Sunday, January 3, 2010
"What's Up" is a tricky phrase that alludes many. It's a fairly recent greeting, like "How are you?," "How's it going?," "How's it hanging?," etc.
How you answer "What's up?" mostly depends on how much time you have to respond. If someone asks you "What's up?" while you pass one another in the hallway, don't take it literally. There will be a temptation to answer with a casual but related "nothing," but that will just leave you feeling unaddressed when the other person keeps walking away. Instead, you must acknowledge that you realize it is a greeting and not, as it seems, an interrogative statement. Answer with, "Hey!" or even, "Hey, you!"
If someone asks you this in a sit-down conversation, or what's more likely in an internet conversation, it is OK to either respond with a casual greeting, or to actually say "what is up" with you as long as it does not provide more information than a casual conversation calls for. For example, do not respond with, "being charged with tax fraud is what's up with me," or "certainly not the frequency of sex between me and my wife," unless you're super funny and are known for your charming black humor. (black humor is self-hating, sarcastic humor, and most intelligent people love it.)
So, what's up?