Respond or React? What’s the difference

Being involved in a divorce or family law matter can often feeling like you are playing the old arcade game Whack a Mole. Issues, problems, developments keep popping up unexpectedly. No matter how vigilant you are, you may feel like you’re never going to win. Working with an experienced attorney allows you to have another mallet to whack those moles! At The Durst Firm, we try to absorb as much of the responsibility for your case as possible. We can advise and predict what may happen, but sadly, we do not have a crystal ball. In addition to relying on your attorney, there are steps you can take when the unexpected happens. You can respond, rather than react.

Under good circumstances, family law matters are unpredictable. As we continue to deal with COVID-19, we are faced with an entirely new set of circumstances that we need to figure out on the fly. While we might not be able to stop something from happening, we can remain full control of what we do once it happens. We can respond. Or we can react. What’s the difference, you may ask.

When you “respond” you are making a deliberate, thoughtful, and constructive approach to whatever it is that may have occurred. A response is intended to acknowledge the situation and move you beyond it in a positive manner. A response should not add fuel to the fire. A response is about protecting your interests.

A “reaction” is different. When we react to a situation, it is often done spontaneously. That reaction is often driven by emotion: fear, anger, or resentment for example. These visceral reactions are entirely understandable but almost always counterproductive. Instead of advancing your own cause, you are giving the person that wanted to anger you or hurt you exactly what they want by being angry or being hurt. It is impossible to not have these feelings or experience these emotions, but you should not let them work against you. Take a deep breath, resist the urge to react. Take some time to review the situation with your attorney and develop a response. It can make all the difference.

About Sandy Durst

Sandy Durst, Esq., is the founding partner of The Durst Firm where he heads the Family Law Department. Individuals facing a divorce benefit from the combination of legal skill, common sense and compassion that Sandy brings to each and every matter. Each case is given the personalized attention it deserves.
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