How often does that happen to us? We are in a discussion, someone makes a comment and we would really like to counter the argument… but of course, in the heat of the moment, words elude us.
In the past, I would just take that as “given”. I thought you had to be a born “smart-ass” to outwit the others.
Having a great response to any argument, though, is a skill you can learn.
It works best if you take the statement or criticism somebody made at face value, just assume you agree, run with it and then turn it up a notch. Accept and exaggerate.
Often, these responses can actually improve bonding between people. If they have a sense of humor. If not, they are not worth befriending anyway. This is serious business! Don’t you agree, my friend?
So becoming a good comedian takes time. Decades! But being just a little bit funny can nicely break the ice (this is the point where you either smile and agree with me or leave me while thinking about dumping a whole wall of ice on me).
Are you still there?
Great, because here is my list with witty comebacks and statements… possibly inspiring you to craft your own responses, if your mind normally stays empty.
#1 – “Yes, you already made that observation before.” – “See? Must have been a good observation then.”
This is more of a one-liner response.
At one time in a meeting, I was repeating an argument we had already discussed the week before.
And people were telling me: “I think you have already discussed that the past week.” -> to which I replied with the line above.
This example worked because the subtext was: ‘you were not paying attention’.
I disregarded that frame and instead ran with the words.
If we already discussed that point last week and it comes up again – it must have been a good point, right?
#2 – “As we see after quantifying our massive data set…” “Quantification is for people who don’t see a difference.”
This come-back points out that we can easily fall into the trap of over-analyzing something without paying attention if it makes sense in the first place.
If you are comparing two different conditions, and your assumption is that both conditions are different – but then you see they are not – the next step should not be using more sophisticated technology to analyse it.
You original idea was based on seeing a difference. If you have to strain to do that, it’s usually better to design your experiment in a different way.
The more you analyze, the less you have to say.
#3 – “It was so cold, the snow flakes were shivering on their way down.”
Here, you take a completely “normal” statement – “It was so cold” and then specify it by
(a) painting that statement into a picture;
(b) thinking about how you personally experience it – if it’s cold, you shiver; and then
(c) apply that experience to the picture you painted in (a).
Another version of this could be “It was so cold, the snow flakes slipped on the icy clouds and fell to the ground.”
#4 – “Kim-Yong Un is now building a hydrogen bomb, but nobody told him you use a different form of hydrogen to bleach your hair.”
This makes light of the rather scary fact that North Korea is building nuclear bombs – by connecting it to Kim-Yong Un’s vanity.
Which is actually an observation that is quite true, right?
#5 – “Somebody tell Paramount and CBS that suing a fan-movie is not an efficient way to retrieve ideas.”
They indeed are suing fan-fiction, which is ridiculous and actually pretty sad.
Especially because if they continued to make good movies, fans would not need to do “their own thing”.
#6 – “George R.R. Martin missed his “Winter” deadline, because he was totally snowed in with work.“
He indeed missed the deadline to deliver his next “Game of Thrones” book. Now the next season of the TV show has to commence on its own.
Which might actually give us the rare chance to eventually (?) read a book after the movie that is actually written by the original author.
#7 – “George R.R. Martin has still not finished writing “Winter”, because his pen is still depressed from killing so many characters.”
Once again, you personalize inanimate objects. This alone opens the door to absurdity.
It becomes cute and interesting, because it completely turns your thinking on its head.
#8 – “Let’s hope that in Star Wars VII, more than the snores will awaken the force.”
Just a simple rhyme. Why not? Star Wars VII has gotten mixed reviews. I actually haven’t seen it yet myself. So I am hoping that it’s gonna be good!
#9 – People in Oregon are the fastest talkers in the country, although shi-shi-shivering is still only one word no matter how co-co-cold it is.
I must somehow be fascinated by the winter.
#10 – I heard Starbucks now takes care of their employees’ housing – the wakeup call will be “one tall latte macchiato, please!”
Everyone likes coffee in the morning!
Bonus – The deadliest joke in the world
From Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
If you want to check out “Become an Idea Machine”, you can do so here.
Last challenge: Click me!
What is this challenge about? This link will teach you more.
And to get back to the main page, you can click here.
What’s your favorite joke?
Or do you have some witty responses?
Thanks for reading and let me know in the comments below!
(Images taken from Wikimedia Commons)