When you’re listening to someone tell you a story, how do you show that you’re following?
Polite responses in conversations are one of the important ways of handling communication. So it is when you listen to someone tell you a story.
Whether you like it or not, the way you respond will affect the narrator as well as how they tell the story.
So, how do you politely respond when someone tells you about an event? In this article, I’ll be dealing with 20 polite ways to respond when someone tells you a story.
Leverage Expressions to Show That You’re Interested
There are different ways to show you’re interested when someone tells you a story. Your body language is one of the key ways to show that you’re interested in the conversation.
Positive body language is vital in achieving a successful conversation. Apart from your body language, there are certain expressions to use that show that you’re interested in the story.
Negative body language like keeping the eyes on other things while someone talks to you can affect how the conversation turns out.
It can even end a conversation abruptly because it shows a lack of interest. So, positive body language is a polite way of responding when someone tells you a story.
Below are some of the positive body language to use when someone tells you a story:
Turn Your Body Towards Them
You wouldn’t want to be saying something important to someone who is responding while facing some other direction.
So, while someone narrates a story to you, you’re to give your full attention by turning your body towards them. In this way, you’re assuring the person that you’re ready to listen.
Maintain Good Eye Contact
Good eye contact doesn’t entail staring someone to death. When someone talks to you, it’s good to have good eye contact but don’t over-stare.
Over-staring would make the other person uncomfortable. So, once in a while look at other areas of the face and not just the eyes.
- Use the Wow word!
This expression is one of the common ways of expressing interest when someone converses with you.
“Wow!” is a versatile word and depending on your tone, it can also show disappointment.
So, if you want to show interest or a pleasant surprise in what the person tells you, you’d have to use a positive tone also.
- Use the word “Interesting!”
“Interesting” is another expression to use when someone talks to you about their day or tells you about an incident you find interesting.
Using this response will show you’re following, it’ll show you’re intrigued by what they say, and also show that you’d love to hear more.
However, your tone and body language will do more of the work. You can also use this word and it’d sound sarcastic or the person may read boredom in your tone.
So, you’d need to use a tone that shows you have interest in what they say and an expression that shows that.
- Use the “Nice!” word
This is another expression that works like the above examples to show your interest in what is being said.
Here, it doesn’t mean kind, but it shows you are paying attention to the narration. Also, it can work like “well done” to show you’re impressed by what’s being said.
For instance, if your friend tells you they came first in a race, you can respond with “nice’ to show you’re impressed.
- Use the “Cool” word
“Cool” is another expression that shows interest in a conversation or what’s being told.
When your friend tells you a story, this is a great way of responding politely to show you’re following.
It also works like “nice” and “wow” to show that you like what the speaker says.
Use Expressions that Show Surprise
When someone narrates a story, the element of surprise is one of the things that you’d experience.
So, if you are following the conversation properly, there are certain expressions you can use to politely respond to show your surprise.
In work environments, school environments, and many commercial settings; “really” is a phrase that’d naturally flow to express your surprise if you were following a conversation attentively.
In addition, this phrase can also express doubt. If you’re unsure about any information the person is narrating, “really” is the expression to use.
- You Don’t Mean It!?
This is another phrase that expresses surprise at what’s being said. Usually, people say this when they find a piece of information doubtful or when taken by surprise.
So, when someone narrates an event to you, this expression can serve as one of the polite responses you can give to show you’re listening.
This statement has two punctuation: the question mark and exclamation mark (interrobang) to show it’s asking a question and also having the element of surprise.
So, when you use this expression, the speaker can either choose to answer the question or not.
Here is an example:
- A- I saw Mike at the mall today
- B- you don’t mean it!?
- A- of course I do, he asked of you.
- This is Crazy
Here, you’re also showing that you find a piece of information surprising or unbelievable.
It’s a good way to keep a conversation going because it shows full interest in the topic being conversed.
So, if someone tells you about an event, this is one of the expressions you can use to politely respond.
Use Expressions that Indicate Approval
When someone tells you about an event that had taken place and their involvement, it’s normal if you express your approval or not.
