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50+ Finnish Conversation Starters to Help You Talk to Anyone


Have you ever wanted to talk to a Finn but weren’t sure how to start a conversation in Finnish? Even if you’re usually a chatty person, talking to new people in a foreign language can be nerve-wracking. But fear not! If you’ve ever been at a loss for words and wished you had some go-to Finnish phrases to fall back on, we’re here to help!

 Learning and practicing a selection of conversation starters is a great way to overcome your nerves and ensures that you’ll always have something to say to break the ice. Once you’ve started, your conversation partner will (hopefully!) pull their weight in keeping the conversation going, and you can relax a bit.

This Finnish lesson collects useful Finnish phrases for a range of different situations, from parties and first dates to the first day at a new job or school. So let’s dive right in and learn Finnish conversation starters!

A Smiling Woman Waves Her Hand

Are you ready to meet new people?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Finnish Table of Contents
  1. Conversation Starters for Mingling and Socializing
  2. Conversation Starters at Work
  3. Conversation Starters at School
  4. Conversation Starters for a First Date
  5. Conversation Starters to Reconnect with a Friend
  6. Lopuksi

1. Conversation Starters for Mingling and Socializing

Whether you’re at a house party, a nightclub, or some other event where you’re around a lot of people you don’t know, often the easiest way to start a conversation is to ask a question! Why? Research shows that people love talking about themselves. If you can’t think of anything, a natural place to start is to ask about a mutual friend, such as the host of a party. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Miten sinä tunnet Antin? (“How do you know Antti?”)
  • Missä sinä tutustuit Elisaan? (”Where did you get acquainted with Elisa?”)
  • Oletko tuntenut Miisan pitkään? (”Have you known Miisa for a long time?”)
  • Oletko Ismon työtoveri / opiskelukaveri / kämppäkaveri / ystävä? (”Are you a co-worker / college friend / roommate / friend of Ismo?”)

 If food and drink is served, you’ve got another potential conversation topic! Try one of these: 

  • Mitä sinä juot? Tuo näyttää tosi hyvältä. (“What are you drinking? That looks really good.”)
  • Mitä ruokaa sinulla on? Se tuoksuu herkulliselta. (”What food do you have? It smells delicious.”)
  • Menen hakemaan juoman. Haluaisitko sinä jotakin juotavaa? (”I’m going to get a drink. Would you like to have something to drink?”)
  • Haen lisää syötävää. Tuonko sinullekin jotain? (”I’m going to get more to eat. Shall I bring you something too?”)

 If you’re at a venue, you could talk about that:

  • Oletko täällä ensimmäistä kertaa? (”Are you here for the first time?”)
  • Oletko käynyt täällä aiemmin? Näytät tutulta.  (“Have you been here before? You look familiar.”)
  • Mitä pidät tästä paikasta? (“How do you like this place?”)

People Dancing at a Party

It’s easy to meet new people at parties!

2. Conversation Starters at Work

Have you landed a job in Finland? Congratulations! First impressions matter, and your first day at your new job is sure to go smoother if you’ve got some Finnish conversation starter practice under your belt.

 Introducing yourself to your new colleagues is a great place to start: 

  • Hei, olen Sirpa Mattila. Olen täällä ensimmäistä päivää töissä. (“Hi, I’m Sirpa Mattila. It’s my first day working here.”)
  • Emme ole tainneet vielä tavata? Olen Kari-Pekka Ruotsalainen. Aloitin juuri markkinointiosastolla.  (“I don’t think we’ve met yet? I’m Kari-Pekka Ruotsalainen. I just started in the marketing department.”)

Naturally, at a workplace there’s always work to talk about! From asking for directions to enquiring what your colleagues are working on, here are some ideas:

  • Anteeksi, mistä löydän kokoushuoneen? (”Sorry, where can I find the conference room?”)
  • Teetkö töitä Anna-Liisan kanssa? (”Do you work with Anna-Liisa?”)
  • Oletko Santerin tiimissä? (”Are you in Santeri’s team?”)
  • Kuinka kauan olet ollut täällä töissä? (“How long have you been working here?”)
  • Minkä projektin parissa työskentelet tällä hetkellä? (”What project are you working on at the moment?”)
  • Miten projekti edistyy? (“How is the project progressing?”)

If you’d like to socialize with your colleagues outside work and get to know them a bit better, why not join them for lunch or suggest after-work drinks?

  • Voitko suositella hyvää lounaspaikkaa? (”Can you recommend a good lunch spot?”)
  • Voisinko liittyä seuraasi lounaalla? (”Could I join you for lunch?”)
  • Lähdetäänkö kahvitauolle? (”Shall we take a coffee break?”)
  • Kuka haluaa lähteä drinkille töiden jälkeen? (”Who wants to go out for a drink after work?”)

    ➜ Our Workplace vocabulary list with example sentences and recordings will help you understand new work-related terms and expressions you’re sure to come across.

Smiling co-Workers Looking Towards the Camera

Get to know your new colleagues.

3. Conversation Starters at School

Are you planning to study in Finland? Making friends is an important part of the student experience, so come prepared and learn a handful of conversation openers to help you find your tribe.

 On your first day, you’re bound to find other people looking a bit lost. It’s a great opportunity to start making connections, so go ahead and talk to them!

  • Terve, olen Mika. Olen juuri aloittanut opinnot. Entä sinä? (”Hello, I’m Mika. I’ve just started my studies. How about you?”)
  • Moi, olen Minna. Oletko sinäkin ensimmäisen vuoden opiskelija? (”Hi, I’m Minna. Are you also a first year student?”)
  • Hei, olen Anneli. Olemme samalla kurssilla. (“Hi, I’m Anneli. We’re in the same course.”)

