Saturday, February 11, 2023

About the Question, 'What's new with you?'

"Are you pondering what I'm pondering?"
(as seen online)

To be honest, I really dislike the question, 'So, what's new with you?' For whatever reason, that question blocks my creative energy — and stymies me from responding with anything remotely intelligent or interesting. While my brain is wildly looking for something sparkling to say in response, the words that often come out are, 'Not much.' Which sounds a bit boring. Maybe it is true on one level, because my life is quiet and uneventful most days. Some folks would probably say that's boring.

Yet, in my simple life, as each day arrives, there are many ordinary, everyday things that I look forward to and think about. The ponderable lines I read in a book earlier in the day. The winter sunshine glinting off dried rust-hued leaves on the tree I see out my study window. The scent of coffee brewing as it wafts up the stairs on a cool morning. But how does one put into ordinary words such gentle thoughts to that typical question? It's not really conversation fodder, at least not as an intro. 

I have tried over the years not to get piqued about it, but I try to prepare my mind instead with more interesting possibilities to the question. Of course, in casual chatter, perhaps the best response still is to reply with 'Not much' and just leave at that. The other party is often more than willing to fill in the blank air when my own introvert answer is not forthcoming.

Interesting then to come across a poem by British poet Wendy Cope titled Being Boring that feels apropos. It appears she finds it difficult as well to answer the query, 'What's new?' The poem comes from the author's 2001 poetry collection If I Don't Know. The complete poem is available HERE, but I've included the first few lines to get you started:

Being Boring

'May you live in interesting times.' Chinese curse

If you ask me 'What's new?', I have nothing to say
Except that the garden is growing.
I had a slight cold but it's better today.
I'm content with the way things are going.
Yes, he is the same as he usually is,
Still eating and sleeping and snoring.
I get on with my work. He gets on with his.
I know this is all very boring. . . .

for the rest of the poem, click HERE

One thing I could tell you quite happily if you asked me that question today, we're heading out for lunch shortly to our local Italian Centre where their lattes are always an enjoyable experience. I take pleasure sitting in the busy café where spoons clatter into saucers and people chatter and faces look happy to be together. The ambiance is warming and cozy. 

On that note, I shall wish you a beautiful weekend. The morning here has dawned sunny and mild tempered - we'll be enjoying a lovely spring like Saturday. Take care. Stay safe.

Heart hugs,

(Top) Photo credit: Image from Pixabay


  1. My sentiments exactly! My brain goes blank and I have nothing interesting to say to that question. Simple, quiet and interestingly uneventful. That's the way I like it. LOVE that poem!

  2. I’m extroverted and I don’t like that question! As a home centered person my life is about the flow of daily life. Not a lot “new”. Not that I don’t enjoy new and exciting things but it’s not the common thing.

  3. The lunch sounds wonderful. We still eat at home all the time but we do get take out some. We hike just about every other day so there's always something interesting to talk about. Enjoy your weekend!

  4. I do agree with you, Brenda. New things in my day would seem very slight to most people.

  5. A peaceful, joyful life is sometimes mistaken as a boring life. I think it is called a life of contentment. I hope you enjoyed your lunch. It sounds like a wonderful place.

  6. Not boring at all...pleasant and calming. Trust that your lunch was delicious. Was it your Valentine's lunch out?

  7. The poem says it well! And annoyingly, even when I do have something new to tell, I'm so used to saying "nothing new", it's usually hours after the conversation has taken place that I remember that I did have indeed
    have something new to share! Life is funny:)

  8. SO appreciate your thought this week Brenda! Yes, when asked that question I feel myself “cringe” a little; as if I am slightly embarrassed that I don’t have a few “out of the ordinary, amazing adventures in my last few weeks to share!!!
    Yet, like you and perhaps many of your other followers I do love and enjoy many of the “simple” things that I do in a week……
    A daily long walk when the weather invites it, making my Valentine cards for close friends and my daughter, visiting and sharing a few hours with my special friend who is living with ALS and simply reading ( finishing up “Charleston” by John Jake in preparation for a wedding there that I will be going to.
    The week flies by; it has been FULL. Perhaps I just need to respond to that large question with a response like “ You know, my days are so wonderfully full, I am grateful!!
    Always grateful for YOU, Brenda!!!!!!!~ Ann💗

  9. Your blog posts are always such a joy to read! I love to hear about the “not much” of your life! What a lovely outing you planned for the Italian Centre!

  10. Your first paragraph perfectly describes how I feel and react to the same question. My ordinary life is filled with all sorts of things that bring delight and quiet pleasure. But would those things be of interest to anyone else?
    When things go awry in life, we long for the ordinary.
    I hope you enjoyed your lunch out and the spring-like Saturday. Loved the poem.

  11. "Someone to stay home with" who also is happy being boring -- it's a great gift <3 Happy Valentine's Day :-)

  12. I think being content and happy is never boring! But I do love the poem - it really says it well. I have the same response to the question - I go blank. I'm usually just happy to listen... The cafe' sounds wonderful. x K

  13. I love this poem. I read it a few yrs ago & saved it....I agree completely with this viewpoint.

  14. Amen and amen! I find myself saying that often when I read your thoughts but this one is so much me. I had to print out the whole poem because the other two verses are spot on too. And I have to admit that I kind of like being in my nice comfortable rut even though it does me good to sometimes get out of it. Well said, Brenda!

  15. New reader here! I know I'm leaving a comment weeks after you wrote this post, but I've been perusing your writings and on this one I just had to stop and say I loved this post. And agree with you and your commenters. I think I've concluded after reading this post that a good answer (if true) is, "Nothing new really, but life is good". And then turn the question back on them and ask "Are you doing well?" because I think this is really what's at the heart of the question that some just see as a pleasantry. It's an awkward question to answer unless someone is truly fresh off something new having happened, but it's a question that slips off the tongue with little thought.

    I have no idea how I landed here (from someone else's blog no doubt), but now that I'm here I think I'm staying. :)

    1. Becki, Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I do like your answer "Nothing new really, but life is good." Yes! Life is good, even on the humdrum, simple days when not much is going on. The sun is creating warmth and light, the birds are singing, and the coffee is brewing (or tea is steeping if it's in the afternoon). There are books to read and loved ones to connect with and.... yes, life is good. I look forward to visiting your blog and getting to know you. Wishing you a beautiful day.


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo