Is that correct to say "Gracias, guapa" or "Gracias, cariño" to Spanish people that you don't know? E.g. when you are grateful to a waiter, can you say something like this? I've heard it many times but I'm not sure about the context.

  • I would stick to gracias (thank you / thanks) or muchas gracias (thanks a lot / many thanks, thank you very much). Both are valid if you want to be formal or informal. Perhaps in some places in Spain guapa is not much of a big deal but depending on the situation, context and geographical location, both guapa (pretty - she) / guapo (handsome - he) and cariño (darling / sweetie ) could be taken as sexist or harassment. Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 18:31
  • I would add that there is no problem saying that to small children.
    – aerobiomat
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 9:51
  • If you are a woman speaking to another woman and you are older than she is; yes. Or: If the woman is your age and friendly, it's okay. If you are a woman speaking to a much younger man, you might conceivably say guapo. The issues for men addressing women are different than the issues of women addressing other women or older women addressing younger people.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 16:16
  • cariño is not like guapa or bonita. It is actually more intimate.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 16:19

3 Answers 3


There are two issues here: Generation and Gender

An older woman might say guapa or bonita to a younger woman she does not know when a service or favor is rendered. She might also say guapo to a younger man. I am over 60 and can see myself saying it if the young man has been especially nice to me.

A man should be careful to whom he says this. Let's say an older guy is in a restaurant where he knows the waitress, he might then venture a guapa. But it must be used with care.

If a young man says it to his contemporary, it can be flirting. Yes. If the young man is pretty sure of himself and says it with a smile to a woman his own age, it can be okay.

What is to be avoided is old(er) men just throwing it out there all the time.

Also, cariño is more intimate and usually used with people you know well, friends or family members. It would not be used with "the general public" by either sex.


spanish native here.

Avoid doing that in the majority of the cases, because if you don't know the other people, they would think that you are flirting with them. Of course this goes with the right context.

Personally I would not, unless I'm totally sure that the other person would not care, or care positively. I mean to be confident with the people I'm talking about.

Just a simple "Gracias" (Thanks) or "Muchas gracias" (Thank you very much) is quiet enough. You could extend the vocals as in "Muchas graciaaas" to express it in a more meaninful or emotional way, without sounding like harrassment. Also, you could said "Muchísimas gracias" which translates to "Thanks a lot".


NUNCA y de ninguna manera debe decir tales expresiones a una persona que recien conoce y mucho menos si es a un mesero/a o una persona que lo está atendiendo.

Esas expresiones están reservadas para dirigirse a una mujer con la que se tiene alguna relación sentimental.

Sencillamente se dice "gracias señor" o "gracias señorita", o "muy amable por el servicio"-

  • ¿NUNCA así en mayúsculas? Hombre, yo lo veo un poco exagerado y también dependiente de la zona. Aquí en el sur de España se cumple lo que apunta Lambie, las señoras mayores se dirigen a chicas más jóvenes con ese apelativo de "guapa" aunque no las conozcan. "Cariño" también se utiliza de esa forma, pero yo lo asocio más con el estatus social, propio de mujeres mayores acomodadas.
    – RubioRic
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 6:02
  • También ten en cuenta que la OP pregunta por una manera informal. "Gracias, señorita" no parece muy informal, neutra tirando a formal consideraría yo.
    – RubioRic
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 6:03
  • Francamente, me parece que estás exagerando. Si hay un bar de esquina que sueles frequentar, la situación es bien diferente de un restaurante cinco estrellas donde pones los pies una vez en la vida. Todo depende de quien habla a quien y donde.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 15:50
  • @RubioRic, pues entonces el asunto depende del país; por lo menos en Colombia es NUNCA y si las usa se encontrará con una situación incómoda.
    – alvalongo
    Commented Jul 14, 2021 at 18:52

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