15 Ways To Respond To “Hey” in Text (+ Why People Write It)

A “Hey” message can be frustrating, even if it’s from someone you like. You don’t know what the other person wants to talk about or how they are feeling, so it can be hard to come up with a response. But if you want to keep the conversation going, you’ll need to think of a reply. In this guide, we’ll look at how you can respond to “Hey.”


  1. How to respond to “Hey”
  2. Why do people send “Hey”-messages?

How to respond to “Hey” in text

Although “Hey” messages are boring, there is an upside: you get to control the direction of the conversation. You can choose to give a simple answer that encourages them to put more effort into making conversation, or you can jump straight into a topic you enjoy talking about.

Here are some ways you can reply to “Hey:”

1. Say “Hey” in return

When someone messages you with “Hey,” they aren’t making much of an effort to connect with you. To put the ball back in their court and encourage them to think of something more to add, you could send “Hey” back. Or if you’d rather say something slightly different, you could try “Howdy,” “Hey there,” “Heya,” or “Hey to you, too!”

2. Ask how their day is going

If you’d like to make more of an effort to start a conversation, “How’s your day going?” or “So, what have you been up to today?” are good general openers. For a more personal touch, add their name. For example, you could say, “Hey Charlie, what’s up?”

3. Ask for their opinion

Most people like to be asked for their opinions, so asking someone what they think about something can kickstart a conversation.

For example, let’s say your crush messages you at lunchtime. You could say, “Hey, great timing! I need some help deciding what to have for lunch. Should I get some sushi or a baguette?”

You can then use their response to keep the conversation going. For example, if they say, “Sushi, every time. No contest!” you could reply with, “Sounds like you have strong opinions. What’s wrong with baguettes? :)”

4. Tell them you were hoping they’d get in touch

If you’ve been hoping to hear from someone and they message you with “Hey,” tell them that you’re pleased to hear from them. You’ll start the conversation on a positive note and make the other person feel good.

To encourage them to open up, you can also ask the other person what they’re doing or how things are going for them in general.

For example, you might text, “Oh, I was just thinking the other day that I should message you soon! How have you been?” or “Hey, it’s been so long since we last talked! I’ve missed our chats. How are you doing?”

If you have matched with someone on Tinder, Hinge, or another dating app, you could say, “Oh hey, I was hoping you’d message first 🙂 What’s up?”

5. Ask about something on their profile

If you’re on a dating app, you could try to move the conversation forward by asking a question about something on their profile.

For example, if they have a photo of themselves scuba diving, you could say, “Hey! I see you’re into diving. Where have you been diving recently?” Or if they mention a few of their favorite authors, you could ask which of the author’s books they like best.

Look for something you have in common. Shared interests are often a good starting point for text conversations. For example, if you’re a keen baker and you get a message from someone who mentions baking in their profile, you could say, “Oh, another baker, nice to meet you 🙂 I’ve been trying to master plaited loaves recently. What have you made lately? “

6. Respond with an emoji

An emoji is an easy way to acknowledge the other person’s message while matching their level of investment. By sending an emoji, you can quickly let the other person know how you’re feeling, which can help them think of something more interesting to say. For example, a laughing emoji could inspire them to ask, “What’s funny?”

7. Respond with a GIF or photo

Like emojis, GIFs and photos are an easy way to tell the other person how you feel and start a conversation. For example, you could send a GIF of a cute animal, a TV character, or a celebrity waving hello.

8. Tease them about sending a “Hey” message

Most people know that “Hey” isn’t an exciting or original opening message. Depending on the situation, you might be able to keep the conversation going by gently teasing the other person for saying “Hey.”

For example, if you’re on Bumble or another dating app, you could send one of these replies to tease a girl or guy who has sent you a “Hey” message:

  • “I’m glad you sent me that. I don’t like exciting messages this early in the morning ;)”
  • “Steady on. That was a bit intense for your first message!”
  • “I’m impressed already. I love people who get right to the point :P”

If you get a “Hey” message from a friend, you could say something like, “And where’s the rest of the message? :p” or “Nice of you to go to so much trouble!”

Don’t overdo it; you want to come across as witty, not aggressive, or too sarcastic. Read your message out loud to check the tone before you send it. If in doubt, think of a different reply.

9. Ask for an update on something in their life

When you get a “Hey” message from someone you already know, you could start a conversation by asking them to give you the latest news about the most important things in their life.

For example, if you know that your friend has recently changed jobs, you could ask, “Hey, how’s the new job going?” Or if they’ve just moved house, you could ask, “Hey! Have you unpacked everything yet?”

10. Give a response that triggers their curiosity

If you can pique someone’s interest, you’ll probably be able to get the text conversation rolling. For example, if you get a “Hey” message from a friend or someone you’re dating, you could ask, “You’ll never guess who I ran into today.” Or, if you’re talking to someone on a dating app, you could say, “You know what the best part of your profile is?” or “Do you want to know why I swiped right on you?”

11. Pay the other person a compliment

If you get a “Hey” message from someone on a dating app, try giving them a compliment based on something in their profile. For example, you might say, “Hey! You have an awesome smile, by the way. You look so happy in all of your photos :)”

12. Play a game

Playing a simple game can quickly get a conversation flowing. For example, you could say, “Let’s play a game. Two truths and a lie. You first!” You could also give them a riddle to solve or use a string of emojis to make a message and ask them to translate it.

13. Tell them that you’re listening

To encourage the other person to keep talking, say, “Go ahead. I’m listening….” This response implies that the other person has something else to say, and you’re ready to pay attention.

14. Tell them that you’ll talk later

If you’re busy and don’t have time for a conversation, send a quick message to let the other person know that you’ll be happy to talk later. For example, you could say, “Hey! I’m busy right now, but I’ll get back to you later,” or, “Hi, good to hear from you. Today is hectic, but I’ll reply properly tomorrow :)”

15. Give no response

You don’t owe anyone a response when they say “Hey.” For example, when you use a dating app, you don’t have to reply to all the messages you get. It’s OK to ignore someone if you don’t think you’re compatible. If someone repeatedly messages you even when you don’t reply, it’s fine to block them if you feel uncomfortable.

Why do people send “Hey” messages?

It’s not always clear why someone has sent you a “Hey” message, but here are some possible reasons:

  • Some people send out lots of “Hey” messages to their contacts or dating app matches to see who responds. If someone uses this strategy, they might only bother to say something interesting or ask a question when they get a reply.
  • Other people just aren’t very good at asking questions or thinking of things to say. They might want your attention but have no idea how to write an engaging opening message. But if you take the lead and bring up a topic you both enjoy talking about, you could have a fun conversation.
  • A “Hey” message can also be a way of checking whether you’re available to chat. The other person might have something more to say, but they want you to confirm that you’re free to talk before they send a full message. If you say, “Hey, how’s it going?” or, “I’m listening,” they might open up.

As a general rule, if you get a boring “Hey” or “Hi” message from someone you’d like to talk to, try giving them one or two chances to open up before you move on.

Viktor is a Counselor specialized in interpersonal communication and relationships. He manages SocialSelf’s scientific review board. Follow on Twitter or read more.

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