 With introductions out of the way, you can get more specific about your studies:

  • Opiskelen tietotekniikkaa. Mitä sinä opiskelet? (”I study information technology. What are you studying?”)
  • Tunnetko Maaretin? Hänkin opiskelee historiaa. (”Do you know Maaret? She studies history too.”)

 And here are a few more questions to ask your fellow students:

  • Anteeksi, tiedätkö missä rakennuksessa kirjasto on? (”Excuse me, do you know which building the library is in?”)
  • Menikö tentti hyvin? (”Did the exam go well?”)
  • Mitä mieltä olit luennosta? (“What did you think of the lecture?”)
  • Haluaisitko opiskella yhdessä tänään? (“Would you like to study together today?”)

Students Sitting on the Grass and Studying Together

Living the student life.

4. Conversation Starters for a First Date

 There are many ways in which a first date can go wrong, but we’re going to make sure that running out of things to say is not going to be one of them!

 Before we get to the more interesting conversation topics, let’s start with some basic Finnish language conversation starters to get things going. A compliment is never a bad place to start!

  • Näytät hyvältä! Pidän kampauksestasi / asustasi. (“You look good! I like your hairdo / outfit.”)
  • Mistä olet kotoisin? (”Where are you from?”)
  • Oletko asunut Helsingissä pitkään? (”Have you been living in Helsinki for a while?”)
  • Millä alalla olet töissä? (”What field you do work in?”)

What is your date into? Talking about your hobbies and favorite things and finding out if your tastes match is never a bad idea on a first date.

  • Mitä teet vapaa-ajallasi? (“What do you do in your free time?”)
  • Onko sinulla lemmikkejä? (“Do you have pets?”)
  • Mikä on lempielokuvasi? (”What is your favorite book / favorite movie?”)
  • Mitä sarjoja katsot? (”Which series do you watch?”)
  • Mitä kirjaa suosittelisit minulle? (“Which book would you recommend to me?”)
  • Millaista musiikkia kuuntelet? (”What kind of music do you listen to?”)
  • Pidätkö urheilusta? (”Do you like sport?”)
  • Oletko hyvä kokki? (”Are you a good cook?”)
  • Matkustatko paljon? (”Do you travel a lot?”)
  • Mikä saa sinut nauramaan? (”What makes you laugh?”)

Or perhaps you want to go straight into the kind of random questions that can reveal a lot about your date’s personality?

  • Mikä on uskomattomin asia, mitä sinulle on tapahtunut? (”What’s the most unbelievable thing that has happened to you?”)
  • Millainen olisi mielestäsi täydellinen päivä? (”What would be a perfect day in your opinion?”)
  • Mistä ammatista haaveilit lapsena? (“What was your dream job when you were a child?” Literally: “What occupation did you dream of as a child?”)
  • Jos voisit tavata kenet tahansa historiallisen henkilön, kenet valitsisit? (”If you could meet whichever historical figure, who would you choose?”)

A Man Meeting a Woman Holds a Bouquet of Flowers Behind His Back

ensitreffit (“first date”)

5. Conversation Starters to Reconnect with a Friend

 Finally, we’ll teach you phrases you can use when you want to reconnect with a friend. Maybe you haven’t seen them in a while and want to share some news, or you simply want to hang out again. The conversation starters in this section work as text messages or emails.

 You can always start by asking your friend how they are. Here are several ways to do that:

  • Mitä kuuluu? (”How are you?”)
  • Mitä sinulle ja Ristolle kuuluu? (”How are you and Risto?”)
  • Miten menee? (”How’s it going?”)
  • Mitä olet puuhaillut viime aikoina? (”What have you been up to lately?”)
  • Sinusta ei ole kuulunut aikoihin. Onko kaikki hyvin? (”I haven’t heard from you in ages. Is everything ok?”)

Sometimes asking someone how they are by text only leads to a brief exchange of pleasantries, so why not suggest catching up by phone or meeting up?

  • Minulla on uutisia! Milloin olet vapaa? (“I have news! When are you free?”)
  • Onko sinulla suunnitelmia viikonlopulle? Olisi kiva nähdä. (“Do you have plans for the weekend? It would be nice to see you.”)
  • Soita minulle kun ehdit. Olisi hauska vaihtaa kuulumisia. (”Call me when you have the time. It would be fun to catch up.”)
  • Olen Joensuussa ensi viikolla. Onko sinulla aikaa käydä kahvilla? (”I’ll be in Joensuu next week. Do you have time to go for a coffee?”)

Two Smiling Women

Pidetään yhteyttä! (“Let’s keep in touch!”)

6. Lopuksi

This guide collects over 50 Finnish phrases to help you start a conversation with just about anyone in a variety of situations. From making friends and getting to know a date to chatting with colleagues and fellow students, we hope you’re feeling more confident about talking to new people in Finnish.

Is there a specific situation you wish we had covered, or do you know of a particularly good question to ask someone on a first date? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

FinnishPod101 has lots of Finnish language resources to help you become confident in speaking Finnish. Start by exploring our Free resources, learn Finnish words using our vocabulary lists, then look out for our audio and video lessons tailored to different skill levels, from absolute beginner to advanced. Our premium service, MyTeacher, is ideal for anyone who wants to practice Finnish conversations in 1-on-1 sessions with a private teacher!

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