So if I'm talking to a friend and telling him a story or something that happened in the past or a few hrs ago...should I stick w/ the present tense or past tense? I'm really confused about this situation.

For example:

Jamal went to this club yesterday and he bumped/bumps into Cindy. So he's/was like hey how are doing and what's been going on? After a few hours of dancing he decides/decided to go use the restroom and again he met/meets a couple old friends from high school. Then he decides/decided to sit down in the patio area.

I mean this incident happened in the past so should I continue w/ the past tense or present tense since I'm telling the story in the present tense?

You can use either tense. In conversation, using the present tense makes the story seem more chatty, informal and immediate. In written English, use of the present tense to describe past events is a stylistic device that can also be used in more formal writing (I personally find it tiresome when sustained for long periods, but that's a different matter). We know this isn't a more formal narrative, though, because of expressions like "went to this club" and "he's like".

If you began with the past tense, then continue with it, don't change between the times!


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This is quite confusing to me. Is it okay to mix and match the tenses too?
 Mr Wordy's reply was promoted to an answer.
Thanks Mr. Wordy,

Would it be okay to use both tenses like mixing it up a little bit? This is strictly in conversation.

eg. He bumps into michelle at the restroom and later decided to sit down and a few minutes later he saw James. He then decides to chase after him to say hello.

I think it's better to stick with one tense. Huh?
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I think it's better to stick with one tense. Huh?