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Portuguese Conversation Starters to Always Break the Ice


Imagine the scene. You just greeted the host of a dinner party you were invited to. After gifting him a nice bottle of his favorite drink, he tells you to mingle and have fun while he finalizes everything in the kitchen. The only problem is, you don’t know anyone there besides the host! You look around and see the other guests already chatting and laughing. What now?

This scene might make you nervous, especially when you need to speak in a different language. But if you learn conversation starters in Portuguese, you will make your life much easier! You will have go-to sentences you can use to break the ice and avoid awkward silences when meeting people. 

In this article, we will cover basic Portuguese conversation starters for various situations: parties and social events, being in a new job and a new school, first dates, and reconnecting with friends. Once we are done, you’ll know what to say to ask for help, give compliments, learn a bit about the other person and just get conversations started!

Group of Friends Making a Toast and Smiling

Always have something to say – and get the conversation going!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Meeting People in Brazil
  2. Start Conversations at Parties and Social Gatherings
  3. Conversation Starters to Use at Your New Job
  4. Meeting People at a New School
  5. Portuguese Conversation Starters for First Dates
  6. Conversation Starters to Use With Friends
  7. Continue Learning More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

1. Meeting People in Brazil

The first thing you need to know is that Brazilians love parties and get-togethers. It’s very common to have barbecues on the weekends, organize several parties to celebrate a birthday, or get invited for an impromptu dinner. 

In general, Brazilians also tend to be social and curious about new people – especially if you are learning Portuguese! So more likely than not, they will approach you and get the conversation started. But, of course, not everyone is the same. That’s why it is a good idea for you to learn how to break the ice and have handy conversation starters for different situations.

You also should remember the basic Portuguese words and greeting phrases that can always be used. Here is a quick recap:

  • Olá! (“Hello!”)
  • Oi! (“Hi!”)
  • Tudo bem? (literally, “All well?” use it as an informal way of asking “How are you?”)
  • Como você está? (“How are you?”)
  • Prazer em te conhecer! (“Nice to meet you!”)
  • Prazer! (literally “Pleasure”, a shorter way of saying “Nice to meet you”.)

2. Start Conversations at Parties and Social Gatherings

Let’s go back to the scenario in the first paragraph. You are in a gathering with a bunch of people you don’t know. Why not start with the things you have in common, for example, knowing the host?

In Portuguese, the easiest way to do that is by referring to the host by name. For example:

  • Você conhece o João? (“Do you know João?”)
    Você conhece a Maria? (“Do you know Maria?”)
  • Como você conheceu o Carlos? (“How did you meet Carlos?”)

After that, you can branch out to different topics of conversation, talking about the place or the things going on.

  • A casa da Luísa é linda, né? (“Luísa’s house is gorgeous, no?”)
  • O que você está bebendo? (“What are you drinking?”) 
  • O que você está comendo? Parece bom! (“What are you eating? It looks good!”) 
  • Aquele coquetel parece uma delícia, você sabe o que é? (“That cocktail looks delicious, do you know what is it?”) 
  • Eu vou pegar uma bebida. Você quer alguma coisa? (“I’ll go grab a drink. Do you want something?”) 
  • Você gosta deste tipo de festa? (“Do you like this type of party?”) 
  • A música está muito alta, você não acha? (“The music is too loud, don’t you think?”)

Finally, you can also get to know people better with these Portuguese conversation starters:

  • Onde você mora? (“Where do you live?”) 
  • Quanto tempo demorou pra você chegar aqui? (“How long did it take for you to get here?”)
  • No que você trabalha? (literally “In what do you work?”, meaning “what is your job?”)
  • Você estuda o quê? (“What do you study?”)

Five Friends Preparing Dinner and Laughing

Como você e a Marcela se conheceram? (“How did you and Marcela meet?”)

3. Conversation Starters to Use at Your New Job

First day at the new job? Congratulations! You’ll probably have some questions for your co-workers. Luckily, those questions will also be a great way to break the ice and build rapport.

These first sentences are big ones, but they are a combination of many useful phrases, which you can also use separately. Here are some basic Portuguese phrases for this kind of situation:

  • Oi, meu nome é [nome]. Hoje é o meu primeiro dia trabalhando aqui. Como eu posso te chamar? (“Hi, my name is [name]. It’s my first day here. How should I address you?”)
  • Com licença, eu sou novo aqui e não conheço o escritório muito bem. Onde posso encontrar o banheiro? (“Excuse me, I’m new and don’t really know my way around here. Where can I find the bathroom?”)
    • Instead of o banheiro (“the bathroom”), you can also say a lixeira (“the trash can”), o chefe (“the boss”), a Maria (“Maria”)… just remember to add the appropriate article before the noun.

Questions about work will be necessary as you get acquainted with the new office, your role, and the people you’re working with.

  • Você trabalha aqui há quanto tempo? (“How long have you been working here?”)
  • Eu trabalho em Recursos Humanos. E você? (“I work in Human Resources. And you?”)
  • Você trabalha em que andar? (“In which floor do you work?”)
  • Como o projeto está indo? (“How is the project going?”)

Conversations with co-workers don’t need to be only about work! So why not forge friendships by doing something together or asking about their weekend?

  • Posso almoçar com vocês? (“May I join you (plural) for lunch?”)
  • Quer pegar um café comigo? (“Do you want to go grab a coffee with me?”)
  • O que você vai fazer depois do trabalho hoje? Vamos tomar uma cerveja! (“What are you doing after work today? Let’s grab a beer!”)
  • E aí, como foi seu fim de semana? (“So, how was your weekend?”)

4. Meeting People at a New School

Starting to study at a new university or school can be just as intimidating as starting a new job. Many of the Portuguese conversation starters from the previous section can also be used to meet people at school. 

