The key to a great Spanish conversation is how you start it.
This includes not just your non-verbal communication, like expression, tone, and body language, but Spanish conversation starters. You could appear to be the most interesting person, but it’s what you talk about that matters.
When you’re at a party, do you want to be the most interesting person in the room? Or do you want to be that person everyone speaks with for 5 mins, only to leave the conversation to ‘go to the bathroom’?
Whether you’re living in a Spanish speaking country or visiting one, we’ve got 32 fun conversation examples in Spanish to help you start, engage, and end any great conversation.
32 Fun Spanish Conversation Examples
The first thing we should mention is knowing when to use tú and usted? The reason this is important when talking about conversation starters is because of etiquette.
Both tú and usted translates to ‘you’, but the latter is used in a formal manner as it’s more polite.
Tú can be used when you’re speaking with:
- Friends or family members
- Younger children
Where as usted is most often used when speaking with:
- Your boss
- Teacher or professor
- Someone much older than you (grandparents)
- General public
Since you’re most likely to use this in an informal setting such as a making small talk at a party or at work, you should be fine sticking with tú.
Breaking the ice
The first step to any conversation (at least the ones that are pleasant) requires breaking the ice. This means overcoming that initial uncomfortable or awkward phase before the conversation gets going.
In order to the break the ice, there are a couple of things you could ask:
1. Hi, how’s it going? – Hola, ¿cómo estas?
2. Hey, I’m James. What’s your name? – Hola, soy James. ¿Cómo te llamas?
No need to be revolutionary here with your starting line. It’s far more important to deliver your introduction with confidence, rather than the perfect line.
There are some situational conversation starters that you could go with, depending on where you’re at.
3. Do you know what the time is? – ¿Sabe qué hora es?
4. Are you in line? – ¿Estás en línea?
A useful one when you’re at the mall or grocery store.
5. Hey, can I ask you a question? – Oye, ¿puedo hacerte una pregunta?
6. Where are you from? – ¿De dónde eres?
This can be quite common to ask at a local language exchange or when you’re surrounded by other foreigners.
Entering the conversation (at a party, event, or with strangers)
Now that you’ve opened the dialogue, you would normally ask a follow-up question or make a comment to enter the conversation smoothly. Here are a few ways to do this:
7. Do you come here often? – ¿Vienes seguido por aquí?
Particularly common when you’re at a bar, coffee shop, or any public setting that you happen to encounter someone.
8. Who did you come with? – ¿Con quién viniste?
We’re all social creatures, so we tend to feel closer with those that are in our social circle. When you’re at an event, it’s natural to ask someone who they came with, in case you have mutual friends. This is why Facebook’s mutual friends or Linkedin’s mutual connections is one of the first things we look for when adding a new person to our network.
9. How do you know Laura? – ¿Cómo conoces a Laura?
As a natural follow-up, if the two of you happen to have a mutual connection at the event, you’d ask about their relationship history.
10. What do you do here? – ¿Qué haces aquí?
Yikes, we know – how transactional. This might be a typical conversation at a networking event or cities like New York or San Francisco, so better get used to it! If anything, this is a question you’d get asked at some point in the near future.
11. How are you enjoying it here? – ¿Cómo lo estás disfrutando aquí?
The opposite way to enter the conversation (in a non-transactional manner) is to simply ask how they’re doing. No agenda. This question could also be useful if you’re trying to gauge feedback on how good this venue is.
Spanish Conversation Starters at Work
A common question we also get is how to initiate a conversation in the workplace. This could be with co-workers that you regularly interact with, those that you may have never met, and your bosses.
12. Hi, I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Tony – Hola, no creo que nos hayamos conocido. Soy Tony.
Do you work for a company larger than 100+ employees? Chances are you’re going to run into people that you’ve never met. Whether it’s because they’re just starting or you work in a different floor or building.
13. Hey Tim. Can you help me with something? – Hola Tim. ¿Puedes ayudarme con algo?
We all need help once in awhile. It’s crucial you ask politely as the same exact question could be perceived in multiple different ways, depending on your tone of voice, facial expression, and how fast you say it.
