Weekends are a terrific topic for small talk. Americans may ask you about your weekend plans starting from Thursday – even as early as Wednesday.
Maybe you’ve already heard questions like “What are you doing this weekend?”, “What do you have going on this weekend?”, or “Do you have any big plans for the weekend?”,
And when you return to work or school on Monday, what is the most common question you’ll hear?
“How was your weekend?”
Weekends are a great subject for making small talk. Especially if you did something fun over the weekend and want to share.
However, if you didn’t do anything special over the weekend, this question may make you feel like you don’t have anything to say, like you’re going to kill the conversation.
Don’t worry – I feel you. In this episode, you’ll learn some responses for when people ask, “How was your weekend?” when you actually did something.
In the second half of the episode, you’ll learn how to respond in a friendly way – without killing the conversation – even if you didn’t do anything at all over the weekend.
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Talking about the upcoming weekend or the weekend that has just passed is a fantastic small talk subject!
Who doesn’t love their weekends? And there are a ton of other fun small talk ideas I’d like to share with you too!
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Plus, in November 2019, we’re doing a VERY SPECIAL offer, where you get 2 months of speaking practice for free with the course! Click here to join my list and get your invitation!
The Upcoming Weekend
When Wednesday rolls around, your colleagues may ask, “Do you have any plans this weekend?”, or a similar question.
A good format is to respond with: 1). What you’re going to do. 2). “Because…”
Your plans may be anything from seeing a movie, going out of town, or even reading a new book. For example, you could say:
“Yes, I’m gonna go see the new Star Trek movie….”
And then describe the activity with “because…”
“Yes, I’m gonna go see the new Star Trek movie because I’m a big fan.”
Here’s another example:
“Do you have any plans this weekend?”
“Yes, I’m going to bake a cake because it’s my best friend’s birthday. She loves chocolate and I thought it’d be a nice surprise!”
How was your Weekend? (You did stuff!)
It’s Monday morning and you can expect about 5 people at work to all ask you: “What did you do over the weekend?” or “Did you have a good weekend?” or “How was your weekend?”
Again, it’s best to respond with an activity you did over the weekend and something about it.
This could be a reason why you did the activity or whether you enjoyed it.
“How was your weekend?”
“It was good! I saw the new Star Trek movie. I dressed up as my favorite character and everything! But the movie itself wasn’t very good and I feel asleep. And I don’t think I was the only one!”
“It was great! I went shopping with my sister and I picked up a new dress. It fits like a glove.”
(“Fits like a glove” is an expression that means fits very well.”)
Or if you want to be a bit funny:
“I took a flight to London Friday evening and had dinner with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Yes, I saw their baby and he’s even cuter in person. They offered to fly me to Pamplona for the running of the bulls. Unfortunately, I had to decline their invitation because I had already committed to the opera with Ryan Reynolds. Anyway, how was your weekend?”
Honestly, it doesn’t really matter what you say in response. The important thing is to make an effort to participate in the conversation in English. It shows that you “play the game” of small talk. This is important if you want to give a positive impression of yourself.
How was your weekend? (You did nothing…)
Uh oh, it’s Monday morning and…does it seem like twice as many people are asking you “How was your weekend?”
Yes, you’re sure at least 10 people have asked you… but you didn’t do anything over the weekend. You feel like a lazy, boring, person.
Don’t worry – you’re still your charming self! You can still respond in a friendly way even though you didn’t do anything over the weekend.
But first – here’s a tip: it’s best not to respond with: “I just stayed home.” “I didn’t do anything” or simply, “Nothing,” and give no additional details. *Awkward silence*
In fact, this is one of the biggest mistakes I see students make when I ask them “How was your weekend?” They say “Oh, I didn’t do anything”, and then stop talking, so it seems like they don’t want to talk to me!
If you’d like to engage in friendly small talk, we’ll need a more personable response. The key here is to show enthusiasm when making small talk, even if you didn’t do anything special.
Let’s learn some terrific responses so you can respond in a fun way, even if you didn’t have any fun over the weekend.
Me-time and beauty sleep
Let’s say all you did over the weekend was hang around in your pajamas and sleep. What might sound boring to you may sound like a dream to someone else.
“How was your weekend?
“It was good! I stayed home and caught up on sleep. I’ve been so busy lately, so it was good to finally have some me-time and get my beauty sleep.”
As you may have guessed, “me-time” is time for me! Or for you rather. It’s basically time for yourself, to rest, relax, and refresh your energy.
“Beauty sleep” means restful sleep that may give a more youthful appearance. Sounds like something worth doing over the weekend, don’t you agree?
I cleaned my apartment
Maybe you cleaned all weekend. Well that isn’t nothing – it’s something!
Again, other people may wish they had that luxury to have the time to clean their house all weekend, instead of letting everything pile up because they don’t have time to clean..
“How was your weekend?”
“It was okay. I cleaned my apartment from top to bottom. I’ve been traveling for work and haven’t had time to keep it tidy.”
I had a strange dream…
Even though you didn’t do anything over the weekend, perhaps you had an interesting dream?
You could say, “My weekend was okay. I didn’t do much, but I had a strange dream. I dreamt that I was chimpanzee on a rollercoaster! What about you, do you remember your dreams?”
Are you seeing a pattern here? Small talk doesn’t have to be super intelligent or philosophical.
Friendly conversation can be made about anything – even a strange dream.
And if you’re afraid to ask questions because you’re not sure that you will understand what your colleague says in return, be sure to improve your comprehension skills for fast-spoken English!
To recap, if you feel like you didn’t do anything over the weekend and still want to have a friendly conversation, don’t despair!
As long as you’re enthusiastic and provide a detail or two, you can still participate in small talk.
And remember – what may seem boring to you – such as sleeping or cleaning – could be a dream come true for your colleague. So feel free to share!
Now, what about you?
What do you say when people ask you about your weekend? What do you say for those weekends you didn’t do anything?
Share your tips with other English students in the comments!
If you’ve been a student of American English for years now and still feel awkward making small talk, check out my new course designed to help you master social situations and everyday conversations in your professional life.
Click here to sign up to my list and get your invitation for that special offer (2 months of conversation practice for free when you join the course).
Thank you for learning with Speak English with Christina, and I’ll see you next time!
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