“How so?”: & Other Gambits to Keep You out of Holiday Hot Water

As many of you know, I am a super-fan of NPR; within the NPR family I am deeply and profoundly obsessed with Joshua Johnson from 1A.

In addition to swooning over his e.x.q.u.i.s.i.t.e enunciation and learning copious amounts from his well-chosen guests, I inevitably pick up a few incredibly helpful phrases for coping with people who might be unclear, confrontational, or longwinded (not to mention the tiniest bit whiny.)

On the off chance you find yourself in a few conversations of this kind over your holiday punch bowl, I gift you with three of my most recent favorites:

“How so?”:

This is one I love for its ability to be both innocuous and confrontational. (A heady mix!)

In its benign incarnation it’s a serviceable alternative to “Tell me more,”; when offered in a more feisty tone, it’s a diplomatic way to follow up when someone says something you find preposterous.

“I don’t want to camp out here too long”:

This is one I love for use when you need to gently, gently move the conversation along to a new topic and/or to include others’ points of view in the topic at hand.

“It starting to feel like weeds are taking over the garden.”:

While most people turn up with holiday grins, a few also bring their holiday gripes. Should this this occur, I recommend this gentle way of pointing out that the dialogue has become unproductive.


** If you enjoyed this post you might also like, “Be a Thermostat, Not a Thermometer”