There are many times when you want to say “friend”. You might be waiting for a friend, express that you’d like to make a friend, or simply want to thank someone with a “Thanks, friend.”
In German we say Freundschaft ist des Lebens Salz — “Friendships are the salt of life”.
Have you ever wondered how to say friend in German? We’ll show you a number of different ways of saying “friend” in German and dive deeper into the different situations in which you use it.
Friend in German at a Glance
All the Ways to Say Friend in German
You might have guessed it, Freund/Freundin is the most common word to say friend in German.
While Freund refers to the male form, Freundin refers to the female form. Freund/Freundin describes a close friendly relationship with the person.
Be careful, Freund/Freundin can also mean boyfriend or girlfriend. This is most often the case when it’s accompanied by the pronoun mein.
Mein Freund/meine Freundin will often mean “my boyfriend/girlfriend”.
To avoid confusion, use ein Freund for male and eine Freundin for a female. It simply means “a friend” and it will be clear you’re only referring to a platonic friend.
Kumpel , a gender-neutral word to refer to a friend or a pal, is used in informal contexts.
It describes a relationship just as close as Freund/Freundin but is most often used among a younger male demographic.
It is used in an informal context and generally among young people. It is only used between boys and men.
The word Kollege can both mean friend in the same way that Kumpel does or it can mean your actual work colleague.
You will know through the context of the conversation whether the person refers to a friend or a work colleague.
Young Germans use Alter to refer to their friends and acquaintances in very casual settings.
The word “alter” is German slang, and is used similarly to how you would use “mate”, “dude”, or “bro” in English. It’s very colloquial and usually only used by younger people.
A Bekannter/Bekannte is simply an acquaintance with whom you don’t have much of a relationship at all.
A Fremder/Fremde is an actual stranger. When you have never met someone before, use Fremde/Fremder, when you have seen someone before but haven’t established a relationship, use Bekannte/Bekannter.
How to say my friend in German?
The literal translation for my friend in German is mein Freund for a male and meine Freundin for a female.
But as we mentioned, it is usually meant to refer to a romantic partner like a boyfriend or girlfriend. girlfriend.
There are a few ways to introduce your platonic friend to a group of people, without there being any awkward misunderstandings. The most foolproof way is to add say eine Freundin Von Mir, which translates to “a friend of mine”.
Das ist Anja, eine Freundin von mir
That’s Anja, a friend of mine.
Levels of Friendship in German
Not all friends are equally close to us, and the following German adjectives can help you classify your friends from acquaintances to bosom bodies.
|Ein guter Freund/eine gute Freundin||A good friend|
|Ein bester Freund/eine beste Freundin||A best friend|
|Ein enger Freund/eine enge Freundin||A close friend|
|Ein dicker Freund/eine dicke Freundin||A great friend|
|Ein alter Freund/eine alte Freundin||An old friend|
|Ein besonderer Freund/eine besondere Freundin||A special friend|
Freund is the most common word for saying friend in German and when you are unsure about the formality of the situation, it is your go-to expression. Spice it up by using a fun adjective to further describe the relationship.
Many people think that Germans aren’t the easiest people to befriend. They have a reputation for not being instantly smiley and chatty. But this is just a superficial interpretation. Once you have a German friend, they are yours for life.