I hate this question: What have you been up to? What's New?

Avatar for sweettartnacho
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-18-2006
I hate this question: What have you been up to? What's New?
Sat, 02-01-2014 - 2:36pm

Get this question ALL the time!

What is a good answer to these questions? ...  esp when you feel you havent been doing ANYthing exciting.   actually very mundane & boring.

What's a good way to answer this?   Or what should I think of in terms of coming up with a good answer?

Avatar for cfk_3
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-1999

Come up with a pat response:  "Oh, you know . . . same ole, same ole".  Or, you could always make something up. 

I met up with a couple of old friends a while back.  One of them got up to go to the restroom and the other asked this very question.  I gave her an answer and she had the nerve to say "Oh, well, WHAT ELSE"?!  I answered her a second time and she had the nerve to ask me "What else" a THIRD time!?!?  I felt like saying:  "I have my journal out in the car, why don't you wait here while I go grab it and you can quench this insatiable curiosity you seem to have about me."  ;) 

She is married with two kids so maybe she assumed I'm out partying it up all the time or am having drug fueled orgies or something . . . I don't mean to sound negative but this question is also a pet peeve of mine.  To be quite honest, I don't lead a very exciting life.  I have a few hobies that I pick up and put down.  Other than that, it's work, family, my dog and that's it, really.  All of my friends here are married, have a SO or live on the opposite side of the city (I'm in the burbs) and my best friend lives in another state.   

Sorry to ramble!  You know, you could say "I don't know - not much" and then turn the question back on them . . .

Community Leader
Registered: 07-16-2001
I always say just working, because that's pretty much it. I do go out at least once a week, but nothing all that exciting happens. Plus, I'm not willing to recount my life to someone who has to ask. If I want someone to know something, I tell them!
Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010

  It's just an opening to conversation.  The standard ans: same ol,same ol.   Then you can get down to the interesting.  Almost all cultures have a set greeting pattern.

bird ok


Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999

No one expects you to have saved the free world, or come up with a cure for cancer, but people want to know what you DO.  What you think.  If all you can come up with is: I go to work, come home, and troll the internet all night, then maybe it's time to get a life.  Or at least, read something more than on-line dating sites, and People magazine.

*I* would start with:

Watching the playoffs!  Since the Bears shot themselves in the foot AGAIN, I was kind of hoping that the 49's would have made it to the big show.  I like that Kaepernick kid a lot, and think he has a lot of potential.  But the Seahawks defense really is the best, and playing at home gave them the upper hand.  Who do you like better for the Super Bowl, Broncs or Seahawks?

With the weather we've been having, I haven't been able to get out much, & feel like cabin fever is starting to set in.  But I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas, and some interesting reading, so I don't feel AS guilty about sitting on my rear!  I've been reading that "No Easy Day". It's about MUCH more than just the mission to get Osama Bin Laden. 

Well, I'm a foodie, I have to admit.  Didn't get this fluffy figure drinking soymilk and eating tofuburgers.  And since this is comfort food weather, I've been experimenting with different things to do with a pork shoulder beyond pulled pork.  Have you ever heard of Cochinita Pibil?

Trying to find a way to get outside that doesn't take a lot of time, equipment, or money, and isn't going to give me a heart attack, or break something.  Did you know that one of the fastest growing winter sports in the world, is snowshoeing?   It's easy to learn, inexpensive compared to other winter sports, poses little risk of injury and is a great way to get out and see the countryside.   Most  snowshoers are women, but kids are picking it up, too.  I figure this would help my grandkids get out of the house, too, and be something we could all do together, easily. 

Listened to the Presidents State of the Union, OR the GOP rebuttals (all FOUR of them) , and got a massive headache.  I can't wait for the next election.  I was interested in Chris Christie, till he shot himself in the bridge.  I think Hillary will take the Dem nomination in a landslide...

Thinking about my garden!  The ONLY good thing about this cold weather, is that they say it killed off all the Emerald Ash Borers in the midwest.  Too late for my trees, I think.  I spent a FORTUNE last year, and the tree doc only gave me a 60/40 chance they'll make it.  My village has NOT been very open and upfront about how bad the spread has gotten. What's in your yard?

