How to Answer a Question

Options Your Mother Probably Didn't Teach You!
Things Your Mother Probably  never Taught You or How to Say What You Mean Without Getting Mean!

by Holly Myers

Did you know?

When someone asks you a question, you have a range of answers to choose from:

Start by taking a breath and scanning your mind for your options.

There are 4 basic choices:

Let’s say the question is:

Are you available on Thursday at about 7 PM?  

Megan and I are going to the mall and thought you might like to join us.

Remember :  take a breath and think this through…

1.    YES. I’d like that.

Only if it REALLY is a YES and it works for you.  Promise not to get resentful. After all, YOU are the one doing the choosing!

2.    NO.

This is especially useful if:

·         you have other priorities you choose to address,

·         the offer is not  of interest to you

·         you just don’t want to do that

·         the particular question feels  invasive or  not something you wish to  


·         you already have an appointment – with yourself –  at that time

Please remember that you do not have to explain yourself, or justify a no.

“That doesn’t work for me” –  (because it doesn’t work for me )  is enough.


There is no requirement for an instant answer.  You are entitled to time to reflect. It’s especially helpful to come up with a ‘by when’ to respond and then to honor that, as  in –

"Let me get back to you on that.  I can let you know by noon tomorrow. Does that work for you?"  

Then set a tickler in your phone or calendar and respond inside the time frame you stated.


This is especially useful when the specifics of the offer itself don’t suit you – but you ARE interested and wish to participate. For example, Thursday doesn’t work for me THIS week, but I could be available NEXT Thursday…  Would that work for you?

When we check in with ourselves first, it is much easier to say what we mean, mean what we say and do it all without getting MEAN or resentful !!

Holly Myers, MSW, LCSW, Holistic Psychotherapist,    

Coaching / Counseling Sessions available by appointment. Most health insurances accepted.  Contact me…




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