Man is a social animal who interacts with various individuals on a personal and professional level. While some of these interactions result in positive outcomes, there will be others that end badly. Certain people can provoke or instigate others to react in an unfavorable manner which can result in destroying personal and professional relationships. While this is accidental in many cases, some people attain a cheap sense of satisfaction by pushing people’s buttons. Gossip mongers achieve a wildly sadistic pleasure when watching others react as they get angry or frustrated.

The most efficient and effective way to deal with such people is by “RESPONDING WITHOUT REACTING”. A violent or anger-filled reaction is something which is expected. But a confident and calculated response is completely unexpected and it will certainly throw the provocateur off-guard leaving them completely perplexed and confused.

There are many ways in which we can respond to a situation. Once we have heard what the other person said:

  1. Take a deep breath and internally count to 10
  2. While breathing, assess your feelings about what you have heard – anger, surprise, shock etc. but do not reveal them under any circumstances
  3. Acknowledge what you have heard
  • “Really, that’s nice to know”
  • “I didn’t know that, thanks for telling me”
  • “Interesting fact”.
  1. Respond calmly in clear and measured tones
  • “I’m sure it is a misunderstanding”,
  • “I am confident that was not what he/she said”,
  • “Let me consider the matter and see how it should be handled”,
  • “That’s fine. I am confident of finding better options”.
  • “I am sure that was not their intention”
  1. Thank the provocateur since their stated intention was to help you
  2. Walk away with a big smile


Provocateurs are those who house loads of discontent and dissatisfaction regarding themselves and their confidence levels are usually very low. They try to spread that mentality amongst those around them by pushing their buttons and instigating them. While such people cannot be avoided, the toxicity of their actions can definitely be contained by “CONFIDENTLY RESPONDING WITHOUT REACTING”.



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