Instant Response Too

Image by Michael Treu from Pixabay

This is a follow up to the “Instant Response” I posted before, which unexpectedly has gained more comments than my other posts. Let’s walk through the incident again. Last Thursday ago, I went to Walmart to get my second Moderna vaccine shot. The pharmacist, also an immigrant who’s of Middle Eastern descent, explained to me the side effects and how I should deal with it–drinking more water and getting more sleep and taking pain killer etc. During or after his speech, I didn’t say anything. If he’s a native speaker, he would expect me to say something in response, but since he’s a non-native speaker just like me, I behaved as my old self–be silent. He was very comfortable with my silence. So what should I have said if he’s a native speaker? Here is a list of possible things you can say in reciprocation even if you don’t have anything to say:

  • “Sure.”
  • “Cool.”
  • “I hear you.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “I hate when that happens.” This can probably be said when the pharmacist explained that there might be aches somewhere.
  • “Thank you for explaining this.”
  • “I will do that.”
  • “Nice to know.”
  • “I can live with that.”

After he finished his speech, I asked him if he felt any side effect after getting the vaccine. He explained to me his minor aches in his upper arm and a little headache, which he slept off. Again, I didn’t say anything during or after his little monologue and we are both very comfortable with this. What should I have said in response if he’s a native speaker?

  • “Good for you.”
  • “Lucky for you.”
  • “I wish I am as lucky as you are.”
  • “That’s nice.”
  • “I appreciate you telling me this.”

Some comments for the previous post say that almost all the responses I compiled are sarcastic. And this is probably true. I have to say even the most positive reciprocation like “that’s interesting” sounds sarcastic. Does this mean every possible instant response have a tinge (or connotation) of sarcasm in it? I hope not, although I am not so certain. I am not a native speaker to begin with. Are the following responses sarcastic, friendly, polite, rude, strangely formal, or strangely informal?

  • “It’s interesting.”
  • “It’s a shame.”
  • “Knock yourself out.”
  • “I sympathize.”
  • “That’s something.”
  • “Are you happy?”
  • “It looks adorable.”
  • “That’s unbelievable.”
  • “I am listening.”
  • “No kidding.”
  • “Go ahead.”

22 thoughts on “Instant Response Too

  1. Honestly, they could be sarcastic or completely genuine. It could go either way depending on how the phrase was said. To be fair pretty much anything can sound sarcastic if said in a sarcastic manner including this comment lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s the difficult part. I’m often puzzled and can’t pull things off. My growing up process was too painful for me that to this day I couldn’t interact with people normally without thinking of being scolded and judged. I don’t think I should attempt to be funny, but I will be happy that other people try it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tone and body language determine what words mean. In the book The Virginian, an old friend hugged him and called him a son of a bitch but when someone in a poker game used the same words to address him, he replied with words like, “You’d better be smiling when you call me that.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The secret Haoyan is the tone you use along with your body language when delivering any of these words. This will tell the receiver whether what you are saying is sarcastic or not. When we say something, how the words are received is roughly broken down as follows: the words used: 7%; tone 38%; body language 55%. When all else fails, politeness is best: β€œI appreciate you telling me this,” delivered with a positive tone and open body language
    (No crossed arms, frowning, turning side on etc). This does take practice, even for native speakers 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s so true. One has to be in a certain kind of tone, manner, facial expression in order to pull that sarcasm off. It is very difficult for people from other cultures to mimic. So my theory is try to find one’s own style and try not to mimic without consider all the repercussions. For me, a person who don’t smile much and tend to be silent, I can’t say any sarcastic things for fear of people’s misinterpretation. It is so much better online when typed words dominate. LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so true. Since I am quite silent and don’t smile much, I have to be very careful not to show any sign of sarcasm in case people misinterpret. It is so much better online when I can type to convey messages.


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