A few years ago I took a vow not to say “What.” It can be extremely annoying to hear another person state this question too often, and increased “whats” seem to accompany the human aging process. I now try to say something different every time: Sorry. Sorry, I didn’t hear that. Could you please repeat that? I heard the first two words, I missed the rest. The sink was running, I didn’t hear you. Did you say something? What did you say? Please tell me what you just said? Do you still love me?
You get the idea.