Magazine article Psychology Today

Asking for a Friend

Magazine article Psychology Today

Asking for a Friend

Article excerpt

YOU HAVE JUST met a lovely stranger and you want to make a good impression. How should you handle your end of the conversation? You could describe your recent promotion, new car, or impressive friends. Or you might keep things light and balanced, asking questions like, "What do you do?" and replying in kind.

Alternatively, you could ask many questions and spend more time responding to the other person's answers than you do offering your own.

Many people are reluctant to take the last approach, concerned that their questioning will come off as intrusive. But research on responsiveness-which includes perceiving others' feelings, respecting their points of view, and expressing caresuggested to Karen Huang and colleagues at Harvard University that asking more questions might actually improve perceptions of the asker. …

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