If you’ve ever chatted with someone on the Internet, you’ve probably come across the letter “HBU”
HBU stands for “what about you?” or “what about you?” People often use this phrase to follow up on how they are doing. After all, it is common in a conversation to share some information about yourself and then ask about the other as well.
For example, if someone asks you how you are doing, you can answer, “I’m fine, hbu?”
This initialism is most commonly used in text messages. It is expressed in both lowercase and uppercase letters, although you’ll more often see it in lowercase (hbu).
It can also be used when chatting with a large group of people. However, a plural noun is normally added when more than one person is addressed, such as ‘hbu boys’ or ‘hbu everyone’.
The origin of HBU
Like other acronyms, HBU became popular in early online chat rooms and on message boards. These early chat platforms were mostly anonymous, so you would often be talking to strangers.
However, initialism gained popularity as texting and instant messaging became a primary form of communication. As people began to spend more time chatting online with people they knew personally, it became more common to ask how someone was doing or via text message.
Now HBU is mainly used in personal text conversations.
Internet Small Talk
Even in text chats, small talk is still common. HBU is part of a group of terms and initialisms often used to keep a conversation going.
A typical conversation with HBU could go like this:
- Person A: “Hey, how are you feeling? “
- Person B: “Fairly good. Just a little under the weather. HBU? “
- Person A: “I’m fine. I just need to sleep more tonight.”
In the above conversation, HBU is used to throw a question back to person A. Although the acronym is not responsible for starting the conversation, a back-and-forth chat is initiated.
Some other internet acronyms used in small talk include:
- WYD: “What are you doing?”
- GAME: “How are you?”
Most are used early on in a conversation.
RELATED: How to get past the small talk when you really hate it
HBU for Discovery
HBU can also be used to find out more about another person you just met. For example, in an online dating app, someone can ask if you like a particular activity. After you have expressed your opinion, you can use ‘HBU’ to ask what the other person thinks about it.
You can also use it when you ask a group of people to give their opinion on something. For example, if you and a friend share your thoughts on a recent meal, you might say, “ I think it was pretty spicy. HBU? “
HBU can also be used to ask specific people in a group to share their views on a topic. For example, if you are attending a group meeting, you can say “HBU” followed by someone’s name to get that person’s feedback or perspective on an issue.
HBU vs WBU
One confusing aspect of HBU is its resemblance to another Internet acronym, “WBU,” which stands for “what about you?”
While the two have subtle differences, they can generally be used interchangeably. A good differentiator between the two is the first question that the exchange begins with. If a question starts with “how” you can use HBU, and if it starts with “what” you can use WBU.
How to use HBU
You use HBU in the same way as the phrase “what about you?” in conversations. The initialism is best used in chats and casual texting, while the full sentence can be used in any setting, including work.
Here are a few sample sentences that use HBU:
- ‘I have finished eating. Hbu? “
- “I am almost done with my part of the project. HBU guys? “
- “I really like hiking and camping, hbu?”
- “I don’t really feel sick anymore. Hbu? “
If you want to get fully proficient with your internet initials, be sure to check out our pieces on SMH and FTFY.