Responding To ‘Wie Geht’s?’ In German Posted by Constanze on Oct 12, 2021 in Language, Vocabulary
Guten Tag! Wie geht’s? In my last post, we looked at alternative ways of saying this phrase, which means ‘How are you?’ in German. In this post, we’re going to look at alternative responses you can give, aside from the standard ‘Gut, danke’ (‘Good, thanks’). After all, what if you’re not feeling good? Or what if someone asks you, ‘Was gibt’s denn Neues?’ (‘What’s new?’) – or any other question that can’t logically be answered with ‘Gut, danke’?! Read on for a selection of different responses to help expand your vocabulary and have better conversations (even during small talk)!
das Geplauder – Small talk
(… although it’s also called der Smalltalk in German)
First of all, here are some standard responses if you just want to be polite and answer the question, without getting into further conversation. Starting with the go-to exchange:
Wie geht es dir? (How are you?)
Gut, danke. (Good, thanks)
If you wanted to ask the other person how they are, simply add, ‘Und dir?’ (‘And you?’) onto the end of your response.
You can also answer ‘Gut, danke’ to the following questions:
Wie läuft’s? (‘How’s it going?’)
Wie geht’s, wie steht’s? (‘How’s it going?’)
Geht es dir gut? (‘Are you well?’)
Alles okay? (‘Everything OK?’)
Wie fühlst du dich heute? (‘How are you feeling today?’)
If someone asks you, ‘Was geht ab?’ (‘What’s happening?/What’s up?’) or ‘Was gibt’s denn Neues?’ (‘What’s new?’), you can respond with ‘Nicht viel’ (‘Not much’) or ‘Einiges’ (‘Quite a lot/A fair bit’).
If someone asks you, ‘Was macht die Arbeit?’ (‘How’s work?’), a neutral response would be something like, ‘Wie immer’ (‘As always’/’Same old’) or ‘Passt schon’ (‘All good’).
Other, neutral responses to similar questions are: ‘In Ordnung’ (‘All good’/’No problems’) or ‘Ich kann mich nicht beschweren’ (‘Can’t complain’).
Now, if you want to open up the conversation a little more, here are a selection of phrases you can use to let the person know you’ve got more to say:
‘Weißt du was’ is a great little opener that means ‘you know what?’ and can be used to draw the listener in:
Weißt du was, Josh, mir geht’s…
You know what, Josh, I feel…
Weißt du was, Josh, alles ist super!
You know what, Josh, everything’s brilliant!
‘Eigentlich’ is a way of saying ‘actually’ or ‘as a matter of fact’, and can be used to indicate your answer will get straight to the point:
Eigentlich bin ich sauer.
Actually, I’m angry.
Eigentlich fühle ich mich, als hätte ich keine Ahnung, was ich tue.
Actually, I feel like I have no clue what I’m doing.
‘In letzter Zeit’ means ‘lately’ or ‘recently’. You might want to use this one to indicate a change in your circumstances or mood:
Ich bin in letzter Zeit so müde!
I’m so tired lately!
If things aren’t going so well (and you want people to know!), you might use this little phrase:
Ach, frag nicht! – Ugh, don’t ask!
Now, if you wanted to have a longer chat, it would make sense to ask the other person if they’re free first. An exchange may look like this:
Hey, Sara! Was geht ab?
Hallo, Matthias. Einiges. Hast du Zeit für einen Kaffee/ein Bier?
Ja, natürlich! Erzähl mir alles.
Hey, Sara! What’s up?
Hello, Matthias. A whole lot. Do you have time for a coffee/a beer?
Yeah, of course! Tell me everything.
Sometimes, we really need someone to talk to, but it can be difficult to ask. It’s very easy to become robotic when we have the ‘Wie geht es dir?’/’Gut danke’ exchange (in any language!), as we often reply ‘Gut, danke’ when we are feeling anything but gut! The next time you feel low and someone asks how you are, if you trust that person then tell them:
Ich fühle mich einsam. Ich brauche jemanden zum Reden.
I feel lonely. I need someone to talk to.
Finally, you might like to thank the person for asking about you, or for listening to you. Simply say:
Danke fürs Fragen – Thanks for asking.
Danke fürs Zuhören – Thanks for listening.
I hope this has been helpful. If you’d like more vocabulary for feelings & emotions, click on this post: Expressing Feelings and Emotions | German Language Blog (transparent.com)
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