So, if you read my article about 8 alternatives to saying ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?) in Spanish, then this article is the perfect complement, as I will be teaching you the formal, informal and Mexican ways to reply to that question.
I. Always replying with the same “Estoy bien, ¿y tú?” is boring!
Estoy bien, ¡gracias! ¿Y tú? (I am fine, thank you! And you?) This reminds me about the way we used to reply to our English teacher every time s/he would come into class saying “Good morning! How are you?” And the whole salón de clases (classroom) would reply as a choir at the same time “Fine, and you?”.
Estoy bien is a Spanish phrase meaning “I’m good” or “I’m fine.” It is often used in day-to-day conversation to express that one is feeling well. It is also a great phrase to use when responding to someone asking how you are doing.
But honestamente (honestly), this is how they teach us, but in real life, no contestamos SIEMPRE lo mismo (we don’t always reply the same). For that reason, I think that this video is muy importante (very important) for you to start growing your knowledge of chunks.
This article has three sections: respuestas formales (formal answers), respuestas informales (informal answers) and respuestas a la mexicana (Mexican answers), so I advise you to stay until the end of this video if you want to hear how Mexican natives express themselves.
II. Replying in formal situations: instead of estoy bien, say…
First, I am going to teach you how to reply in formal situations, that is, replying to people who are not your friends or to whom you don’t need to give a lot of information about “el día terrible” (terrible day) that you just had!
#1 – Nada mal (Not bad)
So you are not giving away a lot of information, but good enough to not use the same answer “Estoy bien”.
- La comida del restaurante estuvo nada mal. (The food at the restaurant was not bad at all.)
#2 – Excelente (excellent)
To express that everything is going really well, and there is no need to give more details.
- Tu trabajo en el proyecto ha sido excelente. (Your work on the project has been excellent.)
#3 – Todo bien (All good)
A variant of estoy bien is todo bien (all good). It works perfectly in most contexts.
- No te preocupes, está todo bien. (Don’t worry, everything is fine.)
Speaking of bien, there are a lot of nouns and adjectives that you can add to the word bien to make it a different answer.
You could reply to someone:
- Hola, ¿cómo estás? (Hi, how are you?)
- Bien, bien (Good, good)
- Muy bien (Very good)
- Todo bien (All good)
- Súper bien (Super good)
- Bastante bien (Pretty good)
III. Replying in informal situations: instead of estoy bien, say…
Alternatively, in informal situations, or with your acquaintances you may use different replies that can refer to your día maravilloso (amazing day) or even your día horroroso (awful day).
#1 – ¡Ahí vamos! or ¡Ahí voy! (We are going!)
This one is like saying “We are going” or “I am going”.
- Aunque nos ha costado un poco, ahí vamos aprendiendo. (Even though it has been a bit challenging, we’re getting there in our learning.)
This tends to be a sentence referring to “We are holding things together, nothing bad, nothing wrong, just going with the flow,” which reminds me about:
#2 – Más o menos (So, so)
…or, like we say in Mexico, the short version “Maso”
This one is more like saying “So, so” or “neither good nor bad”.
- Más o menos, no he tenido un buen día. (So-so, I haven’t had a good day.)
#3 – He tenido días mejores (I’ve had better days)
You could also say He tenido días mejores (I’ve had better days) — similar to the English answer — to express that you have been better, and today you are definitely not in your best shape.
- No me siento muy bien hoy, he tenido días mejores. (I’m not feeling very well today, I’ve had better days.)
But after long time not seeing the same person that saw you at your lowest energy and now you are feeling amazing, then you must reply:
#4 – Mucho mejor, muchas gracias (Much better, thank you very much)
- Hola, ¿cómo vas? (Hi, how are you?)
- Mucho mejor, muchas gracias. (Much better, thank you very much.)
This one is “thank you for caring about me” in perfect Spanish.
#5 – No me puedo quejar (I can’t complain)
Well, you don’t want to brag, but come on, you have had some good days; therefore, feel free to use this chunk.
- La vida me ha tratado bien, no me puedo quejar. (Life has treated me well, I can’t complain.)
IV. Estoy bien variations in Mexico
Now, let’s get to our Mexican replies.
PG ADVISORY: The following answers can ONLY be used in a Mexican context with friends and natives as some words might not make sense or could be rude to other nationalities.
Los mexicanos tenemos formas muy raras de expresarnos (We, Mexicans, have really weird ways to express ourselves), but if you have Mexican friends, family or acquaintances, then please feel free to use them and prepare to surprise them with:
¡Hola, compa! ¿Cómo estás? And since we’re already here, what about checking out some Mexican slangs on a Spanish tutoring website?
#1 – Estoy poca madre or estoy a toda madre (Really good)
I don’t think I can even translate this, but this means being “Really good”. I don’t know why we use MADRE for everything, and depending on the context could be a good or a bad thing.
- ¡Mi equipo ganó el partido! Estoy poca madre. (My team won the game! I’m feeling awesome.)
#2 – Estoy de huevos (Cool, dope)
Literally translated, it doesn’t really mean anything … something related with eggs, and it doesn’t make sense, but being truly honest with you, this phrase is actually commonly used by Mexicans… and surprisingly is feeling AMAZING.
- Me acaban de dar un aumento de sueldo, estoy de huevos. (I just got a raise, I’m feeling great.)
#3 – Al tiro or de lujo (I’m at my highest level)
This means “I am at my highest level”. There is nothing beyond this, you are literally on your luxury side, feeling chingón (I will leave this word for another video).
- Lo hago al tiro, dame un minuto. (I’ll do it right away, give me a minute.)
#4 – Ando en chinga or Ando en friega (I’m in a hurry)
Are you tired and overwhelmed by work? Then, this is exactly what you need to say. It’s perfect to use when you are “running” and at this moment you have no time for anything else.
- Estoy trabajando mucho y muy rápido, ando en chinga. (I’m working a lot and very fast, I’m hustling.)
And the worst that you can say in Mexican Spanish is:
#5 – Estoy que me lleva la fregada (I’ll be damned)
This is when things are going so bad, that you are in the worst mood.
Imagine you just broke up, you have no job or you just lost it, nobody wants to hang out with you…
- Amigo, ¿cómo andas? (Dude, how are you doing?)
- Estoy que me lleva la fregada. (I’ll be damned.)
So, mis amigos, ¿cómo están HOY? (How are you TODAY?) Tell me in the comments below how you are doing today with your favorite reply from this video. I am excited to see what you learned.
Free Spanish Chunking Kit
If you want to learn even more Spanish chunks that you can use in conversations right away, why don’t you download our free Essential Spanish Chunking Kit?
It contains downloadable (and printable) cheat sheets with the most frequent Spanish chunks!