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The Essential Friendships for Chinese (Elementary)

Dec. 5, 2012

HSK 3 quiz

Key Learning Points (preview):
1. 朋友 (Péngyou): friend

2. 发小 (Fàxiǎo): a childhood friend

3. 闺蜜 (Guīmì): a woman’s best female friend

4. 死党 (Sǐdǎng): sworn followers

5. 室友 (Shìyǒu): a roommate

There is a Chinese saying: a sincere friendship is worth more than even the most valuable of treasures.

(You might interested in Chinese culture, try our Chinese Culture Lessons!)

People have many types of “朋友 (péngyou) friends”: best friends, childhood friends, new friends, friends at work, girlfriends, boyfriends, and even long-lost friends. Some friends you might see every single day, and some you may only see occasionally. In Chinese, there are also many different types of friends, and today we’re going to share a few of those types with you.

  Fàxiǎo
I 发 小

发小 (Fàxiǎo) is a childhood friend. You met this person when you were both young, and the friendship developed naturally. Some might say that this is the best type of friend to have. These days, many working people are tired of the complicated networks inside their company and like having a 发小 (fàxiǎo) to spend time with outside of work. This kind of friend knows your past and also probably understands you at a deeper level than others. It is a comfortable, safe relationship. Do you have a friend like this?

Example:

Wǒ hé Wáng Lì cóng xiǎo wán dào dà, tā shì wǒ de fàxiǎo.
我和王丽从小玩到大,她是我的发小。
Wang Li and I have grown up playing together. She is my childhood friend.

   Guīmì
II 闺 蜜

This means girlfriend: a woman’s best female friend. Traditionally, “闺 (guī)” was the place where unmarried women lived, and “蜜 ()” literally means “honey.” (Why ”蜜 (mì)” Is a Sweet Chinese Word?”) Put together, this equals a woman’s best girlfriend. “闺蜜 (guīmì)” usually trust in each other and share secrets, talk about their happy and sad experiences, have similar interests and hobbies, and maybe even have similar tastes in men.

“闺蜜 (Guīmì)” can only be used with women. What do men call their best male friends? That would be “兄弟 (xiōngdì).”

(Do You Have a Real Girlfriend or Boyfriend? If Not, Learn “单身狗 (dānshēnɡǒu) Single Dog” for You!)

Example:

Wǒ de guīmì sòng wǒ yìtiáo wéijīn.
我的闺蜜送我一条围巾。
My best friend gave me a scarf.

    Sǐdǎng
III 死 党

“死党 (Sǐdǎng)” might sound bad, but in friendship it is definitely a good thing. “死党 (sǐdǎng)” are your best friends. They are loyal and willing to do anything to help you although sometimes they make you angry deliberately. “死党 (sǐdǎng)” is your friend through thick and thin, and the two of you share almost everything. “死党 (sǐdǎng)” may be either a male or a female.

(2 Types of Friends You Should Have: “哥们儿 (Gēmen’r)” And “姐们儿 (Jiěmen’r)”)

Example:

Lǐ Míng shì wǒ de sǐdǎng.
李明是我的死党。
Li Ming is my best friend.

    Shìyǒu
IV 室 友

“室友 (Shìyǒu)” is a roommate. Are you friends with your roommates? Maybe not. But for Chinese youths, your roommates are very important to you. Many young people in China live in the student dormitories during their school days and are not near to their families, so these students need to spend a lot of time together and take care of each other. Generally speaking, the relationships between roommates in China are very close. Most of the “闺蜜 (guīmì)” start out as your “室友 (shìyǒu)” at first. But sometimes, a “室友 (shìyǒu)” is just a common friend.

Example:

Wǒ de yí gè shìyǒu jīntiān jiéhūn.
我的一个室友今天结婚。
One of my roommates is getting married today.

Exercises:

1. How does a female address her female best friend? ______

A. 兄弟 (Xiōngdì)
B. 哥们儿 (Gēmenr)
C. 闺蜜 (Guīmì)

2. Tom and his classmate Jack have known each other since they were in high school. They care about each other and are always there to help the other. Sometimes there are sad moments in their lives, but they are true friends no matter the obstacles. They are_______

A. 发小 (Fàxiǎo)
B. 死党 (Sǐdǎng)
C. 闺蜜 (Guīmì)

3. Emily and Kate have been friends since they were kids. They are_____
A. 兄弟 (Xiōngdì)
B. 发小 (Fàxiǎo)
C. 室友 (Shìyǒu)

Answers:

1.C        2. B        3. B

Learn How to Say “朋友 (péngyou) Friend” Through Chinese Nursery Rhymes!
Where Is My Friend?
Chinese Idiom: Little Dogs, My Good Friends!

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Comments

I am Indian national male. I have Chinese female friend. We are good friend apart from business. I have my own family (Indian wife and kids) and she has her own Chinese boy friend.
What does this relationship call in Chinese.
Let me know.
Thanks

Kalpesh Mehta
India.

Dear e-ChineseLearning Team, Thank Yu for the Clarification of “Friendship”. A couple of questions did arise.
When should one use pengyou and genemr qing.88 from William

How do a male call female friend in Chinese ? Same way, how do a female call male friend in Chinese ? Both are just friend and not husband-wife and not business friend.
Let me know.
Thanks
Kalpesh Mehta from India,
Harbin

I want chines girl to make freindship I love china.

I wont chines girl to mkae sisterhood.
I love china.

Hi, the female is the “红颜知己 (hóngyán zhījǐ)” of the male, and the male is the “蓝颜知己 (lányán zhījǐ)” of the female in Chinese.

Hello Kalpesh Mehta, none of the four friendships we mentioned here is suitable to describe your relations. If you talk about anything and have a very intimate relation, then you are her 蓝颜知己(lan2yan2 zhi1ji3) in Chinese, and she is your 红颜知己 (hong2yan2 zhi1ji3). But if you are just common friend, then you are “好朋友 (hao3 peng2you)” in Chinese.

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