Learn what to say when they say, “What’s up?” Don’t be at a loss for words!

All of us at some point in our lives have asked ourselves, “What to say when they say, “What’s up?” Surely it has happened to you that you have casually met someone on the street and you have not been able to avoid asking or receiving the same question: “How are you?” But the answers are varied and in many cases surprising.

Apparently it’s just a very common expression with which you initiate a passing communication with someone, which can be with a stranger in an elevator or your seatmate on an airplane flight. But what if the person in question is someone you know, and haven’t seen in a while. The question, dreaded by many, about how you are doing or how your life is going in general, can leave you speechless.

don’t despair anymore, in this blog post we will share with you the best ways to answer when asked, “How are you?” and some infallible tips to avoid awkward silence and, thus, have fun and interesting conversation topics. Take them on board and overcome that social block!

1. “Absolutely fine.”

This is a simple, yet very effective way to spice up such a monotonous response as “I’m fine.” Simply inject a little positive energy into your response when someone asks, “How are you?” This way, you’ll set the tone for any conversation you have with someone.

And that’s because when it comes to knowing what to respond when they say, “How are you?” you should know that enthusiasm in a response will always make you stand out as a person.

2. “Better than fine.”

When you answer that you are “Better than fine,” what you are saying, in a nutshell, is that things are going well and that you are striving to get better every day.

What’s more, this response shows people that you have a positive outlook and are ready to take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way. So this is a great answer on how to respond to a “How are you doing?”.

3. “I’m doing great.”

“I’m doing great, I’ll tell you what I recently learned…”

what if something bad is happening in your life? what do you say? First, avoid speaking in a negative tone and open your mind to think of possible solutions where you can grow from your challenges.

A great way on how to respond to a “How are you?” in this case is to say, “I learned recently,” and then you can share your story. This approach is very powerful, because you shift your mindset from “Why is this happening to me?” to “I wonder what I could learn from this.”

4. “I’ve never been better.”

This is another no-lose way to respond when you’re asked, “How are you?” that doesn’t miss a beat. When you answer, “I’ve never been better,” you arouse the other person’s curiosity and, as a result, the questioner will want to know more.

5. “I am happy and grateful.”

“I am happy and grateful. and you?”

The best thing about this particular response is that it lets people know that you are happy and grateful. So, the next time someone greets you with “How are you?”, apply this response and see what kind of reaction they get.

In fact, it will also come in handy when you don’t know what to reply when asked, “How are you?” on WhatsApp or another digital channel.

6. “I’ve never felt better.”

“I’ve never felt better in a long time.”

This is a good response to use when you’ve just solved some problems and don’t know what to answer when they say, “How are you?”. This way, you create that spark of curiosity and desire to know more about it, as well as make the conversation flow naturally.

7. “Fantastic.”

Just like any of the other ways to respond when you’re asked, “How are you?”, this is another response that takes people by surprise. It simply stops them in their tracks and automatically makes their mind wonder, “Gee, why is this person so happy?”

Without a doubt, the above answers on what to respond when they say to you, “What’s up?” open the door to a deeper moment of connection and will serve you well in a number of situations.

Identify the types of listeners to know what to say “Howdy” back?

To understand more about colloquial behavior, and to know what you can answer when they say, “How are you?”, keep in mind that for certain cultures, such as German, this question can be of great importance and can reveal, depending on how you answer, aspects of your personality.

In the case of Spanish or American culture, they certainly use the expression “¿Cómo estás?” “¿Y tú qué tal? ” or “¿Qué tal estás?” to initiate passing conversations. However, in the workplace and in the business world you have to be sure that it can be crafted as a misleading question.

Therefore, one of the first things you should analyze to know what to answer when you are asked, “How are you doing?” are the differences between two major groups of listeners: those who respond as a victim and those who listen attentively to you.

1. Victims

The former are those who, when listening to the question, are only thinking about what to answer, without paying attention to what their interlocutor is saying. Many times these people, in addition, seek to relate an even more serious and dramatic scenario than the one they are listening to. Basically, they are competing to show themselves in a terrible situation than their chat partner.

They are generally going to answer your “hello, how are you?” with a cataract of problems. The main characteristic of this group of people, when they don’t have a clear idea about what to answer when they say to you, “How are you?”, is that they place themselves in a place of victim, where their problems are more serious than those of others.

And thanks to this they manage, unwittingly, to contaminate the person who listens to them and often have major bonding problems because they are unable to have healthier conversations.

dos compañeros de trabajo conversandoSource: Pexels

2. Empaths

Meanwhile, people who listen to you attentively are more empathetic and try to understand your situation and, in turn, create a positive atmosphere. So if you have a hard time knowing what to say when they say, “How are you doing?”, don’t worry, because you won’t feel judged or embarrassed for answering honestly in front of this group of listeners.

The second group of listeners, is characterized by offering attentive listening. this group tends to be much more engaged with what your listener is telling you and have better ideas of what to respond to when they say, “How are you doing?” They engage with the details of the story in a proactive and engaged way, and they ask at least as much as they talk about themselves, making the conversation more balanced for both participants.

personas empáticas al responder un "qué tal"Source: Pexels

Other questions besides “How are you doing?”

As we mentioned to you earlier, attentive listeners have more developed soft skills. Therefore, when learning what to answer when they say, “How are you doing?”, you should keep in mind which questions are asked more frequently to empathize and connect emotionally with the other interlocutor. Take note!

how is your family?

are you still in a couple?

how are your children?

how is your health?

how are you doing at work?

what projects do you currently have in mind?

what are your plans for this year?

where do you plan to go on vacation this year?

