Ways To Respond To Getting-To-Know-You Questions You Can't Give A Direct Answer To
Sometimes you'll get a friendly getting-to-know-you question where you can't give the kind of answer the other person has asked for. For example, a friend asks what shows you've been watching lately, and you haven't seen anything recently because you've been too busy with school. Or a co-worker asks what your holiday plans are, and you don't have any yet.
Of course, you could truthfully say, "I haven't had a chance to watch TV much lately" or "We haven't figured out what we're doing for the holidays yet." That's a totally reasonable response. However, sometimes people worry that they're being boring or a poor conversationalist when they make replies like this. They think they're killing the vibe by not giving the kind of response someone was hoping to get - "They asked what I've been watching because they wanted to learn more about my tastes and talk about shows in general, but I killed the topic with my dud reply."
Quickly, here are a few ways to give a meatier answer to keep the topic alive, even if you can't provide exactly the kind of response that was asked of you:
Mention something similar you did in the past
- "I haven't seen any new movies lately, but the other month I saw _____."
- "I had to work this weekend, but last weekend we took the kids to the aquarium."
Mention something similar you plan to do soon
- "I've been too busy to watch TV lately, but when I'm done with exams I'm planning on catching up on _______."
- "This weekend was quiet, but next Saturday we're driving into the city to see a game."
Mention something related you're doing
- "I haven't seen any new shows lately, but I've been reading this True Crime book about ______"
- "I don't play any team sports, but I got back into swimming last year."
Mention other not-as-related things you've done
The thing you bring up may be a departure from the original subject, but still gives the other person plenty to respond to.
- "I haven't seen any shows recently. I've mostly been playing basketball with my friends in the evenings."
- "I haven't planned anything for the holidays yet. We're concentrating on getting our renovations wrapped up before everyone's on vacation."
Focus on them
- "I haven't seen any new shows. But you just said you watched _____? What did you think of it? What else have you seen? What's next on your list?"
- "I'm not on any teams right now. What's the league you're in like? How competitive or casual is it? Any interesting characters on your team?"