Almost any conversation, even a very informal one, starts with a greeting, so here is a quick guide on how to say hello in Russian properly. The safest and most neutral way to say hello in Russian is ‘zdravstvuy’, when talking to a close friend or family member, or ‘zdravstvuyte’, which is more formal and used in conversations with people you are less familiar with. Appropriate for any situation are ‘dobroe utro’ (with the word ‘utro’ often dropped in casual conversation) for ‘good morning’, ‘dobriy den’ for ‘good afternoon’ and ‘dobriy vecher’ for ‘good evening’. If you are looking for more casual ways to say hello in Russian, you may opt for ‘privet’ (the Russian for ‘hi’, often contracted to just ‘pret’), an even more colloquial ‘zdorovo’ preferred by most Russian men or its transformed version ‘darova’ loved by the younger generation and used among best buddies. Among the girls-only ways to say hello in Russian the most common are ‘privetik’ and ‘privetiki’. But take caution and do not overuse them, unless you want to pass yourself off as a light-minded person.