“What’s up” is a breezy, colloquial way of saying hello. But it’s also a greeting that can leave you stumped in the wrong situation (or, even worse, without being able to say anything at all).
In this post, we’ll give you some tips on how to best respond in these situations. Whether you want to be polite and informative or simply brush them off and move on, we’ve got you covered.
Read on to learn the best way to respond when someone greets you with “What’s up?”.
“I’m Good, Just Busy With Work and Life”
This response is a great way to let the person know you’re good without giving them too much information. It can be used in a variety of situations, for example:
- When you’re busy with your work or life and don’t have time for a lengthy conversation.
- When you’re chatting with someone online and want to end the conversation quickly before it gets too long
- When someone asks you how your day was and you just want to say, “Busy!”
The best part about responding with “I’m good, just busy…” is that it’s true! Everyone has something going on in their life that keeps them busy or stressed.
With this answer, you’re showing the other person that something is going on in your life too, even though they may not see it because they aren’t there!
“Not Much, What’s up With You?”
This is a common response you can use when you want to keep it casual. However, it’s not a good conversation starter.
At the very least, it doesn’t give the other person a clue about what’s going on in your life!
Instead of letting the conversation stall after this question-and-answer exchange, try asking something open-ended like, “What are you doing this weekend?” or “Do you have any fun plans?”
This will encourage them to share more about themselves and hopefully spark a real conversation between friends.
“Just Enjoying the Day/Night.”
You can say this when you’re at work and someone asks how your day was, or when you’re hanging out with friends, or even if you have had a terrible day and just want to rest.
This is a positive response because it keeps things simple and doesn’t hurt anyone if you go into too much detail about what happened in your life today.
It’s also an engaging response because it gives the other person something to respond to (if they want to), but it leaves some room for interpretation so they’re not forced to say something they might not want to say.
When you talk to your family members, this can be a response without being too sensitive – you acknowledge their questions without worrying them by telling them exactly how things went!
“Just Hanging Out at Home”
This answer gives the impression that you are just hanging out at home. You’re not going anywhere and you don’t have any plans, but you’re not doing anything special either. It’s kind of a routine day for you.
You might say this if:
- you’re at home and don’t want to do anything in particular for hours on end
- you want to give a vague answer without saying too much (or because you forgot)
- your friend has already asked what’s new with them
“I’m Doing Well, Thanks for Asking.”
This is a good answer. Use it when you feel comfortable, but not necessarily in the sense of “I’m fine.”
It can be used as an introduction or a sign-off.
If someone asks you how you’re doing, it’s a good way to start your response because it’s short and sweet and leaves them wanting more.
It’s also a good way to end a conversation if you want to call it quits mid-sentence without offending anyone – just say “Thanks for asking”.
This works equally well with strangers, colleagues, and friends because it lets them know you’re aware of their presence without requiring any extra effort on their part.
“I’m Good, Just Enjoying a Little Downtime.”
You’re not alone. Millions of people around the world experience downtime every day.
Downtime is the time when you’re not working or doing something that requires your focus and attention. It’s important to take a break from your routine to recharge your batteries.
Without proper downtime, our bodies may not heal properly, we might get sick more easily, and our minds may not able to focus on anything for more than five minutes without being distracted by thoughts of work or other obligations we’ve imposed on ourselves so we don’t feel guilty for not fulfilling them earlier in life (which only leads us back into that cycle).
There are many ways you can spend your downtime:
- reading a book
- watching Netflix
- playing video games
- volunteering at the local animal shelter
Whatever makes you happy!
“I’m Doing Great, Thanks for Asking!”
The person who asked did you a favor by taking an interest in your life, but there’s no need to go into detail about what makes you great.
You don’t have to tell them about the promotion you just got or how great your last project was.
It’s also polite and friendly to thank them for asking how you’re doing. Even if it’s not necessary (you could just say “Good!”), thanking the person makes them feel good and the conversation overall.
It can also help build strong relationships with others over time by showing our appreciation for those around us who take an interest in our lives (even if it’s just a little).
“Just Living Life One Day at a Time.”
This is the perfect answer if you want to be vague and mysterious. It’s like you’re saying, “Hey, I’m trying to live my best life right now,” but it doesn’t commit you to any particular answers or actions.
You might say this when someone asks you how your weekend was or what you’re up to tonight, “I’m just going with the flow!”
It works especially well as a response to questions about long-term goals or plans in general; basically, you can use it when someone asks you what you plan to do next, but you don’t want to give away any details yet.
“I’m Doing Alright, How Are You?”
The above sentence is an example of what’s called a “question tag response.” It’s a way of asking someone how they’re doing without actually having to ask them.
