Yo is a common word and it is used in different ways to greet and call attention to someone.
Sometimes you use it to greet your peers, people you are familiar with, and friends. Other times, someone says it to you so you don’t really know what to say I reply aside what’s up, or hey!
You can try other replies like “yeah?” or “what?” You can also reply with a few gestures like waves and bids and even a fist bump.
If you don’t like the greeting “yo,” there are other responses for that. Keep reading:
Give A Simple Response
It’s not really a big deal. Sometimes you are walking along or in school or a store, and you see a friend
If he or she calls out ‘yo’ to you, you don’t have to overthink the reply. It is a casual setting so you can use any of the following:
I can bet this is the first reply that came to mind. Who can blame you? It is easy, rolls off the tongue, and is much simpler than thinking of other responses.
This reply for yo is great for people you know. If a stranger says “yo” to you, they are trying to get your attention on something, like a top in your shorts, not because they want to start a casual friendly conversation.
This is simply a shortened version of “what’s up” but it is a good reply. It is still good for a casual greeting. You can do it with a wave of your hand or just simply raise your hand.
How are you doing?
“What’s up” is an equivalent meaning of Yo so it is okay to reply to it with “how are you doing?”
The greeter intends to inquire about your well-being or at the very least to speak in order to break the awkward silence, and you may easily respond with this cliche. “Hey, how are you doing?” is an option. There are fixed responses
What goes on?
This is used among friends and by Henry Hart (you should know him if you have watched at least one episode of the nickelodeon series). It is akin to what’s going on.
The question makes them start any conversation you will have and it is smooth.
Some people say ‘yo’ to get other people’s attention, so if someone doesn’t say “yo” to you in public, they are just trying to see your face or ask a really simple question.
It is not a good greeting. Hello is more respectful because saying yo right back to someone you don’t know will come out off or odd.
And in the event that they are a familiar face or an old friend, hi there is cheerful and welcoming. If you want to start a conversation with the greeter, then this is a good option.
If you don’t know the greeter then you can still say hi if you want to talk to them or you are generally a nice person. You can use “hey there” as an alternative, in the same way.
Informal responses for informal greetings. It’s not a rule but can you imagine replying with a good morning? It’s a little out of place.
If the person you are talking to is far from you, they are trying to get your attention so they can catch up with you.
Saying hey is acknowledging all of that. It will be odd to just stare at someone while you wait for them to reach you.
When someone says “yo”, it can be that they are trying to recall something they want to tell you.
Saying yeah in this question means I am listening, what do you want to say? It can help them remember what they want to say.
You can also use what for the same effect. It’s like they want to get your attention before they ask you something so it is not out of place.
When you say it, however, make it sound like a question, because with a little tone change you might sound demanding or angry.
How have you been?
Usually when people say yo, it is followed by a question like, ‘how have you been?’. Since the question is not asked, you can also ask it and start a conversation.
For those who think too highly of themselves and don’t want to start a conversation, this is a great response.
Use gestures to respond to “yo”
Communication is more than words and most times it involves contact or body language. In this case, a little gesture says a lot more And says it all quicker. Here are a few:
If you are a few meters apart, and someone yells ‘yo’ to get your attention it is not out of the ordinary. When they do this, you can reply with a wave.
Hands raised to the elbow and a small wave to show you acknowledge it. If you are not too far apart you can say What’s up.
If you are more than a few feet apart, you might want to do a big wave and add the next gesture.
A smile, something that can brighten up your whole face and tell them “hey, I see you and I hear you, and I appreciate you recognizing my presence”.
You can add the wave but a smile can be all you need especially if they are in a group and you don’t know the others.
Use a handshake
When I say handshake I don’t mean the firm grasp businessmen greet each other with.
More of the cheerful hand motions that kids use to greet each other or celebrate. This will go well with the guys.
Brad, my man, how are you doing? (Handshake)
This is for people that you know because you can’t go about hugging strangers. It is weird and a little unsanitary.
The hug is best if you haven’t seen it in a while, it says that you remember them and you have missed them. Here’s an example,
Oh my goodness. Jim! (Awkward side hug)
A safe nod
A nod is a sign of acknowledgment and for someone you don’t know very well, this is a perfect response to ‘yo’.
You are not risking any awkward physical contact or being too forward, at the same time both sides have communicated and are satisfied.
This is the most courteous gesture and there are risks involved.
Fist bumps and high fives
This can only happen in an informal setting. Fist bumps and high fives are not very common in greeting because they are used as a sign of agreement more than a sign of greeting.
In fact, I reckon only kids will use this, or an adult to a kid. Fist bumps and high fives will be okay for very tight friends since it isn’t very common.
If someone says ‘yo’ just to get you angry or to say something derogatory, you can use a glare to say “keep off”, “stop it”, or “I am warning you”.
Generally, only a jerk will turn a nice greeting into an opening line to a speech that will run you down.
Since you don’t have time to start thinking of witty comebacks or say things you will regret, a glare will send a clear “stop” message.
Give Careful Responses
We can’t know everyone, and to those who we don’t know that is nice enough to give us a yo, there are a few replies you can give to them depending on the situation:
Do I know you?
If someone recognizes you and says ‘yo’, it is probably because they think you know them too unless they would have started with something more formal and followed it up with an introduction.
If they have you mistaken for some other gorgeous human, this question will politely tell them “I don’t know you, I think you got the wrong person”.
