In the US, certain things are ritual greetings that follow a standard script. Deviating from it is considered a bit weird (but it’s also common, and possible to get away with. I deviate from it often).
“How are you?” is not usually intended as a real…
A lot of time the answer to what’s up, is what’s up. You don’t even answer, you just ask the question back.
Oh yeah, I forgot that sometimes you don’t even answer. I remember when that started to be the case - it really weirded me out.
But yes, sometimes the expected answer is just “What’s up" back. Does it bother people when you answer “not much, you?“ and they’re expecting “what’s up?” repeated?
Woah, I’ve never encountered that. Maybe it’s not common where I live, or maybe I just haven’t been paying attention. Sometimes I mix up the order of the ritual greeting & answer “How are you?“ with “How are you?” but that’s a mistake, not on purpose. So if anyone’s ever just said “what’s up" back to me I probably interpreted it as a mistake.
But yeah, context is important. I’m getting better at telling whether people want to just greet & move on, exchange 20 seconds of pleasantries, or actually talk for a couple minutes - and I don’t want to intrude, so I don’t actually answer the question unless they actually seem inquisitive.
I wish I knew how to explain what “seeming inquisitive” looks like. I can usually tell, but I don’t know how to explain it. Do you know how to tell?