There are sentences in English like "What's up?" "What's going on?" "how have you been?" to begin a conversation with or to greet people (friends or relatives)

So what are the common ice-breaker sentences in Chinese?


5 Answers 5


Here are a few ice-breaker sentences:

最近怎么样?(Literally "recently how"? = How've you been recently?)

最近好吗?(Literally recently good?)

最近忙什么?(Literally recently busy what? = What have you been busy for?)


The weather is a good topic for people living in a city.

For example:




  • Don't believe this is an answer. Clarify to prove me wrong.
    – user76935
    May 29, 2014 at 20:10
  • 2
    It is useful somehow like you can say "今儿天不错啊"、“今天热死了”,“看起来一会儿要下雨是吧?” May 30, 2014 at 6:43
  • I added your examples to the answer, @MichaelYin. Thanks for the suggestion.
    – Don Kirkby
    Sep 5, 2016 at 17:53

When you see someone you know but they seem busy:


Everyone else:


  • Note that "吃饭了没?" is no longer a common ice-breaker in most cities (especially in south China) May 29, 2014 at 9:45
  • rly? The guards at our apartment complex ask us this everyday! (Yuh we live in the south)
    – Mou某
    May 29, 2014 at 9:54

你怎么样? - How are you?

(for a person you just met) - 你是哪里人? - What province are you from?


If you here mean "ice-breaker" is " Something that can break the ice while talking in a senario or environment that makes people very stupid or embarrassed. You can say:

1) 没和我开玩笑吧?(Are you kidding?!):Used when you feel ver surprised at something or something very awful that you don't expect to happen.

2) Invite someone to have a dinner with you (Even if you are not good with someone but you wanna have a talk with him, that's what Chinese people are glad to do).

However, if you wanna know something to be used when you wanna start a topic with a man not familiar to you, here are some tips:

1) 可以借个火吗?(If you see the man is smoking, you can say this to have a talk with him for the following things). 2) 你好,饭吃了吗?(You don't need to invite him/her to have a dinner but just a greeting sentence for your following talk).

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