I've been LOVING the new season of Justified, and also got pulled into that new medical thriller on Syfy, Helix.  It turned into more than just an "Outbreak" or "Hot Zone" kind of story.   Every episode brings up SO many new questions.   Also, so scary that it is very rooted in real scientific research.

Avatar for floridagirl52
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-2006

The question doesn't bother me because I feel it's just a standard greeting/question. The person probably asks everyone this. There's no need to feel like you have to regale them with "important" or "action-packed" stories of your life. What I DO hate is people asking about my love life, although I fortunately don't get that question much. 

Depending on what you're up to at the moment, you could choose to tell them about that ("I'm planning a vacation to the Bahamas soon.") You could talk about an interesting work project you have at the moment. Or, you could answer neutrally or even in a funny way, "Oh, just the usual excitement," then turn the converasation on them. Most people adore talking about themselves.  :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I agree that it's just a standard conversation opener--it would be better if the person could come up with their own topic, but this kind of turns it's on you.  It's the equivalent of saying "how are you?"  People don't mean that too literally--they don't want to hear about all your medical issues, really, it's just like saying hi.  You could just brush it off by saying "nothing much" which I say a lot, even though I do go out all the time, but I don't know if that is really "new."  Then you could ask the person a question--how is your job going?  how are your kids? or you could just mention a good book that you read or a good movie that you saw.

 But if your life is really that boring, then you should do things to make it not boring.  I have to say that when I got divorced about 5 yrs ago, I looked around and saw that I only had 2 single friends and one of them lived an hour away so it was not that easy to get together with her.  I would go to the mall on weekends that my kids were at their dad's and buy things I didn't really need just cause I couldn't think of anything else to do.  I thought well this has to change, what can I do to make it change?  I wasn't even thinking of dating at that point since I was not even ready to date--so I joined a women's group that had different activities.  I met some nice women but most of them were married so not available on the weekends.  My saving grade came by accident.  I found a dance studio near my house that offered ballroom lessons.  I've been taking lessons now for 3 yrs--the advantage there was meeting a lot of other single women.  Now every weekend I have places to go and someone to go with and I am never bored.  We keep thinking of more things to do.  Last night we were talking about doing a book club and also having a ethnic night every so often where we go to a different restaurant and maybe have some entertainment.  I do think the key is to try to go out & meet other single people when you've been married a long time and maybe have no single friends.  It doesn't have to be in the dating atmosphere.  Meetup groups are good to make new friends, single parent groups.  Also in my area (since I live near a big city) we have an adult education center that gives everything from cooking classes, wine tasting, dancing, photography--you name it.

Avatar for sweettartnacho
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-18-2006
Great answers & thoughts. I guess Im asking because I would LIKE to have a unique answer each time! "Nothing much" to me is just blah & everyone says that. On the other hand, I think I need some new interests. I am newly divorced & just starting dating again.... Great answers!
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-08-2011
Sounds like your second reply gets more at the root of the issue - the question hits a sore spot since you would like to be doing more. Of course there are always the standard ways to get out there - ask friends, look at local events, join groups like Meetup or volunteer, etc.
You mentioned dating - I'm a guy and definitely can't speak for the whole male world, but a woman who can't respond with much about her current life is going to sound like dead weight. Developing interests may be a good thing for both yourself and meeting someone to relate to.
Otherwise, the person is asking this to get a conversation started, and you could think of it as positive that they want to include you as part of the conversation rather than ramble about just themselves as many people do.
The answer to this question does not have to be exciting. Have you just looked at the walls 24/7? No. You can start it by saying something like "....work keeps me very busy so I don't have a chance to do many things.....or I like to keep my life peaceful so I haven't done much lately". At that point, you can ask them what they've been up to.
Or if you want to talk more, mention a recent small event - good restaurant you just went to, a book you've read, a movie you've seen recently, show, or future plans of a trip you would like to do, etc....again, it doesn't have to be hugely exciting. Most people will relate to these kinds of things.
Avatar for sweettartnacho
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-18-2006
OK good reply. And your comment about deadweight in dating is useful. Wouldnt want to seem like that. Yes - just trying to come up w/better answers than the standard. Going to look at my bucket list :) and I was just considering a Meetup for tomorrow nite that sounds interesting. As far as meetups - I was thinking once the weather gets warmer, that those would be more appealing. Something about coming home from freezing cold - that can make you not want to go back out in it, but stay home instead!