Archive for January 17th, 2009

Respond or React

17/01/2009

When you are asked an awkward question, how you reply shows a lot. Do you react defensively? Or do you respond appropriately?

A reaction is like a knee jerk. If you have ever been to the doctor’s and they have had to test your reflexes, then you would have met the patella hammer. The patella hammer is used exactly as the name implies – the doctor will use it to tap a specific part of your knee. When that happens, your foot is automatically jerked up.

Hence the term knee jerk. It’s involuntary.

When we first discovered this as student nurses, (in my past life!) we used to tap one another’s knee just for the fun of it. The best reactions came from those unsuspecting souls who had their legs crossed. We would even use our hands to “chop down” quickly for the desired reaction. The poor victim would be teased whether caught out or caught defensive.

Similarly, when a person reacts to something said or done, that means the person probably hasn’t prepared for the words to come, or the event to happen. The immediate speech or action of the person would indicate the innermost thoughts and emotions of the person. Good or bad, right or wrong, it will show.

Like when I was asked an awkward question just now. Twice.

I didn’t want to answer. I didn’t know how I ought to answer. I didn’t have the right answer.

The first time it happened, I found myself blabbering away.  It sounded hollow even to my own ears. I then changed the subject.

Shortly after that, I faced my second awkward question. Again, I found myself muttering away, playing games with words, walking away as I did so.

Ground open up to swallow me.

Later I texted someone to seek advice. Sound advice came.

Just smile. Say little. Just smile.

Tomorrow if I am faced with another awkward question or moment, I know what I’ll to do – Smile.

Let them react.