Would you go with me to the Smith’s party?
a. “Why would I want to do that?”
b. “I hate the Smiths.”
c. “I’d be uncomfortable since I don’t know anyone.”
d. “No way!”
e. “I’d rather not.”
f. “Are you kidding me?”
g. “Only if you don’t ignore me like usual.”
In this multiple choice, there are two acceptable answers. Let’s first go through the ones that don’t work:
a. This response is a rhetorical question which has a critical edge to it.
b. You may dislike the Smiths but the response is harsh, especially if your partner likes the Smiths. In that case, your partner could feel criticized for liking the Smiths.
d. This defensive response shuts down the conversation.
f. This response is a rhetorical question which criticizes your partner for even asking the question.
g. This response criticizes your partner for typically ignoring you at parties
The most effective responses are:
c. A nice self-disclosing response, being somewhat vulnerable by expressing one’s feelings.
e. This is not quite as skilled as c) since it doesn’t explain the reason for not wanting to go, but is adequate since it expresses one’s position without criticism.