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Let’s Talk about Respond vs. React

Let’s talk about Respond vs react


Imagine you’re at a party and someone says something offensive to you. You could react by getting angry and yelling at them, or you could respond in a calm and assertive manner by calmly bringing up the issue without being rude or hostile. An example of reacting would be to have an immediate negative physical reaction such as your heart beating faster because of adrenaline. That would be an involuntary response, which is how most people respond when they feel threatened. A good example of responding would be taking a moment to think about how best to handle this situation before saying anything more than just saying “I’m not comfortable with what you just said.”

Reactions and responses both follow an action or event.

A reaction is an automatic response to an event or action. It’s a natural, involuntary reaction that you have no control over. A response, on the other hand, is a conscious choice you make after you’ve had time to think about it.


  • Your boss asks you to stay late and finish an important project at work on a Friday evening when everyone else has gone home for the weekend. This might be a good thing (you get paid overtime) or bad thing (it throws off your plans for Saturday). Either way, this is considered an event (your boss asking you to work late) and your response will depend on whether or not working late fits into your schedule for this weekend and how much money being offered helps offset any inconvenience caused by being asked to stay later than usual.
  • You see someone get pushed into traffic from inside of your car and quickly yell out “watch out!” as loud as possible so they can hear before driving away in fear of getting hit yourself (this would be considered an action). Their reaction could vary depending upon how close they are standing next-door when hearing those words shouted out through open windows; however even if nothing happens directly after yelling “watch out!”, there was still something positive achieved by responding instead of reacting—which was making sure someone didn’t get hurt badly enough during their commute home tonight/tomorrow morning depending on what day we’re talking about here!

A reaction is automatic and involuntary.

A reaction is an automatic response to a stimulus, such as the knee-jerk reflex when someone touches your shoulder. A response is a deliberate action or reaction to a situation, such as when you decide to give up smoking and ask for help to do so.

Reacting can be positive or negative, while responding always has positive connotations because it’s done intentionally rather than without thought or intention.

A response is deliberate and conscious.

Responding is a conscious, deliberate way of interacting with people and situations. It’s not automatic or involuntary—you choose to respond in a particular way.

So what does it mean to respond?

Responding is an intentional choice you make about what to say or do in a given situation. You can choose your response deliberately and consciously, without any external pressure from others (or even yourself). When someone asks you how you are doing, for example, the act of responding is up to you: your response will likely have nothing at all to do with what you actually feel like at that moment; rather it has everything to do with how important their question seems relative to other things going on around them at that moment as well as how much they matter as people who ask questions like this regularly enough that they expect some sort of answer back from anyone asking them similar questions later on down the road when asked again by another person someday soon!

A reaction can be positive or negative, but a response is always the same.

Reactions are automatic and instinctive, while responses are conscious decisions. A reaction is based on our past experiences, while a response is based on the current situation. A reaction can be positive or negative, but a response is always positive.

A reaction may be appropriate or inappropriate to the situation at hand, but a response will always be appropriate to that specific situation.

A reaction may or may not be appropriate to the situation, but responses always are.

You’re in a meeting. A coworker mentions an idea about how to improve the workflow and save money, but you don’t feel like it’s going to work. You react by saying that you think their idea is ridiculous and won’t work at all.

Now, this reaction may or may not be true—it could actually be useful! But the problem with reacting rather than responding is that your reaction is based on past experiences; it’s not applicable to the current situation at hand. When we react negatively (or positively), it can lead us down destructive paths that do more harm than good—and don’t necessarily help us achieve our goals in life or work.

A response, however, always has relevance because it’s based on what actually needs doing right now—not what happened previously or what might happen in the future! By focusing on responses instead of reactions, we’re able to focus our energy on being productive and making sure things get done effectively so everyone wins!

Responding is a better way​ of interacting with people and situations.

Responding is a better way of interacting with people and situations. This may seem counterintuitive since responding is a conscious, deliberate action. But it’s true: responding allows you to have more control over your life than reacting does.

When you react, you are merely responding to events as they occur. You might be able to respond quickly enough to avoid disaster in most situations (a car driving towards you or an angry boss), but there are plenty of times when reacting will not help (your partner issues an ultimatum). Reacting means that we let our emotions override our rational thinking skills. We give others power over us by not considering the consequences of our actions before acting on impulse or emotion. Responding allows us to think before acting so we can choose how we want to act in any given situation in order for it to work out for the best possible outcome for everyone involved!

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By learning to respond instead of reacting, we can make our lives easier and more pleasant. Responding allows us to take control of our emotions rather than letting them control us. When you find yourself in a situation that makes you angry or frustrated, take some time to think before responding. This will allow you to choose an appropriate response instead of falling back on old habits like yelling or swearing at someone. If this sounds difficult at first, remember one step at a time! Start small by taking deep breaths​ when you’re feeling stressed out; soon enough it’ll become second nature for you too!

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