In this way, you will be more empathetic, wanting to know in detail some specific aspect of the other person’s life, but also showing a register of interest where, surely, better communication channels will be opened, whether the meeting is casual or intentional.

We can say then that, at the end of the day, it is not so much about the exact formulation to know what to answer to a “How are you?”, but rather the real interest that lies behind the question. If you have a specific interest in a particular topic, it is better to ask it directly.

how do you respond to a “What’s up?” in an interview?

Having this information can be very useful to present yourself in a job interview, for example, since having the tools to perform as a listener or knowing which is the most appropriate answer will help you stand out from the rest of the applicants.

There is no exact formula but there are details that will help you make the best possible decision when it comes to elaborating an answer on how to respond to a “How are you?” in any field. High professional competition is making it increasingly difficult to get a job. Today, a vacancy can attract 500 applicants in just a couple of days.

This forces recruiters to apply a greater number of tools that are a filter to select the perfect candidate quickly and effectively. Knowing how to respond in a job interview, or simply knowing what to say when they say, “How are you doing?” is a key exercise that can change your future.

Skills valued by recruiters

If you can sharpen your listening skills and have these keys, your interview will undoubtedly be a success. Experts say the skills most valued by recruiters are:


The ability to adapt to change.

Communication skills.


Beyond learning what to say when they say, “How are you doing?”, it is also important to be able to talk about your own shortcomings, knowing that it is very important not to fall into the typical descriptions of “I’m a workaholic” or “I’m very obsessive.” While these are qualities that may seem advantageous to the employer, they sound not very credible and accommodating to obtain the position.while these are qualities that may seem advantageous to the employer, they sound not very credible and accommodating to get the job. It is better to talk about real aspects that you know you can improve or transform into an opportunity.

And last but not least, know how to ask the right questions. The employer will surely ask you to ask what you want to know and to get all your doubts out before the end of the interview. That’s why knowing how to answer when they say, “How are you doing?” can apply in these cases.

In this case, listening is also an advantage, and it shows interest in the job. It is important that you can speak freely and frankly about all aspects related to the position for which you are applying.

Know the types of empathy and learn how to respond “How do you do?”

As we explained in the previous section, empathy plays a key role in a job interview as well as in a conversation with a friend, even in a casual encounter. Empathy is a key emotional intelligence competency that comes to the fore when communicating and relating to others.

Believe it or not, knowing how to respond to a “How do you do?” can define your level of empathy. For sure, empathy is one of the most popular concepts in science today. Most people use it as just another word in their linguistic repertoire, to define the way others (or themselves) tend to get emotionally involved in their relationships and, of course, this skill is important when you don’t know what to answer when asked, “How are you doing?”

It is quite true that, without it, we would not have reached the degree of social development (and cooperation) that has allowed us to get here. It could be said that through empathy we transcend the limits of our skin and enter into the experience of the other.

To complement the above, according to the web portal Forbes Argentina, empathy can be a powerful antidote and contribute to positive experiences for individuals and teams.

At the moment of knowing the formulas of how to respond to a “How are you?”, keep in mind that there are several types of empathy that allow you to bond healthily with the other.

1. Cognitive empathy

Cognitive empathy is the name given to the first part of the process: the identification of the mental state of your interlocutor. This identification occurs from verbal contents, such as testimonies, confessions, etc.

It also appears in non-verbal contents such as facial gestures, for example, that the other person emits during the interaction and activates deep and very primitive structures in your brain that have the objective of encoding information of a social type. These structures recognize in the same act what is going on in the mind of the person in front of you.

If you want to learn how to start a harmonious conversation and know what to answer when they say: “How are you?”, you need to expand your horizons and take into account these aspects that, at first glance, do not seem relevant, but they are relevant to understand the other person.

Empatía cognitivaSource: Pexels

2. Emotional empathy

Emotional empathy requires that, first, you are able to cognitively “grasp” the other person’s experience. Once this is achieved, you advance to a second level of processing.

In general terms, this form of empathy provides the ability to be sensitive to what others are feeling, essential for how to respond to a “How are you?” appropriately or what they demand in the private sphere.

The word “sympathy” comes from Greek, and could be translated as the act of “feeling the same as the other”. It is a concern for the experience of others, which arises from being able to identify and feel it in one’s own skin, and which often leads to helping behavior. It is, therefore, a step further within the empathic process.

Empatía emocionalSource: Pexels

3. Ecpathy

You may not have heard this term before, but believe us, it is an element that can help you find ways on how to respond to a “How are you?” and maintain good social relationships with other people. Ecpathy is perhaps the most recent scientific contribution to the field of empathy and compassion, although it has often fallen victim to misinterpretations that are not at all in line with reality.

Through it, people learn to recognize which of the emotions they feel at a given moment do not really belong to them, but come from an external source that has “transferred” them.

hombres riéndose y conversandoSource: Pexels

As you have read up to this point, there are many factors involved in an answer to a question that seems so simple, such as mood, character, personality, the listener group you belong to, empathy, the type of encounter or the intimacy you have with your interlocutor.

Perhaps from now on, you will think better about how to formulate the question in order to get the best answer and not just greet with a gesture or a phrase without a question mark. Having a thoughtful idea of what to answer when you are asked, “How was your day?” can be a useful exercise in any area of your life.

We hope our tips will help you know how to answer “How are you?” or any other question. With a lot of practice (in front of a mirror) you will be able to build confidence in the other person and converse with someone in a fluid and natural way. Remember that when it comes to knowing how to respond when they say, “How are you?”, you should do so in a way that generates new opportunities, new thoughts and new ideas

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