Respond vs. React

Respond –  1. to reply or answer in words: to respond briefly to a question; 2. to make a return by some action as if in to answer; 3. to react favorably

React –  1. to act in response to an agent or influence; 2. to act reciprocally upon each other, as two things; 3. to act in a reverse direction or manner; 4. to act in opposition



Two words that may seem similar at first but in life they can produce drastically different outcomes.  When you are presented with a situation, what do you do: react or respond?
How does each look and feel?  Typically when we react we immediately jump to an initial conclusion without thinking through it completely.  We feed off the initial feelings the situation puts us in.  It usually seems defensive.  We let emotions without reason drive us forward.  The upside may be passion but our passion needs to be centered on purpose.
On the flip side is respond. There is still an external spur to our response. Responding, though, is more thoughtful. Responses contain reasoning. The difference may be this: Responding is guided less by emotion and more by logic. Responding may be passive in nature, as we are going second in a series. However, a response is more active, and it can change the direction of an interaction.  When we respond we take time, process the situation, and formulate a response to what is presented before us.
So next time you find yourself in a situation look at yourself and see if you reacted or responded?  If you reacted, how could the outcome be different if you had responded?   This could be in an argument or discussion, general conversation, interaction with a stranger out in public, or for those in the dance world – with your dance partner – could this apply there and do you react or respond and how does that affect your dancing?  Or how about something simple.  A lady opens the door for her man (who in this situation typically open’s the door because that’s what our mom’s taught us to do). Does the man react and get a little upset because she held the door open thinking that it is his responsibility as a man to do so and by her opening the door for him he loses some masculinity and chivalry?  Or does he respond and say thank you and look at it just the way it is – as a gesture from your significant other.
You may not be able to take time in the moment to react vs. respond but you can look back at situations and review how you handled the situation and determine to do it differently in the future if you felt you could have responded vs. reacted appropriately.
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