They might ask a few questions just to confirm but then they let it go. This question is better than an outright and seemingly rude “I don’t know you”.
I don’t think we have met before
It is good to point out immediately that you don’t know someone so there won’t be any issues. You would seem rude if you tried to ignore them and it can be embarrassing if you are in a public place. Telling them that you haven’t met them before spells it out clearly.
You can give silly responses
If someone greets you with something this casual, you can reply with something silly just to mess with them.
It can make them laugh, shake their heads, and wonder but best of all. It will keep the good vibes following. If your peers or friends greet you with a yo then it’s okay to reply like this
Not much thought to it. It’s not what they are expecting so they will be surprised. Do it with a wink like you both have a secret. That will make them laugh or leave them confused.
And the replies get worse. If you say it really loudly while waving wildly you get some stares and make everyone laugh. The world is a little uptight, make it happy.
Yo yo yogidi yo
You can pronounce that however you like. If you use this reply you will raise eyebrows because it has never been heard and later on you can worry about how silly it was. It will leave people talking.
You can respond in anger too
A friend of mine believes that only Gen-Z greets with words as casual as “yo”. It made me laugh but she was appalled by the fact that anyone would take that as a greeting.
If you feel the same way, these replies will communicate that to the greeter effectively:
Don’t feel like you have to accept it. Everyone has the type of greetings they prefer and it differs from one person to another. If you don’t like it at all you can start with a calm no.
This will make them puzzled and then you can explain that you don’t like that as a greeting.
If they keep this up, you can give them a look to remind them or just ignore them completely.
If they really want to talk to you or say friends they should be willing to make a change.
You can use this if you don’t like being told ” yo”. Say someone is younger than you or when your agemates say this, the response will tell them to correct themselves.
At the same time, it is great if you are trying to flirt with someone. Someone will smile, another will blush and the whole thing picks up from there.
Besides, it is a nice way to hide the cat that you have no good reply to.
Who are you yo’ing? I ain’t one of ya friends
This is actually very funny. If you are confronting a teenager for using “yo” as a greeting then this reply is good.
It tells them that there is nothing wrong with it but they should keep it for their agemates and not consider it as a greeting for adults. You will seem like a chill adult if you go out this way.
Formal salutations only
Are you a sticker for formality, this reply is just what you need? You will sound old and boring but then you are letting the greeter know that you like what you like and “yo” is not a good enough greeting.
Try to do this in a friendly way so you seem like you are being stern or mean.
Good ‘old salutations. You don’t have to reply with ‘yo’. There is no mandate to it and if you feel more comfortable with greetings then go ahead with them.
Keeping them friendly and cheerful, whoever you are replying to will be happy to start a conversation.
This is also good for any other situation where you are told “yo”, except when you are being provoked.
Give Thankful Responses to “Yo” too
The thing about words is that they can have several meanings and each meaning is completely different from the other like how it can be used as a flirt greeting (trust me it can) and at the same time a warning.
My bad, thank you
Sometimes “yo” can be used as a warning. Let’s say you are using your and you are moving past a construction site, someone watches you move last and senses danger if you keep walking out looking and shout yo to get your attention and warn you to be careful.
Here saying my bad, means that you realize your mistake and you are taking them for the heads up.
If it is in a social setting and you are saying rude or inappropriate things, someone can say ‘yo’ to gently point that out before the situation gets worse.
Thanks for the heads-up
It’s not very smooth but it is appreciative and that’s what you are trying to do.
To appreciate whoever warned you from making a mistake because without it, you would have done something really stupid.
Aside from making a mistake, if you are visibly confused about something and someone points it out for you with a “yo”, this reply is not bad. For example, “yo, careful with that hot plate” or “yo, it’s that’s why to the gym”. See what I mean?
Affirmative Responses are not a bad idea too
Sometimes “yo” can be said as an affirmation. In this case, there are a lot of ways to reply.
Usually, it will be at the middle or end of a conversation so you can say “alright”, “okay”, “no problem”, and “fine”.
They all mean you are okay with the response you have gotten and that everything is okay with them.
In the case where someone says “yo” and adds a reward to it, like: “Yo, can you pass me those keys real quick”, there are a number of ways to reply.
You can say “Sure thing”. It is casual, it is flexible and easy to say while doing what was asked.
You can use yup, yeah, alright, okay. Any of these affirm that you heard them and will get right to do what they want you to do.
If you can’t on the other hand, replies like “sorry”, “no can do”, and “Nah” should do okay.
You can give rude responses
You know how people forget words sometimes and replace them with filler words?
Well, the word can be used as a filler word if your memory has failed to recall someone’s name or is too preoccupied to bother.
For example, a person can see someone they know but have forgotten their name. They can yell “yo” across not just to get their attention but to pass information across. Maybe ask their name. For example,
Hey! Yo, what’s your name?
Clara? Who’s asking?
Sometimes you might not be the one that is being addressed but the one who is being talked about.
If you are present or passing by you can chip in really quickly, “Yo! I have a name and it is Clara!”
You can also say, “I prefer you say my name, calling me yo is rude”. It is pointed and if the other person will be offended or attacked it is best to not use it.
Some people believe “yo” is outdated, while others have it as their go-to word. Any way it is used by anyone, you can boldly reply without worrying about how it off as.
That said, how about going around saying “yo” to everyone just to see their reaction and how they reply?