A true friend ...

Un véritable ami ...

...always listens. Cheers one on. Is sometimes annoying.

can be counted on at any time and listens to and supports his friends; at the same time, he is fun to be around.

comes to your aid in a time of need, and does not always think of him/herself.

has your best interest in mind.

is a comfort during bad times.

is always there.

is someone who can not only compliment, but also criticize you, knowing that both of you will still maintain the same relationship. A true friend is someone you don't have to talk to everyday to know that they are a real friend.

is someone who knows everything about you and still loves you.

is someone who will be there no matter what the circumstances and loves and cares about you.

is someone you can be yourself around without fear of judgment or ridicule.

is someone you can rely upon in any situation.

is someone you can talk to no matter how long it's been

is trustworthy and reliable.

Knows when to call you out on your shortcoming and can occasionally throw praise when deserved. Through thick and thin he'll always be there.

loves and supports one in every situation and never considers quitting the friendship.

loves you, supports you, and tells you the truth.

someone who listens without judgement.

stays there when others already walked away.

wants to be there when you're happy and sad, cares about your wellbeing, and connects with you easily.

will listen to you even when you sound crazy, will drop what she's doing to give you a hug, and will join you on epic adventures.

will put up with you, but also tell you when you cross the line

écoute, conseille, supporte, soutient.

c'est celui qui est prêt à aider, soutenir, écouter et être là quand on a besoin

dit la vérité

est bienveillant, aime aussi les défauts de son ami, est précieux

est disponible à toute heure, écoute les problèmes et participe à y trouver des solutions, essaie de vous voir aussi souvent que possible

est disponible, sincère, à l'écoute et se comporte comme un membre de la famille

est fidèle et quelqu'un à qui on peut faire entièrement confiance dans n'importe quelle situation.

est là pour vous dire quand vous êtes dans l'erreur.

est là quand on a besoin de lui, qui sait écouter.

est quelqu'un sur qui on peut compter.

est tiède.

est toujours à nos côtés.

est toujours là

est toujours là, sans qu'on lui demande forcément.

est très précieux.

est un ami sur lequel on peut compter les yeux fermés

est une personne qui ne me lâche pas quand je rencontre des difficultés

ose nous dire ce qu'on ne veut pas entendre pour notre bien,
ne juge pas,
comprend ou essaie

résiste à toutes les épreuves et reste toujours ton ami!

sera toujours là.


The posts between French and American students were very similar, almost identical.  This didn't surprise as the idea of a true friend is one of those universal themes that everyone can relate to.

What did surprise me was that one of the French students mentioned that a true friend can be considered part of the family but none of the American students mentioned this.  I find it kind of funny considering the discussion that was going on regarding the word "family" and "famille" in the word associations.

As Eduardo said, a lot of the responses were similar. I noticed though that some of the French students described a true friend as "precious," which is not a word that any of the Americans used. I think that in American culture "precious" is a word reserved for babies, children, significant others, and special things like jewelry, but not normally friends. Only two people mentioned this word on the French side, so is it a word normally used to describe friends in France, or is it rarely used? 

While the responses for both groups were very similar, Americans described a true friend as being someone that "loves you" very often, whereas the French students didn't. Is this because the french only say "je t'aime" and concepts of that sort to a girl/boy friend or husband/wife? What would be the terms of endermeant used for a friend? Or is that kind of affection simply not shown to friends? What does this say about the differences in culture? 

This kind of goes with what I said in the "rude person" forum, but it's so interesting to me how the American side and French side had nearly identical responses and yet how the two sides approach and define friendship are (in my experience) quite different. In the US, I've noticed people find friends and let themselves get close very fast. The French, however, will hesitate to call someone "ami" for a long time, preferring copain or pote instead. An example would be making your college roommate your bestman/maid of honor at your wedding. Most of the French aqcuaintances and friends I have find strange the notion of becoming so close to someone so recently (although the boyfriend/girlfriend situation is another story haha). A lot of their "best friends" are strictly the people they have known since junior high or earlier

@Alexandria, je trouve que tu as raison lorsque tu dis que les Français estiment que la durée de la relation et parfois peut-être plus importante que l'intensité. Les amis d'enfance sont, je crois souvent considérés comme de vrais amis parce qu'ils connaissent l'évolution d'une personne. Ce qui rejoint ce que @Eduardo dit: en effet, les amis sont souvent considérés comme membre de la famille, peut-être parce qu'ils sont en contact avec les membres de la famille, pas comme les copains. @Tayo, le mot précieux peut être utilisé assez souvent en Français et, pour moi, résume bien ce que doit être un ami. Je me demandais (parce que l'on voit souvent à la télé) ce qu'est dans la réalité pour les Américains, la notion de Best Friend Forever. Est ce que c'est courant ou simplement mis en avant dans les séries, au cinéma? Réservé aux ados? 

