How to Respond to “What’s Up?” (15+ Clever Ways)

“What’s up?” is a popular slang phrase that people use in text messages and social media as an informal greeting. It can be used as an icebreaker or to ask about someone else’s day.

Here are clever ways to respond to this question:

Susan Trombetti

Susan Trombetti

Relationship Expert and Matchmaker, Exclusive Matchmaking

“Having a great day! What about you?”

When someone texts “What’s Up,” they don’t literally mean to ask you what you are doing necessarily at this moment. It’s more along the lines if they just texted “Hey,” but then that would sound a little like not a complete thought or effort, and “what’s up” sort of works a bit better.

It’s like when a salesperson asks, “how are you doing?”

You wouldn’t give them a complete rundown of your day and life, so don’t respond with something lengthy and literal. A short reply that quickly answers so that you can either show you are interested and keep the flow going or a little flirting is all you need.

Some good replies might be:

  • “Having a great day! What about you?” This statement works, and you can also turn it into something a little flirtier by adding, “it would be better if I were with you right now.”
  • “Hey, just working and looking forward to hanging out sometime.” This works as well because it’s short, sweet, and takes it to another level.
  • You could also say something positive that people always respond to, like, “Great to hear from you! Just brightened my day.”
  • “Hey there” is always a short and vague response that can be followed up with just about anything else, whether it’s flirty or not. It could be followed up with “just walking my dog” or “I was hoping to hear from you.”

Andrew Fox

Andrew Fox

Certified Personal Trainer | Founder and CEO, Aim Workout

“I’m hanging in there, been a busy week”

What’s up is the common way to enquire about other people’s well-being and what’s going on in their lives. So, instead of saying, “I am fine,” or “nothing new,” you can use the following responses:

  • “Ah, can’t complain” – This is the response for a neutral situation when you have nothing new or exciting, but still you have nothing to complain about in your life.
  • “I am screwed, today I found out” – If you meet a good friend and looking anxious, then in response to what’s up, you can use this phrase. You can also explain what is not working in your life.
  • “That’s for me to know and you to find out” – This response to what’s up ideally suits a situation when you are trying to be funny or being sarcastic with no intention to talk further.
  • *Shrug* “You know” – This is a pretty straightforward answer to what’s up that means nothing much and can be used in a conversation with a friend.
  • “I’m hanging in there, been a busy week” – This response works well with a coworker when you don’t want to talk in length and at the same time don’t want to be rude to him. It’s like you hate your workplace, but still, you are hanging in there with a busy week.

Andrew Gutman

Andrew Gutman

Managing Editor, BarBend

Try to keep your response short and to the point

Responding to “what’s up” can leave us feeling unsure of what to say. While this is an incredibly common greeting, it can have a varied meaning depending on who it’s coming from. Typically, someone will ask “what’s up” to quickly ask how you are doing.

Here are some ways to respond depending on who approaches you:


Typically when a friend asks you “what’s up,” they are looking for a more in-depth response than “nothing” or “not much.”

Chances are they want to know how you are doing or what you have been up to lately-especially if some time has passed since you last chatted with them. Try to update them on how you’ve been and ask them the same, showing genuine interest in what they have to say.


If you are asked “what’s up” by an acquaintance or someone you don’t know all that well, they are most likely asking to be polite. Try to keep your response short and to the point without divulging too much personal information.

Sometimes people take advantage of when others ask them “what’s up” by launching into their life story. Simply state how you are doing and ask them the same. From there, if a conversation evolves — let it, but otherwise, try not to get too personal.


When conversing with a co-worker or supervisor, chances are they are trying to create small talk, or they truly want to know how you are, especially if you have an established relationship.

Respond with how you are doing or feeling, and make sure to ask them as well. Make sure to keep your response work-appropriate and don’t get long-winded. While making connections with your co-workers is vital, you are still at work after all.

Tatiana Gavrilina

Tatiana Gavrilina

Content Marketing Writer, DDI Development

“And how are you doing, please tell me?”

It seems to me that this phrase has become so clichéd that the person who asks does not expect to get an answer. But it is necessary to answer; moreover, it is necessary to answer unexpectedly in order to stand out and be noticed.

How to answer popular phrases like “What’s up?”

Answer depending on the level of your relationship:

  • If it’s a friendly conversation with a very close friend, you might respond like this, “Why do you ask?”
  • If it’s someone you don’t know well but who you respect, it’s better to answer like this, “And how are you doing, please tell me?”

This way, we show our interest in how the person is doing, and at the same time, we avoid being called chatterboxes.

Another factor to consider is your purpose in communicating:

  • If you want to ruin the relationship, you might say something like, “You’re not listening anyway, so why are you asking?”
  • If you want to leave quickly, a simple “I’m fine, how are you?” will be enough.
  • If you want to surprise the interlocutor (seriously and long-term), then after the question “What’s up?” you can immediately give some statistics (for example, there are 120 thousand zebras in Africa).

Responding in this way, I think you can surprise the interlocutor and make them really pay attention to you, and not just use the catchphrase.

Joe Wilson

Joe Wilson

Senior Employment Advisor, MintResume

The response depends on who asked the question

“What’s up?” This is a question so often used that we don’t usually take it seriously. But really, what’s the appropriate response to this? The answer is, it depends on who asked the question.


