Real life, actually useful Spanish conversation starters

young people chatting in Spanish
Spanish conversation starters are a great tool for getting things moving.

My level of Spanish is pretty good. I have been living in Spain for over 10 years now and I can hold a conversation about pretty much any topic. South American history, online marketing technology, the world economic situation. No problem. But there is one thing that I still freeze up over. Chit chat. Just hanging out with a bunch of people and talking about nothing. Running into a friend in the street and catching up quickly for 20 seconds. These situations leave me stumbling and tongue tied looking for the right words.

If I could crack this problem, I am confident that my Spanish would jump up another level.

So it’s time to do something about it. The core of the problem seems to be that my brain is not quick enough to come out with the appropriate Spanish conversational phrases. Everything is happening too quickly and I don’t have time to think ahead about genders, verb conjugations or, my personal weak point, the vosotros verb forms if I am in a group. What I need is a plan.

I am going to memorize a few key phrases until they pop out of my mouth without thinking. Phrases for running into a friend, a neighbor, meeting a group of people in a bar etc. I hope that you will help me out and leave some other Spanish conversation examples in the comments as well.

Meeting One Person ( form)
  • ¿Qué tal? ¿Cómo estás?
  • ¿Cómo andas?
  • ¿Cuánto tiempo? ¿Qué tal todo?
  • ¿Qué te cuentas?
Meeting more than one person (vosotros form)
  • ¿Qué tal? ¿Cómo estáis?
  • ¿Cómo andáis?
  • ¿Cuánto tiempo? ¿Qué tal todo?
  • ¿Qué os contáis?

Of course, if you run into another person who is also a Spanish language learner, the natural topic of conversation should be your progress. Everybody welcomes a bit of encouragement.