Often times you say "How are you?" and people respond "I'm fine." or "I'm OK, I guess." in English.

How could you express the same feeling in Spanish? "Bien" has always seemed to me be positive, and it doesn't seem to fit.

5 Answers 5


In Colombia to say "Fine, I guess" we say "Ahí vamos" (yes, in plural) meaning that you keep going on in spite of the hardships of life.

However when you answer "bien" it depends a lot on the tone. If you sound sad when you say "bien" it means you are not, but if you answer "¡¡¡¡¡BIEN!!!!!" people will believe you are absolutely fine.

There are more explicit answers like:

"Más o menos" (so-so)

"Regularcito" (so-so)

"me ha ido mejor", "he estado mejor" (I've seen better days)

"no tan bien como vos" (not as good as you) [I hate this one btw]

If you use one of these expect a follow up question but if you say "bien" even if it does not sound like you are ok, people will understand that you are not ok but you don't want to talk about it.

  • 1
    In Spain I have heard quite often "voy tirando", same meaning as "Ahí vamos". (I am getting by)
    – AlexBcn
    Dec 10, 2015 at 13:53
  • 1
    Ahí vamos en Chile se dice aquí estamos.
    – Rodrigo
    Jun 22, 2016 at 19:58
  • En Argentina se dice Bien y generalmente se pregunta ¿y vos?. Otras formas incluyen: Maso (Más o menos, regular) o ahí... tirando (de "tirando para no aflojar) o ahí, en la lucha, como que la situación no esta del todo bien. Re piola (lo usan las personas de bajos recursos para decir que están muy bien o que algo está muy bueno)
    – JorgeeFG
    Sep 13, 2016 at 22:05

In Cuba you can found the following expressions:

"Todo bien" (All it's ok)
"Más o menos" (So so)
"De mal en peor" (From bad to worse)

And as @DGaleano says, we have too the situation of the tone in the word "bien".

In Venezuela this phrases can be possible answers:

Todo fino - (everything is OK)
Todo chévere - (everything is OK)

And I've heard to make the question as: ¿Cómo está la vaina?

  • In these examples, does one not precede them with estoy or yo estoy? I find the pronoun and verb sometimes dropped in English when responding to "How are you".
    – curt
    Dec 16, 2015 at 20:10
  • @curt in some cases yes. Dec 16, 2015 at 20:12

From where I come from (Puerto Rico), we usually say:

"En la lucha"

"Ahí ahí"


In Spain we use next sentences:

  • Positive:

    ¡Muy bien!

  • Neutral:

    Tirando (So so)

  • Negative

    Podría estar peor (I could be worse)
    Mejor no preguntes... (don't ask me because my situation is awful)

But the polite (and more common) answer is bien, you can not guess if that person it's ok or not.


In Mexico we have a lot of ways to express that feeling, and all of them depends on the type of relationship that you have with the other person and the kind of emotion that you want to express:

  1. I'm fine :

    • Formal way: Bien (No emotion, very generic)
    • Unformal ways:
      • Chido (Cool people that are happy)
      • Aquí nomás (Bussy people that don't want to have a conversation)
  2. I'm Ok, I guess:

    • Formal way: Más o menos (I have problems but I am kind of positive)
    • Unformal way: Ay la llevo (I'm not fine, but I don't want to give you details)
  • ¿Qué significa (si significa algo) ese "ay la llevo"? ¿Estás llevando algo?
    – Rodrigo
    Jun 22, 2016 at 20:03
  • 1
    Es una expresion idiomatica muy usada en Mexico, donde lo que se lleva es la vida cotidiana o una situacion en especifico que de antemano es conocida por la persona que saluda, trabajo, salud, etc Jun 23, 2016 at 20:18

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