popping off at the mouth as if he wanted a problem. 

I stepped out of the car. 

The guy kept talking. He had some items in his hands. Not interested in conversation, I calmly offered him a chance to put his things down so we could continue our communication a different way. 

He declined — all while continuing to raise his voice, cuss and hurl insults. 

I didn’t hit the guy, but I did choke him up for a few seconds to get my point across. He’d talked himself into it. 

He called facility security on me. 

When security arrived, the guy unleashed this gem: “I should have just beat your ass right then for putting your hands on me!” 

Classic Level 2 talk. 

Key word: TALK. 

(Note: I don’t condone the behavior I exercised in this case. Plus, these days, you’re more likely to get arrested for assault and battery of a Level 2 fool than you are to receive a black eye from a physics altercation with someone who’s willing to fight. It didn’t used to be this way, but times change.)

Level 3: People who’ll actually do what Level 2 people talk about. 

A Level 2 person can sometimes move themselves to action, but it must be preceded with enough hype-up talk (from themselves or from bystanders to the situation) to give them the courage to do it.   

Level 3 people don’t need the hype. Often, action from a Level 3 person comes as a surprise: there’s no build-up to it. 

A key distinction about Level 3 people is that they often skip right over the tactics of Level 2 folks: they don’t talk or make threats about what they’re gonna do. Level 3 people don’t need to be hyped up in order to do things. 

The only way you know that a Level 3 individual person was plotting action is when it happens, or when you hear about it later. 

Let me be clear that the Level 3 person is no troublemaker or bully. They don’t go looking for conflict, and may rarely be involved in any, for that matter. 

But, the Level 3 person isn’t afraid of nor disturbed by conflict — which is exactly why they rarely have it brought to them. 

The energy of fear is like a magnet: by fearing something, you draw it to yourself. 

Level 1 people have to maneuver around conflict all the time. 

Level 2 people act like they’re not afraid, to the point that they might actually believe it — which lasts up until they run into a Level 3 person and get exposed to themselves. 

Level 1 & 2 people are magnets for what they fear. 


I’ve existed at all 3 levels throughout my life. 

Started as a clear Level 1, then I discovered my voice and the power of words. Then, I could use my words to project a certain image and posture, and that worked for a while — into my teens. 

I didn’t get to Level 3 until adulthood. Every time I see a Level 2 talking recklessly and raising their voice, I am more motivated to not be like them. 

Conflict is an inevitability of life. 

Amongst people, opinions differ. Everyone won’t always get along. Some people are negative by nature. Jerks and bitches exist. 

You don’t want to be playing dodgeball with these types — there are too many of them for you to avoid them all. 

You also don’t want to have to argue or fight with everyone — that’s exhausting and a waste of time. 

Just learn to identify them, and deal with each accordingly, based on the situation. 

I wrote The Mental Handbook to help you navigate the Mental Game challenges you’ll inevitably face in life without breaking stride. 

The Mental Handbook is part of the 4-book Bulletproof Bundle, which you can get at a special price when you claim your free copy of The Mirror Of Motivation here:  

Be sure to check the following MasterClasses on this topic — 

#1265: What You Learn Through Conflict

#771: How To Handle Conflict

#770: How To Have RIDICULOUS Levels Of Self-Belief

#769: Too Much Confidence Is NOT Your Problem

#466: How To Deal With Trash Talkers & Haters

#465: Conflict: It’s GOOD For You!

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