But there are some specific sentences you can also use in this scenario. Let’s take a look at some more phrases you might hear from Portuguese native speakers (or use yourself!):

  • Oi, eu sou a Milena. Hoje é o meu primeiro dia aqui. Qual é o seu nome? (“Hi, I’m Milena. It’s my first day here. What ‘s your name? ”)
  • Em que ano você está? (“What year are you in?”)
  • Eu estou no primeiro ano. (“I’m in my first year.”)
  • Você gosta da escola? (“Do you like the school?”)
  • O que você acha da universidade? (“What do you think of the university?”)
  • Licença, eu tô meio perdido aqui. Você sabe onde fica o auditório? (“Excuse me, I’m a bit lost here. Do you know where the auditorium is?”)
  • Posso sentar com vocês? (“Can I sit with you (plural)?”)
  • O que você está estudando? (“What are you studying?”)
  • Você tem aulas com o professor Marcos? (“Do you have classes with Professor Marcos?”)
  • Você está na mesma turma que a Maria? (“Are you in the same class as Maria?”)
  • Você já tem um grupo para a aula de Análise Financeira? (“Do you already have a group for the Financial Analysis class?”)

Students Taking Note During Class

Get to know your new colleagues at university or school!

5. Portuguese Conversation Starters for First Dates

Now that you’re settled in the country and have met your colleagues, maybe it’s time to go on some dates. First dates can be very awkward, and knowing how to avoid those weird moments with no conversation is a must-have skill. 

To help you along the way, you can get started with these basic Portuguese phrases once you greet your date: 

  • Desculpa o atraso. (“Sorry I was late.”) – hopefully, you won’t have to say that, though!
  • Eu gosto do seu sorriso. (“I like your smile.”)
  • Espero que você goste deste lugar. (“I hope you like this place.”)
  • Você quer ficar aqui ou andar um pouco? (“Do you want to stay here or go for a walk?”)

Once the first few minutes go by and you are warming up to each other, you can ask some objective questions to know more about your date:

  • Onde você nasceu? (“Where were you born?”)
  • Você cresceu onde? (“Where did you grow up? ”)
  • Você gosta de morar aqui? (“Do you like living here? ”)
  • Você tem irmãos? (“Do you have any siblings?”)
  • Você tem um pet? (“Do you have a pet?”)
  • O que você faz da vida? (“What do you do for a living?”)

If things go well, it’s a good idea to learn more about the other person’s interests and even ask some deeper questions.

  • De que tipo de música você gosta? (literally, “What type of music do you like?”, referring to one’s favorite musical genre)
  • Você faz algum esporte? (“Do you do any sports?”)
  • O que você gosta de fazer no seu tempo livre? (“What do you like to do in your free time?”)
  • Se você pudesse morar em qualquer lugar, onde seria? (“If you could live anywhere, where would it be?”)
  • Qual foi o encontro mais estranho que você já teve? (“What was the weirdest date you’ve been on? ”)

Man Holding a Cup of Hot Drink and Smiling at a Woman

Eu gosto muito deste lugar, e você? (“I like this place a lot, what about you?”)

6. Conversation Starters to Use With Friends

Even when it comes to people we already know, sometimes it’s hard to know what to say, especially in a foreign language. Maybe you’re trying to reconnect with friends via social media or phone, or maybe you just really need to share some good gossip… whatever the case, these Portuguese conversation starter examples will help you get there!

To have long-lasting friendships, we need to keep in touch from time to time. So if it has been a while since you talked to a particular friend, send them a message saying:

  • Saudades de você! (“I miss you!”)
  • Faz tanto tempo que a gente não se vê! Como está indo? (“It’s been too long since we’ve seen each other! How is it going?”)
  • Quanto tempo! Me liga quando você tiver um tempo. (“It’s been a while! Give me a call when you have a chance.”)
  • Vamos fazer algo esta semana! (“Let’s do something this week!”)
  • Tenho novidades pra te contar. (“I have news to tell you.”)
  • Oi, o que você vai fazer este fim de semana? (“Hey, what do you have planned this weekend?”)

If the issue is not reconnecting, but mostly getting a chat going with a friend, the sentences below can be used.

  • Você não vai acreditar no que aconteceu! (“You won’t believe what happened! ”)
  • Tenho que te contar a coisa mais louca que me aconteceu. Quando a gente pode se ver? (“I’ve got to tell you the craziest thing that happened to me. When can we see each other?”)
  • Me ajuda! Que vestido fica melhor, o azul ou o roxo? (“Help! Which dress fits better, the blue or the purple one?”)
  • Quer ouvir uma piada? (“Want to hear a joke? ”)
  • Tenho uma fofoca pra te contar. (“I got a piece of gossip to tell you.”)
  • Feliz aniversário, amigo! (“Happy birthday, my friend!”), used to talk to a male friend.

Now, just be sure to put what you learned today to the test! You can try using those sentences in your next Portuguese conversation practice, writing a short dialogue, or even role-playing by yourself.

Two Women Sitting in the Couch

If it’s been a while since you saw a good friend, get back in touch with a text!

7. Continue Learning More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

We hope that you feel ready to start chatting left and right in Brazil, using the many Portuguese conversation starters showcased in this article! With over 60 options to choose from, you’ll be able to break the ice in all kinds of situations. Whether you need to meet new colleagues, make new acquaintances or rekindle the conversation with old friends, you will be ready to have a nice talk.

Do you feel you have learned how to start a conversation in Brazil? Do you think we missed any useful Portuguese words and phrases? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Continue your Portuguese language learning journey with the hundreds of free Portuguese resources and the many vocabulary lists available on PortuguesePod101.com. Go ahead and choose your favorite tools to expand your learning opportunities.

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