What Does HRU Mean?

This confusing acronym stands for a very simple question

HRU stands for: How Are You?

What's confusing about this particular acronym is that the words "are" and "you" aren't represented by their first letters. Instead, the acronym uses the internet slang terms "R" and "U," which sound exactly like their corresponding words "are" and "you."

Illustration of HRU in a message bubble on an iPhone.

A similar acronym to HRU is NMU, which stands for, "Not Much, You?"

How HRU Is Used

Just like in face to face conversations, sending HRU in a text message or posting it as a reply to somebody online is a safe, friendly way to greet someone and show your interest in what they have to say about themselves. The acronym may or may not be accompanied by a question mark after it, but it always represents a question regardless of punctuation use. 

For strangers who meet online for the first time via message boards, dating sites, social networks, or other online communities, opening with HRU can really help get the ball rolling with the conversation. Friends, colleagues, and other people you know in person may also use it to help get a conversation started or just to check in with you.

Examples of HRU

Example 1

Online user #1: "Hey hru"

Online user #2: "I'm doing great, thx. Hru?"

Online user #1: "Not bad, just chillin."

The above example represents an extremely casual conversation between two complete strangers who just connected online. They both use HRU to show interest in getting to know each other and continue chatting.

Example 2

Friend #1: "Sorry I didn't text all week, been super busy."

Friend #2: "Np hun, it happens. So hru?"

Friend #1: "Good, but I need a drink asap!! Wanna go out?"

The second example above represents a conversation that two close friends might have via text message. Friend #2 checks in with Friend #1 by using HRU after not hearing from them all week.

Another Slang Alternative to HRU

One of the big disadvantages to using HRU online or in text messages is that fewer people are bound to know its meaning due to being one of those less popular acronyms. Chances are that even some of the most web-savvy, smartphone-addicted people won't know what it means.

A solution to this is using HRU's slightly more obvious alternative: How R U. This slang phrase is much easier to read and decode. Practically everyone who's plugged into modern technology is aware that the use of R means "are" and U means "you," so you're more likely to get a better response.

When and When Not to Use HRU

Unlike many other slang acronyms out there, HRU is a friendly and polite acronym—but that doesn't necessarily mean you can use it just anywhere or with anyone. Here are a few general guidelines.

Use HRU when:

  • You're texting or chatting with somebody else who frequently uses acronyms. Whether it's your BFF, your 15-year-old niece or even your dear old mom who loves to text/chat with acronyms, there's a greater chance they'll have no problem understanding (or they'll at least be excited and willing to learn) what HRU means. 
  • You're having an extremely casual chat with someone you just met online. If you're connecting with someone new on a dating site, in a chat room, or anywhere else online, your use of HRU could help to set the casual tone of the conversation. 
  • You're genuinely interested in knowing more about the other person. Many people fall into the habit of asking others how they are just to seem polite, yet fail to show interest beyond that question and thus fail to get much of a conversation going. Don't fall into this trap if you want to make it a good conversation.

Don't Use HRU when:

  • You're having a casual conversation with somebody who always uses proper spelling and grammar. Even if it's casual, it's probably a good idea to show your respect for the other person by sticking to proper spelling and grammar if that's what they using in the conversation.
  • You're having a professional conversation with someone. It's best not to email or text HRU to your college teaching assistant, your landlord, your manager at work, or any other professional connection. They may not be impressed.
  • You feel obligated to ask it. You may be better off skipping the use of HRU in a conversation altogether. Instead, ask or say something you genuinely want to talk about.