You can just say “nothing much” “everything’s fine”. Acquaintances usually just ask this question as a form of greeting.


When a superior asked you this question, you can give updates on your current projects or tasks.


You can be vulnerable to a friend. If you are asked this question, you can share life updates or anything you are currently struggling with.


You could share the tiniest details with your partner if they asked you this. They would appreciate your honesty and willingness to share stuff.

Eden Cheng

Eden Cheng

Co-Founder, PeopleFinderFree

“Not much. How ’bout you?”

Generally speaking, when someone greets you by asking, “What’s up?”, they aren’t necessarily expecting an in-depth answer from you. In fact, most people usually don’t want a true, non-terse answer.

As such, any form of polite response that you can come up with will usually suffice, as they are often just looking to fulfill a form of mutual acknowledgment. This means that any neutral and short response is acceptable.

You can respond by simply saying, “Not much. How ’bout you?” or “Looking forward to the weekend,” or anything else along those lines.

The main thing is to just make sure that you confirm all is well by politely returning the greeting. However, it’s important to note that the right response can also often vary depending on whether you are talking to a stranger or a friend.

For instance, when talking to a stranger, a simple word of acknowledgment does the trick and is sufficient, but with a friend, you can often be more casual and even sarcastic with your replies.

Jacob Villa

Jacob Villa

Co-Founder and Marketing Director, School Authority

“I’m busy hanging in there, how about you?”

“What’s up?” is a common question. They’re curious as to what you’re up to or whether you have any free time. The significance of the question is entirely dependent on the context in which it was posed.

To put it another way, your response will be influenced by the circumstances of the inquiry.

As someone who is dedicated to providing students with professional goals and a way of life, I would be willing to respond to this question with something like, “I’m busy hanging in there, how about you?”

A great technique of expressing our position and asking him. We’ll see that we’re often in the same situation, which could lead to further in-depth discussions about conquering life’s obstacles, decisions, and careers.

Michelle Devani

Michelle Devani

Founder, lovedevani

Respond with a life update

The question “what’s up” can mean a lot of things. But in my opinion, as a relationship expert, this can be more relatable in asking about anything that someone wants to tell you that will eventually lead to a random-topic conversation.

So basically, people respond to it by the lines “nothing new.” But then the conversation will still roll. Answering that question, saying something about your current situation or any update about your life will do. It actually doesn’t matter what you will say because this question is just like a greeting line to encourage an exchange of messages.

However, if you intend to say something you want to talk about with that person, you can directly cite it. For example, “Well now, I’m currently stressed out with my projects.”

Jessica Zhao

Jessica Zhao

Chief Marketing Director, Spacewhite

“Nothing out of the ordinary!”

“What’s up” is deliberately vague and infuriating! I value specificity in communication very highly. If I receive a text like this in my personal life, I try to understand what information this person is seeking to glean from me.

At times I’ll respond with:

  • “Nothing out of the ordinary!”
  • “Just busy, busy! What about you?”

Sometimes you just need to nudge the person in the right direction and get them to ask what they really want to know.

“What’s up” in a professional context is not acceptable! Your co-workers should always aim to be succinct and to the point. A better question would be, “Hey, do you have a minute? I need to run something by you.”

That way, you can decide if now is a good time or whether you need to schedule a time for later.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it okay to respond with “Nothing much”?

Absolutely! “Nothing much” is a perfectly fine response to “What’s up?” and is often used to show that nothing important or noteworthy is happening at the moment. It’s a casual and casual answer that doesn’t require much thought or effort to think about.

What if I don’t want to talk about what’s going on in my life?

That’s perfectly fine! You don’t have to say anything that makes you uncomfortable. Keep in mind, though, that small talk goes both ways. If someone asks you, “What’s up?” it’s polite to at least acknowledge the question and respond with a question of your own. You can steer the conversation to a topic you feel more comfortable discussing, such as current events or pop culture.

What if I accidentally give the wrong answer?

Don’t worry about giving the “wrong” answer to “What’s up?” It’s a casual greeting that doesn’t require a perfect answer. If you accidentally give an answer that doesn’t make sense or isn’t relevant to the conversation, you can just laugh it off and try again.

Remember, the goal is to start a conversation and connect with the person you’re talking to, so keep it casual and friendly.

What if I don’t understand the response to my “How are you?” greeting?

If someone responds to your “How are you?” greeting with an answer you don’t understand, it’s okay to ask for an explanation. You might say something like, “Sorry, I’m not sure I understand. Can you explain in more detail?” or “Can you help me understand what you mean?” This shows that you’re interested in the conversation and want to ensure you’re on the same page.

What if the person asking “What’s up?” is just making small talk and not really interested in my answer?

It’s possible that the person asking “What’s up?” is just making small talk and isn’t really interested in a detailed answer. In this case, keeping your answer short and simple is okay. Try to read the person’s body language to see how interested they’re and adjust your answer accordingly.

Can I respond with humor when asking “What’s up?”

Yes, humor can be a great way to lighten the mood and connect with someone. However, be mindful of the situation and the person you’re talking to—you don’t want to offend or make them uncomfortable.

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