Best Responses

Unsure of What to Say? Craft the Perfect Reply to “What Do You Think of Me?”

Have you ever been caught off guard by someone asking ‘What do you think of me’? It’s a loaded question that can be tricky to navigate. In this guide, I’ll share proven strategies for responding with tact and insight – whether it’s your boss, best friend or budding romantic partner asking.

As someone who has coached hundreds of students and professionals on effective communication, I’ve heard my fair share of stories about fumbled answers to this question. In this post, I’ll share my best tips and techniques gathered over years of experience for navigating this situation with tact and thoughtfulness.

Stay Calm and Buy Yourself Time

One of the most important things is to not immediately blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. Take a beat before answering. You can say something simple like “That’s an interesting question. Let me think about how to answer it thoughtfully.”

This small pause allows you to collect your thoughts instead of potentially saying something you’ll regret. It also buys you a minute or two to craft a well-rounded response. The person asking will understand and appreciate you taking the time to give an considered answer rather than a knee-jerk reaction.

Focus on Observed Behaviors, Not Character Judgments

When describing what you think about someone, talk about specific behaviors and interactions you’ve witnessed rather than making broad characterizations. Phrase it as “From what I’ve seen…”

For example, instead of saying “I think you’re shy,” you could say “In the meetings we’ve had, you tended to let others speak first before sharing your perspective.” Focusing on concrete actions avoids coming across as judging the person’s entire personality or character.

It also gives the other person something tangible to reflect on rather than just your impression of them, which they may or may not agree with. Sticking to facts prevents assumptions and misunderstandings.

Incorporate Both Positives and Areas for Growth

One mistake people often make is only mentioning the positive things they’ve observed when answering this question. While it’s good to acknowledge strengths, the person is also likely fishing for constructive feedback on how they can continue improving.

Whenever possible, try to provide a balanced view incorporating both compliments andsuggestions. For example:

“I’ve noticed you’re very skilled at . One area I think could help your work even more is focusing on . But overall, your positive attitude and strong work ethic have really stood out to me.”

Giving a mix of positives and areas to develop shows you see the whole person, not just strengths or weaknesses in isolation. It also helps establish you as someone willing to have an open and honest dialogue.

Share an Example or Story for Context

Rather than just stating impressions, bring the discussion to a more personal level by sharing a relevant example, story or interaction as context. Painting a picture like this helps the person better understand where you’re coming from versus broad assessments.

For instance, you could say “I was really impressed by how you handled the X situation last month. The calm and thoughtful way you resolved the issue really showed your ability to think on your feet. Do you mind if I share that story as an example of something I value in our working relationship?”

Giving a specific situation grounds the feedback in reality versus vague feelings. It also allows follow up discussion versus leaving impressions undefined or open to misinterpretation.

Ask For Their Perspective As Well

Once you’ve shared thoughtful reflections on what you’ve observed, flip the question back and follow up by asking “How would you describe yourself? What do you think are your strengths and areas for growth?”

Doing this achieves a few important things:

  • It makes the discussion a two-way dialogue versus you doing all the analyzing
  • Allows the person to provide context you may not be aware of
  • Shows you value their viewpoint as equally important
  • Prevents coming across as too judging or critical of them

Getting their perspective balances out your impressions. It’s a respectful way to have a full exchange rather than leaving them with just your analysis of who they are.

Some Best Replies:

Positive reply
“I’ve always admired your friendly and optimistic spirit. It’s easy to see why others gravitate towards you. One small area I think could help is being a bit more open about struggles, but overall you add so much positive energy to any group.”

Balanced response:
“You approach problems with great mental acuity and dedication. At times I think focusing too much on precision can slow your progress, but your focus on quality is also an asset. It’s been great learning from your different perspective on projects.”

Thoughtful feedback:
“You bring such creative solutions to problems. At the same time, getting buy-in from others on big ideas can be challenging without fully explaining your reasoning. I respect your bold thinking and hope we can brainstorm how to better align others with your vision.”

