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Why "What's Up?" Is The Most Awkward Question In Existence

"I don't understand the question, and I won't respond to it."

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When someone asks you "What's up?"...

Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

What the hell do you even say?

Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

I mean, this is not AIM in 1999. Times are just not as simple (sadly).

You can't just ask "What's up?" and expect a simple jokey response that doesn't have to lead the conversation anywhere. This is the real, adult world, people! (Also, just some random info: those were two actual screen names I used to have, because I have always played the game of instant messenger very, very Cool.)
Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

You can't just ask "What's up?" and expect a simple jokey response that doesn't have to lead the conversation anywhere. This is the real, adult world, people!

(Also, just some random info: those were two actual screen names I used to have, because I have always played the game of instant messenger very, very Cool.)

I have, though, on at least one occasion, been so uncomfortable with "What's up?" that I have *actually* responded with "N2M" in real life.

This was recently, as a 26-year-old adult. lol.
Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

This was recently, as a 26-year-old adult. lol.

So what are your realistic response options, then?

All of these run through my mind the second someone casually directs that wretched inquiry my way. These are all bad options. What IS up? Is this a rhetorical question? Do I just smile and nod and walk away? Are we done here? I can't even tell them how I'm doing, because they technically didn't ask, and "Good" literally is not an appropriate answer to that question.
Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

All of these run through my mind the second someone casually directs that wretched inquiry my way. These are all bad options. What IS up? Is this a rhetorical question? Do I just smile and nod and walk away? Are we done here? I can't even tell them how I'm doing, because they technically didn't ask, and "Good" literally is not an appropriate answer to that question.

After refusing to put up with the pressure of these situations any longer, I've been forced to come up with a workaround.

It's still not great, and you still have to say "not much," BUT this helps because it turns it into a "How are you?" question, which it should have been in the first place, giving you back your power in the saddest way possible (short of walking away, sweating and crying).
Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

It's still not great, and you still have to say "not much," BUT this helps because it turns it into a "How are you?" question, which it should have been in the first place, giving you back your power in the saddest way possible (short of walking away, sweating and crying).

However, saying "Not much" or "Nothing much" just generally doesn't sound great.

It kind of makes it sound like you have no life. This is coming from a chronic overthinker, but still. I don't like it, so we're back to square one.
Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

It kind of makes it sound like you have no life. This is coming from a chronic overthinker, but still. I don't like it, so we're back to square one.

Yeah, so the truth is, "What's up?" is the worst, and it's a fake question and it's a trap.

Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

Honestly, probably the only way to escape the "What's up?" trap is to make the person vehemently wish they had never presented that question to you in the first place.

Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed
Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed
Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed
Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed
Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed
Andrea Hickey / BuzzFeed

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