Responding to questions positively can be super-effective at both shifting our mindset towards a more optimistic and positive outlook, and build more harmonious relationships.
You probably can’t reply to every question or statement positively, but researchers have shown that when we start replying to people more positively, relationships improve, we collaborate more successfully, and both parties in the conversation feel better about the transaction.
What we can do is change responses from purely negative, into reasonably positive. For example replying to a: “Can you do this please?” question with: “I might be able to do that in an hour… yeah when I’ve finished this urgent thing“, instead of: “… … No.”
When practicable, we can even re-frame negative responses entirely positively. This was shown to be extremely effective with children. For example:
“Can I go and do X, Y, Z?“
“Yes, we can do that straight after lunch” sounds a sounds a lot more reasonable than an unjustified “No.“
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