In the case where you’ve to show your approval, there are certain phrases you can use. This can serve as a way of politely responding whenever people narrate events to you.
- I Love This
“I love this” is a very good and straightforward way of showing that you approve of something.
When you tell someone that you love what they told you or showed you, it’ll make them happy.
So, when someone tells you about something and you approve of it, you can use this phrase to convey how you feel.
Probably, they might have come to you with the story to hear what you think about it. So, this is a polite response you can use.
- Nice One
This is another simple way to show that you approve of something. When someone comes to you with a story of how they reported an ugly incident, you can say this to show your approval.
It’s a great response to use while someone converses with you to show that you’re following.
Here, you’re also showing that you are okay with what you’re being told. It’s a good and polite way of responding to something that makes you comfortable.
Here is an example:
- A- today, I craved so much for Domino Ice cream, so I called Frank, and guess what? He’s taking us out
- B- perfect!
- That Makes Sense
This is another expression to use when you want to show that you agree with the speaker’s decision.
It’s a good way of following up on a conversation and responding politely. “That makes sense” is a positive response that’d give the speaker confidence in what they say.
So, you should use this as part of the response you give when someone narrates a story to you. It’ll encourage them to continue in a positive spirit.
Use Expressions to Agree
When you agree with the narrator, there are phrases you can use to show that you agree.
Agreeing when someone talks to you is one of the ways to politely respond and keep the air friendly.
- I Totally Agree
When you agree with someone, saying it directly is one of the ways to show your agreement.
“I totally agree” is a strong statement that affirms what you believe in. When someone narrates a story to you and there’s a part that sits well with you, you can use this response to show you agree.
- You are Right
This is another good way of responding politely when someone talks to you about anything.
It could be about their day, or any incident they meet on their way, if you agree with a part, you can tell them they are right.
In addition, saying this statement will keep the conversation going as it tells the speaker you understand what they’re talking about.
- I Think So Too
“I think so too” will also show that you’re on the same page with the speaker.
When you agree with a point in what the speaker is saying, this response will convey how you feel very well.
In addition, not only does it shows your agreement, it shows you’re following the narration well.
Use Expressions to Show You Are in Doubt
There are times you might want to show that you’re skeptical about what you’re being told. It’s not everything that’s being said that you agree to just because you want to be polite.
You can also show your disagreement or doubt politely.
- You Think So?
This question will convey your doubt about what’s been said.
If someone narrates a story or says something that doesn’t sit well with you, you can use this question to show that you’re not with them.
Also, responding to this question will show that you’re following the narration well.
- A- I saw Helen today and I believe she’s pregnant
- B- hmm, you think so?
- A- Yea, she looks swollen
- Are You Sure?
If you have a feeling that there’s something wrong with what the speaker is narrating, you can ask this question to make them confirm their story again.
Also, you can use this question to try to convince the speaker that there may be something wrong with what they’re saying.
Use Expressions to Show Sympathy
When someone narrates a sad incident, you’d need to show your sympathy with the right expression.
In this way, they’d know you’re with them fully.
- Oh No!
When someone says something bad you are not expecting, “oh No” is one of the ways to respond to convey your emotions.
- A- my dog died last night
- B- oh no! It greeted me in the afternoon and it looked so healthy
- That’s Sad
This simply tells that you find the story sad. It’s a straightforward way of expressing your sadness about the news the speaker tells you without being dramatic.
- A- my dog died last night
- B- that’s sad. It looked so healthy yesterday
- That Sucks!
“That’s sucks” is an expression you can use in a situation that isn’t very serious.
It can show that you’re following the narration as well as show that you sympathize with them.
- A- would you believe my ice cream melted before I could get to the house? And my fridge is yet to be fixed!
- Ouch! That sucks!
Responding politely when someone tells you a story is very important. However, trying to be polite doesn’t mean you don’t have to share how you feel about the story being shared.
There are countless ways to share your thoughts without being rude and the above are good examples to use.
So, feel free to use any of the expressions to respond to someone who narrates an incident to you. Also, remember to use the right body language and tone.