14. Could you please be more quiet? – ¿Podrías estar más callado?
Hopefully this isn’t required, but it may be necessary if you plan to get any work done at the workplace. Like the previous question, remember to ask in a polite manner so you avoid making enemies at work.
15. What time is lunch today? – ¿A qué hora es el almuerzo de hoy?
If you arranged a lunch with a co-worker, as it commonly happens, you can ask this question to confirm your appointment time.
16. Want some coffee? – ¿Quieres un café?
What’s the best way to make friends at work? Ask if they want coffee. Mmmm.
17. Hi Greg. Do you need help with this project? – Hola Greg. ¿Necesita ayuda con este proyecto?
Of course another way is to offer your help when a co-worker or your boss is struggling with a project. Be careful not to be taken advantage of, as you want to make sure you’re getting your own work done first.
18. Sorry Cindy, I need a few more hours with this task. – Lo siento Cindy, necesito unas horas más con esta tarea.
Not the easiest thing to admit, but projects or tasks get delayed. A lot. If you need to let your boss know that you need more time to get something done (or to do it better), apologize and let them know.
19. I’m feeling ill today, so I won’t be able to come into work. – Hoy me siento mal, así que no podré entrar en el trabajo.
This is probably something you’d say over the phone or email to let your boss and co-workers know you can’t come into work. Lucky for you, you can just copy and paste this to your inbox and click ‘send’!
Showing you care
“People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.
So you’ve learned the best ways to start a conversation, but how about leaving a good impression? Asking the right questions or adding the right comments can make the other person feel that you’re actually interested. As you may already know, this goes a long way when you’re building a connection with someone.
20. Yes, I agree – Sí, estoy de acuerdo
Simple and straight forward. When someone agrees with you, you naturally want to open up more with them.
21. If you don’t mind me asking… – Si no te importa que te pregunte…
Instead of jumping straight into asking them a question, you can do it in a more polite manner that would garner you some respect.
22. What do you think about …? – ¿Qué piensas tú sobre …?
You could ask for the other person’s opinion, especially if you know they have a particular expertise in a subject or field.
23. Yes, I also think that… – Sí, también creo que…
24. I also heard that… – También escuché que…
These two (23 and 24) are useful when you want to add your own opinion to the mix to steer up the conversation. It’s great to listen through the majority of the conversation, but including your own thoughts is vital.
Changing the topic
Okay, so you think it’s about time to switch the conversation to a different subject? Take the matter in your own control by smoothly transitioning the focus by saying:
25. By the way, I want to ask you… – Por cierto, quiero preguntarte
26. Oh this reminds me… – Oh esto me recuerda
27. Speaking of … – Hablando de
28. Before I forget… – Antes de que me olvide…
29. On another note… – Por otra parte…
Polite ways to end the conversation
Last but not least, all great conversations come to an end at one point or another. Sure, you can arrange to meet the person again another time if it went well. But how do you end it in the best way? We have a few options for you:
30. Sorry, I’m late to… – Lo siento, llego tarde a…
Hopefully this is genuine. Sometimes you get lost in a great conversation, and before you know it, you’re already late to your other meeting or picking up your kids.
31. I have to go, but I would love to reconnect – Tengo que irme. pero me encantaría reconectarme
A straightforward, genuine way to end a conversation while showing interest in meeting up again.
32. What are you up to for the rest of the day? – ¿Qué estás tramando por el resto del día?
Very subtle, casual way to let the other person know that you’re thinking about ending the conversation. Sometimes it’s too subtle for people, so you may have to test this one out.
33. Loved this conversation, but I have a… – Me encantó esta conversación, pero tengo un…
Whether it’s another meeting, appointment, or you just want to get out of there, you can’t go wrong with this conversation ending.
Hope these Spanish conversation examples were useful to help you start, engage, and end a conversation like a social butterfly. Test these out in the wild the next time you meet your friends for drinks, encounter a stranger at an event, or interact with co-workers at your job.
Best of luck!