If You Want to Come Back Witty, Be Careful

The best witty lines use someone else’s words against them, but you can’t do that if you don’t hear what they say. When it comes to conversation, a sharp mind means being a good listener.

Abigail Paul, artistic director of the Theater Language Studio (TLS), says most of us don’t listen to the whole message when someone else speaks. We are too busy thinking about our thoughts and planning what we want to say. But according to Paul, for a witty comeback, you need to quickly respond to what has already been said. Timing is everything, and you can only shoot fast enough if you pay close attention to every word. Otherwise, your brain will have to switch from planning the next thought to the actual cue, and by then it will be too late – all that comes out is “well, well …” And if you know someone who regularly makes snide remarks, it is very important to listen carefully and return their words back.

The Secret of Savvy Comeback | BBC via Science of Us


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