If you use them correctly, question tags can be used in both formal and informal situations, meaning they’ll work just fine with your boss or grandmother.
If you want to avoid sounding like a robot and still get the information you want, this is one way to do it!
You can also use the question tag response with friends or co-workers instead of family members.
“Pretty Good, Thanks for Asking.”
This is a short, polite answer you can give to people who are just being friendly. You can also use it when you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to talk.
This answer is especially good if the person asking is a stranger. If you’re nice to them, they’ll leave you alone!
If it’s a friend or family member and they seem genuinely interested in your well-being, try “Pretty good.” They’ll understand that you don’t want to talk about your feelings right now, but that everything is fine.
“I’m Feeling Thankful Today.”
If you want to express gratitude, happiness, positivity, or contentment, using this phrase is the perfect way to do it.
It can be used when someone has done something special for you or when things are going well in your life. It’s a great way to show that you’re grateful for what a person has done or that you care enough about them to share those feelings with them.
It’s also useful if something bad has happened in your life recently. While it’s not appropriate to say this phrase every day (especially if you’re under pressure), sometimes people need a little encouragement and support even when times are tough.
“I’m as Happy as a Clam”
You know the feeling of being “over the moon” or “on cloud nine,” but what about “happy as a clam“?
This idiom means that you’re in your element and feel happy and relaxed. You can use this phrase when you’re at peace with yourself or when you feel content. If someone asks you how you are and you say, “I’m happy as a clam,” it means that you’re fine and not worried.
“Life Is Good.”
This phrase can be used in a variety of contexts as it’s a positive response.
You can also use this phrase to express that you feel happy or satisfied with your life right now, whether it’s because something happened in your personal life or because another person did something for you that made you feel good.
When someone asks you how you are, try to respond with this phrase. This lets the person know that nothing bad has happened recently, but also shows that everything is fine with the current situation.
If something does go wrong later, the person knows not to expect a negative reaction to the conversation, as might be the case with other answers like “not good” or “bad.”
With friends and family members who know well enough about the other person’s life (and have talked about a problem before), this response should be fine unless they’ve specifically asked if something, in particular, is bothering them (e.g., “How are things at work?”).
“I’m on Top of the World!”
You can say this if:
- You have just completed a project.
- Your vacation plans have come together.
- You got a new job or a promotion.
- Your favorite sports team won an important game.
“Everything’s Coming up Roses.”
Well, first of all, it’s a play on words. You see, a rose is a flower and they have thorns. So the phrase means that everything is going well for you right now, but that there may be some difficulties along the way.
Example: If someone asks you, “How are things going?” and you say, “Everything’s coming up roses,” then they know that you’re doing well right now, but that it might not stay that way in the future (because of the thorns).
“I’ve Been Better, but I’m Doing Alright.”
This is a good answer if you’re feeling down and don’t want to talk about it. It’s honest but positive because it doesn’t focus on being sad or negative, which can help the person asking you feel a bit better.
“I’m Hanging in There.”
If you don’t feel like telling your whole life story, a simple answer like the phrase above is enough. This response is neutral and non-committal and can help avoid an awkward conversation.
You might also say this if you don’t feel like talking about it at the moment – for example, if someone asks before lunch or after work because they know everyone is busy. In these cases, saying “I’m hanging in there” sends the message that you’re fine without revealing what’s going on in your life.
Most people don’t want to talk to others about their problems because they don’t want to bother others with their struggles; that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
“I’m Fighting the Good Fight.”
That’s a positive way to respond to the question, “What’s Up?” It means that you’re in a difficult situation, but you’re trying to overcome it.
You’re determined not to give up and to do your best no matter what the circumstances are. You may not win, but you won’t lose either!
This may be an offshoot of the expression “fighting the good fight,” which means fighting with determination and perseverance for something worthwhile despite opposition or adversity.
“I’m Trying to Keep My Head Above Water.”
What it means: it’s an expression of difficulty. It can be used in many different situations, but usually, the person is trying to cope with a difficult situation.
She/he may also be feeling overwhelmed or stressed because she/he’s overworked or overwhelmed.
People who are struggling financially also often use this phrase when talking about their financial situation – for example, “I’m just trying to keep my head above water right now.”
This is especially true if you’re talking to someone who recently lost their job and needs help finding a new one quickly so they don’t lose their house or car.
“I’m Treading Water Right Now.”
If you say this to someone, you’re probably trying to be open about your current situation and/or lack of interest.
“What’s up?” is a casual way of saying hello or making small talk, so it’s not always an invitation for deep conversation.
