The phrase “what’s up” and all of its numerous offshoots (“how are you?” “how have you been?” “what’s going on?” “what have been up to”) is an act of domestic, interpersonal terrorism. Literal, inexcusable misbehavior.
Perhaps the lesson here is the old adage: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Wait, that’s not right.
Oh, I’ve got it. “Shut up and listen.” No, that’s not it either.
Maybe there isn’t some condensable bit of language for resisting the urge to speak until you’ve got something of substance to say. Only speak when spoken to? No, that’s backwards.
Essentially, what is required of the party asked this truly toxic, offensive, vapid question is to either:
A. lie. (“oh, nothing really. Just–” I don’t even have the ability to make up something because sometimes there is nothing expect work and sex and sitting with your thoughts and none of those are worth sharing. I watched/read/listened to ‘X’ movie or tv show or book or article or song or dance will only be sufficient for conversational continuation sometimes. And what if you didn’t watch/do any of those things? Because often a person of growth and depth is stuck with their thoughts and all that amounts to is staring at a wall.)
B. Release your trauma on the person as an instinctual reaction. Because we’re all suffering all of the time (even the good stuff which is a kind of positive trauma we can’t reach again and thus it hurts to try and share with someone who wasn’t a part of it). This is where the seemingly innocuous question is a true act of irredeemable behavior. Essentially the person asking the question WANTS this. They crave it. They’re so bored in their own existence (or in their relationship but that’s another story for another time) that they want some of yours. They want to suck the good and the bad out and let it swirl in their stomach so they can feel something too. They are physically draining you by asking this question.
What’s the takeaway here for y’all ‘What’s Up’ enthusiasts? Engage people on something outside of the vague. Don’t ask for them to inform you of themselves, but be informed yourself and bring a topic or an idea or a question to the conversation instead of a platitude. This is unacceptable. It’s you admitting that you’ve got nothing to add to the conversation and begging the person on the other side of the phone or video call or face to face to do the heavy lifting for you. Silence is key. Not everyone has to be talking all the fucking time. Or, I mean, that’s what twitter is for.
KKUURRTT is glad you read his thing. He can be found on twitter at @wwwkurtcom.