“I’m fine, thanks”. This is one of the first things we learn how to say in a foreign language. But what if you aren’t? What if the answer to ¿Como estás? (How are you?) is that you’re not doing well? What if you’re sad and want to express your honest emotions in Spanish?
Spanish-speaking cultures might be stereotyped as always being happy, jolly and ready for life, but that’s not always the case. Humans have the right to feel sad and defeated sometimes! Let’s take a look at some common ways Spanish speakers might talk about sadness.
How to talk about sadness in Spanish
1. Estoy triste
One of the many uses of the verb estar (to be) in Spanish is to describe emotions. Here, estoy means “I am” and triste means “sad”. In this case, you don’t need to worry about female or male adjective endings (as you would with bonito and bonita – Spanish for “beautiful”), as triste applies to both genders.
2. Estoy bajo(a) de moral
The literal meaning of this expression is “I’m low in morale.” Use bajo and baja according to your gender (the first for males, the second for females). As you may have guessed by now, this expression is particularly fit for those times in which your sense of motivation is not at its best.
3. Estoy/Me siento desanimado(a)
You can use this phrase and Estoy bajo de moral interchangeably, as it means “I am / I feel discouraged.” For example, if your boss is treating you unfairly, you might feel unmotivated to go that extra mile at your job or even just show up at work. The same might happen if you’re taking longer than you’d expected to reach your personal goals or if you’re having trouble dating.
4. Me siento derrotado(a)
This one’s quite serious: derrotado(a) is the Spanish word for “defeated”. Use it when it seems life (or someone) is consistently or heavily getting you down, especially if you feel like you’ve got no control over a situation that keeps going wrong again and again.
5. Me siento decaído(a)
Sometimes we feel physically and psychologically fallen, almost as if we’re in decline. The word decaído(a) might mean that something (or someone) is in decline, decayed, depressed or faded. It’s another way to express a negative emotion that has been taking a toll on your spirit.
6. Estoy sin ganas de hacer nada
This expression means “I don’t feel like doing anything”. Of course, it can be used even when you’re not sad (perhaps you’re just having a lazy day!). But you can pair it up with any other expression on this list to show you’re not suffering from laziness, but rather sadness. You might want to add: Me siento sin energia (“I have no energy”) or Me siento cansado(a) (“I feel tired”).
7. Estoy de bajón
Similarly to Estoy bajo(a) de moral, the expression Estoy de bajón means you’re feeling weird, out of balance. Perhaps you’re facing a low point in your life, you’re feeling dark and out of place. Nevertheless, this also assumes you’re going through a phase, a temporary state that will pass. Even teams and things can be de bajón, not just individuals. For example, if your football team is going through a series of defeats, they might be de bajón.
8. Me siento melancólico(a)
Feeling melancholic is not always dark: it’s an interesting kind of sadness that remembers a past we can no longer recover, wonders about the meaning of life and how quickly time flies. When you find yourself in this state of mind and need the help of a friend, explain it with Me siento melancólico(a).
9. Estoy deprimido(a)
You might have guessed that this expression refers to depression. Some people even use the expression Estoy depre (short for deprimido) when dealing with extreme hopelessness, sadness and fatigue, but this can be perceived as rude or insensitive towards people who were actually diagnosed with clinical depression. Use it carefully!
10. Me siento hundido(a)
Feeling drowned in your problems or strongly demoralized? Hundido(a) is the Spanish word for “sunk”, so it clearly expresses a feeling of sadness and hopelessness that sometimes pays us a visit.
But why are you sad, really?
Here’s a bonus tip! If you’d like to explain why you’re sad in the first place, add the word porque to the sentences we’ve listed. Here are some examples you can use, as they’re pretty common:
- Estoy triste porque me despidieron. – I’m sad because I was fired.
- Estoy bajo de moral porque he tenido algunos problemas familiares. – I’m low in morale because I’ve been having some family problems.
- Me siento desanimada porque no tengo dinero – I feel discouraged because I don’t have money.
- Me siento derrotado porque todo parece salir mal. – I feel defeated because everything seems to go wrong.
Interested in practicing your Spanish listening skills and knowing more about how to express sadness in Spanish? Visit the Lingoda website and you can explore topics of interest and practice your speaking and listening skills with our native speaking teachers.
We hope you won’t have to use any of these expressions regularly! Which did you know, and which ones were a surprise?
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