Growth-focused reply:
“Your dedication is inspiring. An area that may help your leadership is soliciting more input early on from diverse views. But your ability to motivate others never fails to impress me. Keep being your wonderful self while also strengthening relationships.”

Honest yet kind response:
“At times nerves can cause you to miss key details, but your meticulous follow through more than makes up for it. Don’t be so hard on the small stuff – you’re fantastic at the work. Let’s find ways to boost your confidence in those early steps too.”

Respond to “What Do You Think About Me” From a Colleague or Friend

While the above tips apply to anyone asking this question, your relationship with the person changes how you may want to tailor your response. Here are some additional guidelines when answering a colleague or friend:

Acknowledge Your Close Working Relationship

If a colleague asks, you can start by recognizing the time you’ve worked together. Something like “As someone I’ve collaborated with closely on projects…” helps establish your familiarity without coming across as too familiar.

Mention Both Professional and Personal Qualities

With colleagues you interact with beyond just work, discuss strengths you’ve seen both in job duties as well as personality traits. For instance “You bring a great problem-solving skills to the team. But outside of projects, I also admire your friendly and encouraging nature.”

Focus On Honesty But Avoid Harsh Criticisms

When providing feedback to a colleague, be forthright while ensuring your criticisms are not harsh or accusing. Instead of claiming “You’re disorganized”, for example, frame any areas of improvement around helping them work more efficiently. A phrasing like “Streamlining your workflow may help free up additional time and energy” constructs the discussion around supporting their growth, as opposed to personal faults or shortcomings. The goal is to have an honest dialogue that is also respectful and aims to strengthen the relationship.

Consider Them A Close Ally and Well-Wisher

With colleagues, discuss areas to improve with the goal of helping not hurting. Your aim is to see them succeed, not fail. Say things like “Let me know if you ever want feedback on X – I’m here as an ally to help you grow.”

Respond to “What Do You Think About Me” From a Romantic Prospect

If this question comes up during early dating stages, be even more thoughtful in your reply. Here are some tips:

Focus On Surface Qualities They Can Control

Avoid analyzing internal traits like personality. Instead discuss things like appearance, shared interests and enjoyable traits they exhibit. This prevents coming across too strong too soon.

Emphasize What You Enjoy About Time Together

Talk about fun experiences you’ve shared and qualities that made interactions pleasant versus criticizing who they fundamentally are as a person.

Be Honest But Give Benefit Of Doubt Where Possible

Don’t lie to spare feelings but don’t judge without understanding context either. Phrase concerns positively and assume best intentions versus personal faults.

Express Interest In Learning More About Them

Recognize it’s still early and you look forward to continued dates to develop understanding versus feeling you fully know them already. Come from place of curiosity, not authority.

The goal in early dating phases is leaving a good impression, not psychoanalyzing. Focus on fun, positivity and interest in one another versus criticism or assumptions.

Respond to “What Do You Think About Me” From a Family Member or Significant Other

With close family or romantic partners, candor is expected but still do so respectfully. Here are approaches that work best:

Start With What You Appreciate Most About Your Relationship

Provide valuable context by emphasizing mutual care, respect and strengths that brought you close before addressing what could improve.

Be Direct Yet Gracious With Feedback

Be upfront while softening delivery through compliment sandwich method versus unalloyed criticism. Phrase feedback invitations to grow versus personal judgments.

Discuss Wanting Relationship To Flourish For Both

Come from place of supporting their growth and happiness too versus just addressing behaviors impacting you alone. Show partnership.

Solicit Their Perspective And Feelings Fully

Make it a two-way dialogue to understand how actions affect loved one and how they think relationship could further thrive. Compromise together versus conflict.

With family, honesty must be balanced with compassion to strengthen bonds despite imperfections. Frame feedback as desiring closer bond versus faults alone.

