I know this has been discussed before, but I'm wondering what you've come up with that you feel works and isn't mean or dismissive. We were poking gentle fun of someone at work, and the one friend I really talk to said, "hey, Jen, you can use that in your stand-up!" It's sweet when everyone goes, "Oh, you're doing stand-up? Let us know where and when!" (especially considering I haven't even gone up my first time yet) but then ... the suggestions start. Off the top of my head, all I could think of to say was, "yeah, I really don't want to talk about work in my off time" and "it doesn't work that way".
You've all been there. I've been there. My gut reaction veers between "do I seem desperate for material to you?" and "do I tell you how to raise your kids / play WoW?" So, in other words, I don't want to rely on my gut reaction. Well, maybe in the case of people I don't like, like my old roommate, who would say the most offensively hacky shit, offer it to me, and I would tell him he would make it to the borscht belt one day! But people I like - it's one of those inexplicable impulses people have. Can you explain it? What have you learned to say to people that you're happy you came up with?