In improv theatre, or certain acting exercises in regular theatre, we used to have this trope called “Yes, and.”
Yes and…” is about accepting the premise that someone has made an offer. You can use that as a starting point….then either:
* Build on it — adding your ideas, perspective, etc.
* Add a twist or new angle…
* Deepen it…and engage…..with a question, hypothesis, emotion, etc.
* Or if you must ‘reject it’ - start by first acknowledging the ‘offer’ and the inherent good parts (come on….there’s something you can find!)
How it works in an improv context, for example: someone says,
“I went to the store yesterday,”
and you say, “Yes, and you bought a can of peas.”
and they say, “Yes, and there was a peculiar mark on the outside of the can,”
and you say, “Yes, and i noticed it was the same as the one I found on the inside of my wrist this morning…”
and from there you build a story.
Or, whatever, not a wonderful example; point is, it’s different to going,
“I went to the store yesterday.”
“No you didn’t, you went to the circus.”
…because that just sort of makes it grind to a halt. And you might have had the best of intentions: oh, shit, the store, that’s boring, let’s go somewhere more exciting! but in fact, it’s better to just go with whatever it is and -add.- And if it sucks at the end of it, as it often does: hey, you start something else.