How to answer “What’s new?”

One of my least favourite questions is “What’s new?”

I always feel pressured to come up with something exciting, something unusual, something… new.

I realize most people are asking it with the same level of interest they give to “How are you?” But even with “how are you?” I try to answer with truly how I am feeling at that particular moment.

So when I’m faced with “What’s new?” I tend to flounder. I mean, I’m still living in the same place. I’m still working at the same job. I’m still married to the same man. So in my mind I feel like everything’s the same and I stand there stammering or worse yet, say, “Not much. Same old. Same old. Things are good.”

Riveting.

But the thing is, I love my life and I get a lot of joy out of what I do each day. There are things happening that I’m excited about and want to talk about. I just don’t think of them as new.

But no more. I am on a mission to come up with a better answer to “What’s new?” Over the weekend, my answers included making our own maple syrup, planning this year’s vegetable garden, putting the finishing touches on my office makeover, an interesting documentary we watched and a workshop I recently attended. They’re not earth-shattering, but they’re what’s going on in my life and they spark a conversation with people.

Here are 10 ideas on how to answer “What’s new?” I’d love to hear your suggestions too. Leave a comment and let us know how you answer this tough question.

  1. Share what you are reading or watching. Don’t feel pressured to show off your intellectual prowess with a high brow article or documentary. This is about you and what you’re interested in–the latest blockbuster or reality TV counts.
  2. Talk about work. Yeah, you don’t want to be that guy who only talks about work, but work is where you spend a lot of your time and it is a big part of your life.
  3. Talk about your kids. Yeah, you don’t want to be that guy who only talk about his kids. But they’re a great source of new–and sometimes hilarious–answers.
  4. Share what you’re creating. Are you a sewer, knitter, photographer, artist, writer, designer, scientist, renovator? Even the smallest project can be a conversation starter.
  5. Talk about where you’ve been. If you’ve been to the museum or on vacation, that’s a what’s new no-brainer. But everyday places–the grocery store, mall, park, arena–are full of stories too.
  6. Talk about what you’ve bought. From clothing to tools to something for the house, your latest purchase can spark a conversation. Note: Do not buy something just so you have something to talk about. This is not a plug for consumerism.
  7. Talk about your workout. Whether you’re training for a specific event or attending your regular class at the gym, most people can find common ground around exercise.
  8. Talk about what you’re eating or cooking. People love food. A good meal, a new restaurant, a favourite recipe are all good answers to “what’s new?”
  9. Talk about what you’re planning to do. What’s new doesn’t have to mean this exact minute. Talk about what’s coming up this weekend or tomorrow or even this season.
  10. Borrow what’s new from your family or friends. My brother set a date for his wedding and my sister’s about to have a baby. Those are new exciting things that I’m thrilled to talk about.

“What’s new?” is simply a conversation starter. Have some answers ready, and you’ll be able to connect with people, share some of your interests and perhaps even find common interests.

What questions do you find difficult to answer? Is “what’s new?” a tough question for you? How do you answer “what’s new?”


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