React and Response: The Difference Between the Two

react and response

Recently while reading a book I came across a very interesting analogy between React and Response. We often get confused between the two, but there is some very distinct difference between the two. We all have the power to deal with different situations uniquely. This power is a reflection of how we have been brought up, what we have been taught, and the kind of experiences that one has gathered in the past years.

In a similar situation, two people can choose either React or Response. But how are these two different lets us try to dig deeper?

The art of Transforming communication

Let us take an example: You are at work and your colleagues start to oppose you over something work-related. What would you do?

React aggressively and escalate the topic to a full-blown contentious confrontation
Sit quietly in order to preserve the friendship
Think about your response and then respond wisely

Each of the above options is realistic, feasible and has been employed by each one of us in different situations. So, how does reaction differ from Response?

The reaction is a response to something, and the response is a thoughtful reaction.

a. React

A reaction is a defensive action taken against something spoken or done, that might or might not be in your favor. During a reaction we allow our emotions to take control and accordingly react in the best way possible. Our gestures change and various body parts get involved in ensuring that our emotions are let out in the best possible way.

For instance:

  • If someone hits you, you hit back.
  • If you are annoyed, you ensure to take revenge.
  • if someone yells at you, you start yelling back.

Thus reaction is a reverse movement or tendency. While reacting we allow our emotions to take a front seat that leads us forward and loos control over ourselves. This is spontaneous and sporadic, which can lead to some people taking advantage of our emotional outbursts.

However, on the positive side, it brings out our passion, which is centered on purpose can help us in responding wisely.

b. Response

Unlike a reaction, a response is a well-thought action, that is taken after carefully evaluating the situation. Though it too is accompanied by an external spur to our response, it is guided by logic and not emotions. It is a more passive reaction but can help shape and change the direction of the conversation.

The positive side of a response is that it is accompanied by a positive conversation through which learn and grow.

Response Vs React

History has shown various examples of how to a similar situation different people have reacted and responded and the result has varied accordingly.

A reaction may result in a positive or negative outcome whereas a response is engineered to produce a positive or negative outcome. Reacting is emotional, responding is emotional intelligence.

Example 1:

Say you are approached by a vagabond on the street and you give that person money. This can be due to two reasons:

a. Reaction: If you give the person money out of fear or embarrassment or guilt.
b. Response: If you hand over the money to help the man or you do not give money.

“I am here to help my fellow man in whatever form.” Or say you didn’t give that person money.

In a parallel space, if you do not pay the person, it will be:

a. Reaction: If you didn’t give the money out of fear, disgust, or anger.
b. Response: If you didn’t give the money because you decide it’s wiser to give your money elsewhere.

Example 2:

Consider going to a concert, athletic event, bar, or nightclub in a busy environment. As you walk in, you collide with someone and the individual pushes you before you can apologize. What do you believe motivated the person to do this? Maybe he/she assumed you bumped into each other on purpose to start a fight. They gave you a pushback as a reaction. They didn’t pause to think, as it was a reflex.


Your actions are the means by which you convey your thoughts, and pausing to calm your tension and ponder for a minute may be the finest thing you can do for everyone. As a result, strive to be the finest version of yourself.

Recommended Articles