It’s always a good idea to try and make new friends. And if they are native speakers of the language you are learning...even better! You would also have the opportunity to practice and improve your Italian language skills!
If you meet an Italian person who sparks your interest, you may want to know how to approach them. What are the most common Italian questions to ask in order to get to know them? How to establish a friendship?
Let’s start with the basics. Imagine that you are introduced for the first time to an Italian person by someone you already know. You don’t want to stay there silent all along, do you? In order to start a conversation in Italian, you will want to use these Italian get to know each other questions:
Piacere di conoscerti! Io sono… (your name). Tu come ti chiami?
= Nice to meet you! I’m… (your name). What’s your name?
Quanti anni hai? = How old are you?
For some people, age can be a sensitive topic, so it is suggested not to ask this question out of nowhere, but to do it in an appropriate context. Moreover, you could also lighten the tension by adding:
Di dove sei? = Where are you from?
If, like said, they are italian, and you would like to know from where in Italy they come from you would ask:
Di cosa ti occupi nella vita? / Che lavoro fai?
= What do you do for a living?
E’ la tua prima volta qui? Ti piace? = Is it your first time here? Do you like it?
With this question, you express your interest in knowing how they are enjoying the place. And this is also the right moment to learn the reason that brought them there:
Real connections are created by sharing opinions and preferences. What if you’re incompatible together? The only way to find it out is by deepening the conversation a little.
For doing this the following Italian phrases will come in handy:
Cosa fai di solito il fine settimana? = What do you usually do on the weekends?
Cosa ne pensi dell’ultimo romanzo/film/album di… (name of the author)? = What do you think of the latest… (name of the author) novel/movie/album?
Ti piace andare al mare? = Do you like going to the beach?
Preferisci le città grandi o piccole? = Do you prefer big cities or small towns?
Sei d’accordo con ciò che ha detto... (name of the person)? - Do you agree with what… (name of the person) said?
Keep in mind: the two key Italian verbs for talking about preferences are preferire and piacere. Whereas, when discussing opinions, make sure you remember these formulas: Cosa ne pensi di…? and Sei d’accordo con…?
You and your almost-new friend passed the compatibility test, and you would like to meet them again. Fantastic! But how would you invite them? Here are some useful phrases to make arrangements:
Ti piacerebbe andare al mare nei prossimi giorni? = Would you like to go to the beach in the next few days?
Of course, if they told you previously that they hate the beach… find another destination!
Ti va un caffè questo fine settimana? = Are you up for a coffee this weekend?
Sei impegnato/a domani? Vuoi venire al cinema con me? = Are you busy tomorrow? Would you like to go to the cinema with me?
Se ti va, possiamo fare una passeggiata oggi pomeriggio! = If you like, we can go for a walk this afternoon!
Hai tempo per una birra tra mezz’ora? = Do you have time for beer in half an hour?
Hai voglia di una pizza stasera? = Do you feel like having pizza tonight?
Ci vediamo domani! = I’ll see you tomorrow!
Ci vediamo lì alle cinque! = I’ll see you there at 5!
Sometimes we are busy and can’t accept our friends’ proposals. Some other times, unexpected events force us to change our plans. What would you say in these instances?
Scusa, ho avuto un imprevisto e non posso più uscire stasera!
= I’m sorry, something came up and I can’t go out tonight!
Possiamo vederci alle 3 invece che alle 5?
= Can we meet at 3 instead of 5?
Oggi non riesco. Domani sarebbe meglio per me!
= Today I can’t. Tomorrow would be a better option for me!
Any relationship requires some level of commitment. So, at some point, you may want to learn some phrases to stay in touch with your recent acquaintances:
If you enjoy someone’s company and you would like to spend more time with them, you should tell them:
Dovremmo vederci più spesso! = We should meet more often!
Moreover, nowadays one of the most common ways to stay in touch is through social media… like it or not! In Italian, you could, for instance, say:
Sei su Facebook? Posso aggiungerti? = Are you on Facebook? Can I add you?
Ti dispiace se ti seguo su Twitter? = Do you mind if I follow you on Twitter?
Old school ways never die. There are still some people out there who prefer a phone call or an instant message. If you are one of those – or your new pal is – one of the Italian ways to ask for their number is:
Ti va di scambiarci i numeri di cellulare? = Do you want to exchange phone numbers?
Or more informally:
Qual è il tuo numero? = What’s your number?
On a related note, you may perhaps be interested in reading this other article on how to write emails and letters in Italian.
We started the previous section with an incomplete sentence, but it’s just to create some suspense! Truth is, any relationship requires some level of constant commitment. In spite of differences among people and their relational behaviour, it is important to keep nurturing our friendships.
This can be done by reminding your friends, from time to time, that you love them! In Italian, there are two different phrases to express love. Usually "Ti amo" is used in a romantic relationships, whereas friends would say:
Ti voglio bene = I love you (non-romantic relationships)
Some other phrases to let them know what they mean to you are:
Ti stimo molto = I think the world of you / I admire you
Sei una persona molto importante per me = You’re very important to me
Sono orgoglioso/a di te = I’m proud of you
Sono contento/a di averti nella mia vita = I’m glad to have you in my life
Moreover, to emphasize your mutual companionship and express your gratitude, you could tell them the following:
Grazie per esserci sempre per me = Thanks for always being there for me
Puoi contare su di me = You can count on me
Quando vuoi, io sono qui = I’m here for you whenever you want
Ne vuoi parlare? = Do you want to talk about it?
Proverbs are fun and simple, yet they often hold the wisest truths. Besides, it’s also through them that we can get an idea of how Italians interpret friendships.
“Chi trova un amico trova un tesoro”
This is definitely the most popular Italian proverb about friendship. It literally means who finds a friend finds a treasure. Yes, a good friend is someone who would enrich your life. But more importantly, this proverb also highlights the rarity of good friendship!
“I veri amici sono come le mosche bianche”
But how rare are they? Like whiteflies! Here’s another Italian proverb about the difficulty in finding a trustworthy friend. The English translation is: True friends are as rare as whiteflies.
“Con un amico al lato, ogni guaio è sistemato”
Have you ever felt like your troubles were lighter thanks to the company of a friend? An insightful talk with your loved ones can certainly help, but probably won’t solve your troubles! This proverb suggests otherwise: With a friend by your side, every trouble is solved.
“Gli amici si riconoscono nel momento del bisogno”
Everybody appreciates friends when they are at their best, but the true challenge is to do the same at their worst. This is exactly the essence of this Italian saying. It’s similar to the English: A friend in need is a friend indeed.
“L’amico è come il vino, se è buono col tempo migliora”
Friends will be friends. And that’s not all! As time goes on, friends can also positively transform their relationship. As easy as that: Old wine and friends improve with age. Do you agree?