“How are you?” in German

Humans are social beings and as such we often want to know how other people feel. Sometimes it’s just to be nice and to show empathy and sometimes it’s because we actually care, but no matter the reason – it’s always a good thing to be able to ask someone how they feel in a foreign language.

In German, if you want to ask someone “How are you?”, you have multiple options depending on your relationship with the person you are talking to. The three most common questions are:

How are you? (formal)Wie geht es Ihnen?
How are you? (informal)Wie geht es Dir?
How’re you?Wie geht’s?

So in a formal situation, like when you are talking to an elderly person you don’t know, or if you’re talking to your boss, you ask: “Wie geht es Ihnen?” – although this is beginning to change.

And in less formal situations – especially if you’re talking to younger people, family or friends you can use “Wie geht es dir?” or even “Wie geht’s?”

So far so good. But now, how do you answer this question, if somebody else asks you? In order to do so, you have multiple options. The most common ones however are the following:

I’m fine.Mir geht es gut.
I feel bad.Mir geht es schlecht.
Not too bad. / So-so.So lala.

In most cases, people will say that they are fine, so they will say something like: “Mir geht es gut.” or even shorten it to “Gut.” or “Mir geht’s gut.” And in a conversation you often also add “Danke” (thanks) and “und dir?” / “und Ihnen?” (and you?).

So a possible conversation could look like this:

Wie geht es dir?How are you?
Mir geht es gut. Danke. Und dir?I’m fine. Thanks. And you?
So lala. Ich habe letzte Nacht schlecht geschlafen.So-so. I had a rough night, last night.
Ich hoffe es geht dir bald besser.I hope you’ll feel better soon.

Stay tuned for more articles about the German numbers and other essentials for learning German!

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