When you say, “I’m treading water right now,” this means that you are doing what you need to do until your life gets better (or until your situation changes).
The expression comes from swimming – treading water means keeping your head above water without moving forward.
If you use this as a response to your friend, it could mean that you are working on your personal relationships and don’t have time for anything else. It could also be that you’re just letting your thoughts run wild while you’re busy with other things in your life.
“Just Hanging Out With My Favorite People”
You can use this phrase when you’re with a close friend or family member. You can also use this phrase to emphasize that you are with someone or some people you like.
When you use this phrase, you must make sure that your tone of voice matches the intended meaning of the statement. If you use it correctly, it sounds like a joke and comes across as humorous, but if you use it incorrectly, it could sound sarcastic.
“Aside From Breathing and Other Basic Bodily Functions, Not Very Much. What’s up With You?”
Sometimes it’s easy to just say “nothing,” but that can be a little too easy. You could try something like this instead.
This is a joking answer that works best when your friend isn’t in a hurry and feels like making small talk.
It’s also perfect if you don’t want to reveal what exactly is on your mind at the moment.
Because it gives the other person a chance to tell you something about themselves without having to ask anything else or go into detail – a win-win situation!
Some people like to respond with “the sky!” This is a silly response that you should only use when talking to someone you trust and are comfortable being silly with.
If it’s your sister, your best friend, or the owner of the flower store where you buy flowers every week – or even a co-worker – it might be appropriate.
However, it would never be appropriate in an email from your boss.
Your family members know that if they ask you how you’re doing and you say “the sky,” they’ll laugh at their joke, but they’ll also laugh at yours because you’re obviously doing well and just pretending that you’re not.
“I’m up to My Neck at Work.”
If you hear this response from a friend or family member, it’s best to respond with an understanding tone.
The person is probably very busy or stressed and may not be able to talk for long. You can also ask him or her how their day was so they can explain why they are too busy to talk now.
It could also mean that someone is working long hours and can’t take time off yet. So when this person says, “I’m up to my neck in work,” he or she may be trying to avoid a long conversation on the phone while in the office (or elsewhere).
“Do You Want to Catch Up Soon? I’m Free This [Day] at [Time] if That Works for You.”
This can be a good question, depending on how well you know the other person. If you and your friend have only talked once or twice, this question might be too much to ask – but if you’ve been friends for years, it might be perfectly fine!
In general, though, this question is better suited for people who are closer to each other in their relationship.
“What Do You Think?”
If you don’t know what to say, but also don’t want to give a direct answer, this is the perfect response. It gives the other person a chance to share their thoughts and feelings without being pressured to give a direct answer themselves.
You can then follow up with what you think about their answer or steer the conversation in a different direction. Use this when:
- You want to know what someone thinks about something (but are too shy or socially anxious)
- You want to hear another person’s opinion
- You don’t want to talk about something right now
“I Could Tell You, but Then I’d Have to Kill You.”
This is an example of a witty response to the question “What’s up?”. It can be used in a positive or negative situation.
It’s best used in a positive situation because you don’t want to seem too serious when responding positively (a little humor never hurt anyone).
However, if you respond negatively and want more information about what their plans consist of and why they maybe shouldn’t go through with them, it could be misconstrued by some people as rude and inconsiderate.
“What’s Up – Things Good at Work?”
This is a good answer to give to someone you know well or have known for a while. You’re both in the same boat, working hard and trying to get things done.
This question helps focus the conversation on their life and work – which is good because it draws them out of their thoughts and helps them relax. If they want to share more about their workday, they’ll let you know!
“What’s Up – How Was Your Weekend?”
When someone asks how your weekend was, they’re probably just trying to be polite. They want to know what happened while they were away from you and what conversations took place during their absence.
They want to know if there were any major developments in your life or if things stayed relatively quiet.
You can use this opportunity to socialize and share stories; after all, people love to talk about themselves! But don’t go overboard with the details – if your friend says they don’t want to hear about everything that happened over the weekend (or anything else), it’s time to change the subject!
“I’m Good. You?”
It can be used in so many situations and is a great way to strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know well enough to ask them about their life or their day.
It makes the person feel comfortable and heard and gives you a chance to get information from them without being too nosy or pushy.
And if they say something like, “Not bad! How are things going for you?” that opens up a lot of opportunities for further conversation!
“I’m Ok. Things Have Been Going Pretty Well for Me Lately. And What About You?”
This answer is perfect if you’re having a good day and want to share that with someone.
By sharing something about how you’re doing, you convey a positive attitude and create a connection with the person you’re talking to.
A follow-up question also opens the door for a longer conversation: “How are things going at work?” or “Have you heard back on your college applications yet?”
