Alex Curran
By Alex Curran
5 Min Read

But how can you, as the person concerned, react “emotionally intelligently” to such provocations? Well, it depends on the situation and the context. If it is a serious provocation or just a fight over sportsbook Canada.


Emotionally intelligent people always try to understand their counterparts in conflicts. Therefore, before you react to the provocation, try to change your perspective. 

So when you are provoked, it could be that the “perpetrator” is having a bad day, that he wants to attack you personally, that he sees you as a competitor, that he does it unintentionally, or that he wants to get rid of some dissatisfaction that has nothing to do with you in the first place. So until you know the motives for provocation, do not react to it, but try to find out the motives.


If you still have the urge to give the provocateur a piece of your mind, make a snide comment, or respond in some other way, first take a deep breath. Think before you speak! And don’t forget to take your counterpart’s perspective and think about how your reaction will come across. After all, you want to de-escalate the situation instead of aggravating it. Therefore, get into the habit of taking a deep breath before each sentence. This automatically decelerates your response and you choose your words wisely.


As soon as you talk back, react aggressively or are offended, you have reached the next escalation level of the conflict. Depending on the provocation, try to give in first. 

Of course, it always depends on the individual case whether this strategy makes sense or not. If your counterpart is getting worked up about the fact that you have the better desk, you might be able to switch. If, on the other hand, you are constantly interrupted in a meeting, you should not simply accept this.


So, should you decide not to give in, it’s still imperative that you remain calm in your response. A professional tone and clear boundaries are important to prevent the dispute from escalating. Give your counterpart the feeling that you truly want to understand the motives for the provocation.


The best way to do this is by asking questions. So you should always listen more than you talk. Ask the arguer why he said or did this or that, what reaction he would like you to have, or where exactly the problem originated. Many people are not used to having to think about and explain their actions. They do not expect such a calm and objective reaction from their counterpart. The questions therefore primarily serve the self-reflection of the provocateur. Perhaps he will change his behavior as a result of this on his own and without further outside intervention. Otherwise, you at least have the chance to better understand the provocation and accordingly develop a suitable “strategy” to react to it appropriately. 


Whatever your reaction, you should remain authentic. This doesn’t mean that you should go berserk and yell, because you are a choleric person and therefore authentic. Of course, you have to keep your composure and behave professionally on the job. However, you should not “give in” or allow yourself to be insulted day in and day out just for the sake of peace. So it’s a matter of setting your personal boundaries and demanding that they be respected.


Maturity is an important keyword. In most cases, high emotional intelligence goes hand in hand with a certain degree of personal maturity. Therefore, set a good example and take a step toward the provocateur. Take on the role of a role model and try to resolve the conflict at the level you have created through the last six strategies. If you act maturely, you can recognize your own misconduct, you present yourself as capable of dealing with conflict, authentically and empathetically, and you apologize to the provocateur if misconduct has occurred on your part. This takes the wind out of your opponent’s sails and gives you a good chance of de-escalating the conflict.

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