Do you React or Respond? Which are you?
Or does it just depend on your mood, the situation, who the person is, how you react or respond?
Under the heading of full disclosure…. most of the time, I react. That doesn’t mean that everyone sees it. Especially when it comes to dealing with customers on my Etsy shop, rarely do I have questions from people on my website that make me crazy.
But, back to the response. When I respond kindly, gently and take the time to answer all of their questions, for the most part, they are so appreciative- and yes, then I feel like a jerk.
So what happens when it isn’t on the computer? How do you react or respond in REAL time?
When someone is rude when driving, and gets mad at you for NOTHING you did, or breaks in front of you in line? Or a million other things rude people do. Do you react or respond?
I am not so different than on my computer. I get mad, but they rarely know it. I don’t give the finger to rude drivers, (however I may be thinking worse things than I do when on my computer), generally I ignore them. If someone breaks in line, or pulls in the parking place you have been waiting on WITH YOUR BLINKER ON for 5 minutes, what then? I usually fume- internally and just don’t say anything. Now don’t think that I am a pushover, or shy or not able to handle the situation – anyone that knows me knows that I will take care of myself or anyone else that is being taken advantage of, but in these situations, it is just usually not worth the energy or the effort. In these instances, I don’t react or respond, I just usually IGNORE the ignorant, rude person.
But what about when someone gets mad at you for something YOU did do wrong? Do you respond or react?
For instance, if you accidentally pulled in front of someone you didn’t see, or you sent them the wrong item or misspelled something, or a million other little things that you might actually be at fault for, and they get MAD at you, and maybe they act terribly, what then? Do you react or respond?
If you are even remotely human, I bet your first thought is to defend yourself, especially if someone is attacking you first, without even giving you the benefit of the doubt that you will indeed handle the situation properly.
For instance, if you accidentally cut someone off, and they flip you the bird, and then you wave and shake your head and mouth “I’m so sorry”, most of the time, they smile, wave back and say “I’m sorry too”. If you gave them the finger right back, it could turn into a terrible case of road rage- ya know. As my mother has always said, “kill them with kindness”. And it works. Who can be hateful and mean to someone that is doing their best to be helpful and kind? Okay, don’t answer that, I know there are people, and I know you have to deal with them, but I am talking about the majority of the normal people. If you smile at them, if you apologize and own up to your mistake, or your misjudgment or your momentary lack of sanity, MOST of the time, people will back down, no matter how mad, and then they will become calmer and more rational and usually everything will work out for the best.
So, think about it the next time someone treats you badly, take a breath, give it a minute and then decide, do I want to be reactive or rational and respond like a sane person. I wish I could tell you that I could master this, I can out in the world, but online….. I am afraid this will always be me.
Be better than me. And let me know in the comments if you react or respond and what the results have been.