“Just the Usual. How About You?”
Sometimes you just want to respond with an equally vague answer. The answer “just the usual” can be a good way to do that. It’s also suitable for people you know well and who understand what you mean when you say it.
It gives your friend something more concrete than just saying “good.” They know enough about what life is like to be able to imagine what “good” means and to realize that your day today was nothing special – it was just normal!
Your Answer Doesn’t Have to Be Very Detailed to Be Sufficient
You don’t have to be overly detailed in your answer. There are many clever ways you can answer, but not all of them have to be super creative or sophisticated. You can choose from the following options:
- Be positive, even if the person hasn’t done anything special to deserve that response.
- Be honest with yourself and admit that you’re bored or irritated by the question.
- Tell her/him how you feel and what’s going on in your life right now.
- Express your gratitude for what the person said.
Answer With a Compliment
If you want to make a good first impression, you can respond with a compliment. If you don’t know what to say, here are some ideas.
Complimenting someone on their appearance can be personal, but it’s also safe territory if the person looks like they’d appreciate a compliment. Say something like “You look so beautiful” or “Your dress is so cute.”
Complimenting someone on their work can be difficult because it depends on what line of work they’re in and if they do something that’s high-stakes.
For example, if someone works as an architect or engineer, saying “I like your new building” may not go over well, since he/she probably designed the building themselves!
But if he/she works in another profession, such as retail or graphic design (which is easier for lay people to understand), then feel free to comment on his/her work with praise such as “I admire how fast you processed my order” or “Wow, the logo looks great!”.
Ask a Question in Response
When you receive a “What’s Up,” you may consider responding with a question. This keeps the conversation going and allows your friend to tell you more about their situation.
It’s also important that you ask an appropriate question. For example, if your friend says, “I have this dilemma,” it’s not very friendly or helpful to ask him or her what he or she’s going to do about it.
Instead, you should ask something related to the current situation (for example, “What kind of dilemma?”).
You should also make sure that your question isn’t too personal or intrusive (for example, “Why are you so confused?”).
Have a Good Balance of Positive and Negative Information
In the spirit of keeping things real, you should also tell people about your problems. This helps people understand that your life isn’t all sunshine and roses, but you have a positive outlook on things.
For example, if you’re dealing with an illness or financial problems, share how that’s affected your life and what steps you have taken to deal with it.
When you share these milestones with others, they have the opportunity to celebrate with you, support you, and empathize with where you are currently in life.
But don’t forget to balance out the negative aspects of your life by sharing good news, too!
Sharing good news not only keeps you in a positive mood but also helps build trust between friends by showing different sides of yourself (the badass side that can overcome anything).
How Well Do You Know the Person?
When answering the question “What’s up?” with someone you don’t know that well, a good rule of thumb is not to tell them too much about yourself.
When responding to “What’s Up” with someone you know well, like a co-worker or friend, it makes sense to ask them how they’re doing. This way you show interest in their life while remaining casual and friendly.
How Can You Keep the Conversation Going?
As the conversation continues, you may want to ask more questions about the person you are talking to. You can use these questions:
- How was your weekend?
- What did you do last week?
- Did anything exciting happen to you last year? (If so) Do you have any pictures or stories to share?
You can also ask questions about their family and friends. Ask them if they have any pets or plants they take care of.
Here are some examples:
- What kind of pets do they have?
- Are there any interesting stories about their pet(s)?
- Do they live with their parents/family members or do they live alone in an apartment/house somewhere else far away?
- Where did they vacation during the summer/winter vacations? Did it go well? Were there any difficulties on the trip (bad weather, etc.)?
Are You Enjoying the Conversation?
If you’re not enjoying the conversation, politely end it. It’s important to respect the other person’s time and make them feel comfortable talking to you.
If the person doesn’t enjoy talking to you, they probably won’t call you back or respond to your emails in the future.
On the other hand, if you enjoy it, keep going! You can continue indefinitely by preparing new topics if one runs out.
What Is Your Exit Strategy?
If you’re talking to someone and it becomes clear that the conversation isn’t going well, it’s essential that you back out gracefully.
Here are some suggestions on how you can do that:
- Say that you have to leave but that you hope to see the person soon: “I have to get back now, but I hope we can talk again soon.”
- Say that you have to leave because of an emergency: “I’m very sorry, but I’m needed elsewhere right now.”
- Thank them for talking to you: “It was nice talking to you! I’ll see what I can do to make sure we meet again soon.”
We hope this article has helped you understand the many different ways to respond and how they can affect the interaction.
Hopefully, the next time someone asks you this question, you’ll have an idea!
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