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How to Say Friend in Chinese: Top 12 Terms 

Have you ever been unsure about how to say “friend” in Chinese? Imagine chatting online with a new friend or trying to explain your best friend to someone in Chinese. It can be confusing, right? But don’t worry! In this article, we’re going to make things simple. We’ll explore 12 different words for “friend” in Chinese, each perfect for different types of relationships. Whether you’re learning Chinese, interested in Chinese culture, or just curious, this article will help you understand friendship expressions easily. Let’s get started on our journey together!

Part1. Understanding Friend in Chinese

frend in chinese

In delving into the intricacies of expressing friendship in Chinese, it’s essential to grasp the multifaceted nature of the term “朋友” (péng yǒu). Let’s unravel its layers to gain a deeper understanding.

Meaning of “Friend”

Friendship, as conveyed by “朋友” (péng yǒu), extends far beyond the surface level of mere acquaintanceship. It encompasses a profound sense of camaraderie, mutual support, and shared experiences. In Chinese culture, the term embodies the notion of companionship and trust, serving as a cornerstone of social relationships.

Linguistic Nuances

Breaking down the characters of “朋友,” we find “朋” (péng) and “友” (yǒu), each contributing distinct nuances to the concept of friendship. “朋” (péng) denotes a group or community, emphasizing the collective aspect of friendship. It suggests a sense of belonging and interconnectedness within a social circle. Meanwhile, “友” (yǒu) conveys the idea of affinity, closeness, and trust. It highlights the personal and relational dimension of friendship, emphasizing the bond between individuals.

Example Sentence

To illustrate, consider the sentence “他是我的朋友” (tā shì wǒ de péng yǒu), which translates to “He is my friend” in English. Here, “他” (tā) means “he,” “是” (shì) means “is,” and “我的” (wǒ de) means “my.” The term “朋友” (péng yǒu) encapsulates the essence of friendship, signifying a meaningful connection between individuals based on trust and mutual understanding.

Cultural Significance

Friendship holds significant cultural importance in Chinese society, reflecting values deeply rooted in Confucian principles. Confucianism emphasizes the virtues of benevolence (仁), righteousness (义), and loyalty (忠), all of which are integral to the concept of friendship. Within this cultural framework, friendships are regarded as essential for personal well-being and social harmony. Building and nurturing strong interpersonal bonds is highly valued, as it fosters mutual support, cooperation, and emotional fulfillment.

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12 Terms to Say “Friend in Chinese” for Every Type of Relationship

Curious about how to express “friend” in Chinese for different types of relationships? Let’s explore 12 diverse terms, each perfect for various contexts.

friend in chinese

1. 好朋友 (hǎo péng you) – Good friend

好朋友 refers to a close and trusted friend, someone you enjoy spending time with and can rely on. This term emphasizes the warmth and affection in the relationship, highlighting the mutual understanding and support between friends. Good friends often share hobbies, secrets, and laughter, making memories that last a lifetime.

2. 老朋友 (lǎo péng you) – Old friend

老朋友 denotes a long-standing friendship, someone you have known for a significant period and with whom you share many memories. This term evokes feelings of nostalgia and loyalty, emphasizing the enduring bond forged over time. Old friends are like anchors in our lives, providing comfort and stability through life’s ups and downs.

3. 闺蜜 (guī mì) – Best friend between females

闺蜜 specifically refers to a female best friend, someone with whom you share a deep and special bond. This term conveys the intimacy and closeness of the friendship, often likened to sisters who share everything. Best friends share dreams, fears, and countless inside jokes, forming an unbreakable bond of sisterhood.

4. 老友 (lǎo yǒu) – Old friend/buddy

Similar to 老朋友, 老友 emphasizes the longevity of the friendship and the comfort of familiarity. This term is often used affectionately to describe a friend with whom you have shared many experiences and adventures. Old friends reminisce about the past, celebrate achievements, and provide unwavering support through thick and thin.

5. 同志 (tóng zhì) – Comrade

Originally used in political contexts, 同志 now often refers to close friends or companions who share common goals or ideals. This term emphasizes solidarity and mutual support, reflecting the camaraderie among like-minded individuals. Comrades work together towards shared objectives, inspiring and empowering each other along the way.

6. 好友 (hǎo yǒu) – Good friend

好友 is another term for a good friend, emphasizing the positive and enjoyable nature of the relationship. This term suggests mutual respect and affection between friends who share common interests and values. Good friends uplift each other, offer advice, and create cherished memories that brighten even the darkest days.

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7. 知己 (zhī jǐ) – Intimate friend

A 知己 is someone who truly knows and understands you, often described as a soulmate or confidant. This term conveys a deep level of trust and emotional connection, highlighting the rare and precious nature of such friendships. Intimate friends share dreams, fears, and vulnerabilities, providing unwavering support and understanding.

8. 志同道合的人 (zhì tóng dào hé de rén) – Like-minded individuals

While not explicitly referring to “friend,” this term describes individuals who share similar interests, values, and aspirations. This term emphasizes the importance of shared values and common goals in forming meaningful connections. Like-minded individuals inspire and motivate each other, embarking on shared journeys of growth and self-discovery.

9. 亲友 (qīn yǒu) – Dear friend

This term encompasses both friends and relatives, emphasizing the closeness of the relationship. 亲友 conveys a sense of familial warmth and affection, blurring the boundaries between family and friendship. Dear friends offer unconditional love, support, and companionship, becoming an integral part of our extended family.

10. 同伴 (tóng bàn) – Companion

同伴 highlights the companionship and camaraderie between individuals engaged in a shared activity or journey. This term suggests a sense of partnership and mutual reliance, emphasizing the importance of teamwork and cooperation. Companions share experiences, face challenges, and celebrate victories together, forming lasting bonds of friendship.

11. 亲近的人 (qīn jìn de rén) – Close Person

This term refers to someone with whom you have a close and affectionate relationship, regardless of whether they are officially recognized as a friend. 亲近的人 conveys a sense of emotional intimacy and trust, highlighting the depth of the connection between individuals. Close persons share secrets, dreams, and fears, offering a safe haven in a chaotic world.

12. 伙伴 (huǒ bàn) – Partner

伙伴 can refer to friends, companions, or partners in various contexts, emphasizing collaboration and teamwork. This term suggests a sense of mutual support and cooperation, highlighting the importance of working together towards common goals. Partners share responsibilities, brainstorm ideas, and celebrate achievements together, fostering a sense of unity and belonging.

FAQs about Friend in Chinese

Q1. Can you use “友谊” (yǒuyì) instead of “朋友” to refer to friends in Chinese?

Yes, “友谊” emphasizes the concept of friendship or camaraderie, while “朋友” directly means friend.

Q2. How do you address a friend casually in Chinese?

You can use “你好,朋友” (nǐ hǎo, péngyǒu) which means “Hello, friend” or simply “朋友” (péngyǒu).

Q3. What are common expressions to show appreciation for a friend in Chinese?

Expressions like “谢谢你,朋友” (xièxiè nǐ, péngyǒu) meaning “Thank you, friend” or “我很感激你的友谊” (wǒ hěn gǎnjī nǐ de yǒuyì) meaning “I appreciate your friendship” are common.


In this article, we’ve explored 12 different ways to say “friend in Chinese,” each suited to various types of relationships. From terms like “好朋友” (hǎo péng you) to “同事” (tóng shì), we’ve uncovered the nuances of friendship expressions in Chinese culture. Understanding these terms not only helps us communicate effectively but also deepens our understanding of the value placed on relationships in Chinese society. 

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