What’s new?

“Hey, how are you? What’s new?”

“Oh, not much, what’s new with you?”

“Nothing new here.”

“Yeah, same old, same old.”

“Things are good.”

“Well, glad nothing’s new, it was great talking to you!”

That conversation was a disaster. And how many times do all of us have this same dialogue over and over again? It’s an empty pleasantry and a waste of everyone’s time.

Here’s what I’m tempted to say when asked “what’s new”: none of which actually make for good conversations.

“Well, I took my dresses to the dry cleaner yesterday, so it’s always nice to wear a clean outfit.”

“I usually get my turkey sandwich with mayo, but today I asked for pesto mayo, and it was a good addition.”

“Not much is new, but recently I’ve been craving jelly beans.”

Not the best, right?

The nosy, inquisitive journalist in me would like to offer a few suggestions for those frequent moments when you want to make conversation but just don’t know what to ask.

  • “What projects are keeping you busy this week at work?”
  • “Tell me about your most memorable meal this month.”
  • “First thing that pops into your mind — what’s the best book you’ve read this year?”
  • “How was your weekend? How did you spend your Sunday afternoon?”
  • “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today?”

Let us all join together and attempt to eliminate the pointless, useless question of “what’s new” — and instead, we can find some questions that are interesting and actually much easier to answer.

Except … in one instance.

“You’ve got some snu on your shirt.”

“What’s snu?”

“Not much, friend, what’s snu with you?”

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2 thoughts on “What’s new?

  1. LOL hilarious. I often ask “What’s new?” People often demur and say “Not much” or “Nothing really.” And I push and say, “No, really? What’s new with you?” And then they say, “Well, actually, don’t tell anyone but the army is trying to draft me!” or something crazy like that. (Actually happened.) And we get to share lots of interesting things with each other and talk about the world and life.

    So your more narrow questions are good, and pressing further works well, too!

  2. Never thought about it in that way! Indeed, it seems that “what’s new?” or “how are you?” are empty questions, since the status-quo answers are “not much” or “I’m fine.”

    I like the “snu” thing… as well as Ben’s suggestion. Might have to try that!

    Although I often start small talk with “how are you,” I quickly, after hearing the expected response, prepare another question, tailored to the person in question.

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