Some Replies to “What Do You Think About Me”

Here are a few example responses incorporating the tips shared:

Colleague:

“As someone I respect and enjoy collaborating with, I’d say your openness to new ideas and cheerful attitude have really enriched our team dynamics. One small area that could help is being a little less hard on yourself when things don’t go perfectly – your strengths far outweigh any minor slip ups. Overall I feel lucky to work with such a skilled and fun person.”

Friend:

“I’ve always appreciated your playful spirit and ability to help others feel at ease. You have a gift for bringing levity to any situation! One thing I’ve noticed is sometimes when plans change last minute you seem more stressed than needs be. But that’s a small thing – overall you bring so much joy and support to our friend group, which I’m grateful for.”

For a Boy:

  • “I appreciate your go-getter attitude and enthusiasm. While your adventurous spirit can get you into trouble at times, it’s also what makes you so fun to be around. Just try not to let your competitive side cause too many arguments with the guys.”
  • “It’s great being able to talk sports and games with you. You have a very laidback personality. Maybe open up more about what’s really on your mind beyond just surface level stuff though.”

For a Girl:

  • “Your caring nature and smile light up any room. While I know insecurities plague us all at times, please don’t let them stop you pursuing your dreams and being your radiant self. You possess many qualities and talents that could positively impact those around you.”
  • “I admire your creativity and fashion sense. Your playful spirit is infectious! When worries creep in though, don’t forget all the ways you uniquely shine and make people happy.”
  • “Your kindness towards others is admirable. As is your playful laugh. Going forward though, make sure not to lose sight of caring for yourself too through open communication of how you truly feel inside.”
  • “It’s been so fun learning about makeup and shows with you. Your friendly spirit wins over anyone. In the future though, stand up more for what you want rather than just going along to get along.”

Significant Other:

“Spending time with you is always an adventure – your curiosity and enthusiasm for life never fail to brighten my day. While I love your passionate nature, there are times it makes communicating feelings difficult. Maybe we could work on really listening to understand each other fully before problem solving. I know relationships take effort, and want ours to continue flourishing through open conversation. You also bring out my silly side like no one else can! Overall I feel so lucky that you’re by my side as a loving partner.”

Related: How to Respond to Thank You?

FAQs About Responding to “What Do You Think of Me”

What if I don’t have anything nice to say?

Be honest but kind. Focus on a few positives if possible before noting concerns, and discuss behaviors not character. Suggest areas of improvement respectfully versus criticism. Make it a chance for growth, not judgment.

What if they won’t accept any feedback?

Acknowledge perspectives differ and you’re sharing your truthful observations to further understand each other. Reassure it comes from care and desire to strengthen connection. If still resistant, respect boundaries but maintain open dialogue remains important.

H3. How can I make sure not to offend?

Check tone conveys care over criticism. Focus on actions not identity. Provide an example for context. Give feedback kindly not harshly. Note intentions versus impacts. Make “I feel” statements. Ask about their views too. And emphasize desire for healthy relationship above all else.

What if they ask me first thing in a meeting/call?

In a professional context, you can gently acknowledge a pause is needed given the question’s thoughtfulness. Offer to revisit after addressing meeting goals so full focus remains there. Follow up after with a considered, balanced response privately.

How often should I bring up the question again?

Let the initial discussion conclude fully before revisiting. Periodic informal check-ins maintain dialogue. But avoid repeatedly raising the topic as an interrogation versus an invitation for caring feedback mutually shared confidentially in appropriate settings.

Conclusion

In summary, responding to “what do you think of me” requires grace, honesty and care. The goal is providing thoughtful perspective respectfully, not condemnation or flattery. Focus discussions on observed behaviors versus character attacks or assumptions about who someone fundamentally is. Incorporate both strengths and growth areas while keeping connections as the priority over individual opinions. With practice, we can all get better at these important conversations that strengthen self-awareness and important bonds.

While it may feel daunting in the moment, you now have the tools to handle this question with thoughtfulness and grace. Embrace it as an opportunity to express care, offer insight, and deepen your connection with others. With practice, you’ll be able to have open conversations that bring you closer to those who matter most.

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