The art of small talk in Croatian

Small Talk

Avoiding awkward silences by talking about nothing significant requires a special set of skills, as well as a selected repertoire of possible topics and patterns of communication. What is typical and polite in one language and culture, might be strange in the other.

Small talk ( ) is an important part of Croatian culture. Croatians enjoy chatting and they’ll always find time to comment on the political situation, to discuss the poor organization of the garbage removal or to complain about health problems. In this blog entry you’ll find out more about the art of small talking in Croatia.

What to say when you unexpectedly run into someone

These phrases are usually used in small talks when two people unexpectedly bump into each other on the street:

→ How are you doing?

→ Fine!

→ What's up?

→ Nothing! Everything’s as usual!

→ Where’ve you been?

→ Here I am!

→ How’s your family doing?

→ They’re doing well, thanks for asking!

→ Say hello to your family!

→ I will, thank you. You too!

Inviting someone for a coffee

Interestingly, an invitation for coffee is an open and universal invitation for any kind of drink, so when going “for a coffee”, you can end up drinking beer. Very often though, it’s just a pleasant way to end a conversation and you’ll probably end up not seeing that person again for another few months.

→ Are you up for a coffee?

→ We could grab a coffee one of these days!

→ Let me know when you are up for a coffee!

Learn how to order a drink in Croatian, as well as the names for different drinks and then test your knowledge with our vocabulary trainer!

If you don’t know what to talk about, you can always moan. Croats are the masters of complaining! You can complain about the weather, about your job and annoying boss, about your loud neighbours… Here’s just a few suggestions.

Flying to Croatia

Complaining about the weather

If it’s sunny, a Croat would prefer it to snow. If it’s cold, longing for summer is what Croats do. Read more about the weather-related vocabulary here!

Complaining in winter

→ It is too warm for this time of the year!

→ Everything’s upside-down! It wasn’t like this before!

→ Temperatures suddenly went down! Yesterday I still had short sleeves on!

→ This time last year, you could be sitting on the terrace and drinking coffee.

→ It should be snowing for Christmas and not in February!

Complaining in spring

→ I don’t know what to wear! When I go to work I need jacket, and when I go back home than it is too warm!

→ Stupid allergies! I really don’t like spring!

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Complaining in summer

→ This heat is unbearable! You can only start breathing in the evening!

→ No wind and no rain for days! It is all because of the global warming!

→ The sun is simply too strong! It wasn’t like this before!

Complaining in autumn

→ Rain again! It’s raining every day.

Complaining about your work

Moaning about your job or boss is a common social activity.

→ How it is going with your work?

→ Ah, I’m constantly working. Office-home! I have no time for anything else!

→ How are things going with your boss?

→ Ah, better not to comment! He thinks he is the smartest!

Although you might assume that Croats are grouches, as they frequently complain and moan, they often do it in a funny, warm and cheerful way. They’re also always in the mood for coffee, especially if it’s sunny outside, so never hesitate to spontaneously suggest grabbing a drink. That’s a perfect opportunity to further practice your conversational skills! 😊

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