Lorsque je travaillais dans une université américaine j'ai débattu avec mes élèves sur le thème de l'amitié après avoir mentionné facebook en classe. En effet, nous nous étions aperçus que le nombre d'"amis" des américains étaient bien plus élevés que les français. J'ai l'impression que les français sont plus exigeants en amitié c'est à dire qu'ils donnent une importance au titre d'amis bien plus forte que les américains. 

J'en profite donc pour vous demander ce qu'est pour vous l'amitié? En France, on marque bien la différence entre ceux qu'on appelle des "connaissances" et nos amis... Est ce que ce oncept est plus flou aux Etats-Unis?


@Brigitte, effectivement, on dit "je t'aime" à son amoureux, à ses enfants (et encore, quand ils sont petits), et à ses parents (quand on est petits). Les français sont probablement plus pudiques sur l'expression des sentiments que les américains, même si on se fait la bise.

Hahaha, yes, the terms BFF (best friends forever) and BFFL (best friends for life) are generally associated now with being used by pre-teen/teen girls...

Also, Marine, it's interesting that you bring up Facebook - Facebook "friends" definitely does not hold the same meaning as true, close friends. Alexandria mentions "ami" vs "copain" or "pote" in France - here, I'm not sure whether we have a good equivalent. We have a tendency to just call everyone "friend" or "buddy" or "pal" in conversation, even though they really may be an acquaintance instead.

I think that over her people tend to form very shallow relationships with a lot of people cand call it friendship, when really they're just acquaintices. Not just on facebook, but even on campus. For instance there are a lot fo people in my dorm who would say they are "friends" with me, when really they're just a bunch of people that happen to live the same building as me and I don't really give a shit about. My actual fiends are much fewer, but are based on deep relationships and not merely proximity.

@Laurence: The idea of a best friend forever is definitely not a reality for a lot of people due to the fact that it is hard (in my opinion) to remain in contact with old friends.

@Flo: I do not think that this is more blurred in America, however, like Meera said, we call friends and acquantances alike friends in casual conversation. It is considered awkward to use the term acquaintance in social situations. Also, in America, we see Facebook friends as actual friends and acquaintances alike. For example I am facebook friends with people that I have met only a few times and also people that I know well. Facebook has recently added an "acquaintance" category, which could be useful in sorting out these two types of people in the future!

Laurence, I don't believe that the line between acquantances and friends is blurred in the US. We just don't take Facebook very seriously. Some people like to "add" people they've only met once, or friends of friends. I know people with over 1000 "friends" on Facebook, and there's no way that they're close with all of them. Outside of cyberspace, people here normally have a close group of people that they see on a daily basis and would call their close friends. An acquaintance is someone you've spoken to only a few times.

I also think that, in the US, maybe in trying not to seem rude, you may call someone a "friend" because you're trying to seem well-liked. Or you don't know how they feel about you. It's kind of awkward if you call someone an acquaintance, but they consider you a friend and I think in the effort to avoid tension, the definition of "friend" was broadened to include, what seems like, almost everyone you know.

Je  ne suis pas tout à fait d'accord avec Flo ! Il me semble, ou du moins, c'est mon cas, qu'on aime ses amis comme on aime sa famille ! Il y a une période dans la vie où les amis se disent énormément "je t'aime" ou "je t'adore", un peu sur le mode BFF ^^, et à peu près au moment (college, lycée).

Au final, cela varie énormément d'une personne à l'autre, la fait de dire qu'on aime les gens ou rester plus pudique. La culture française n'est pas uniforme, mais composée de nombreuses cultures, donc plus ou moins pudique ! Je pense que c'est aussi valable aux Etats Unis, non ?

@Kayla je trouve ta théorie très intéressante. Il s'agit en effet peut être d'une manière pour être plus poli ou moins blessant. 

@Kristen, je na savais pas que l'option allait être disponible sur facebook!!! Mais je me demande si elle sera vraiment utilisée en me basant sur la remarque de Kayla.

@Kieran, tout à fait d'accord avec toi! Je pense que le genre d'amitié que l'on trouve souvent sur les campus est une amitié de "confort" et donc pas forcément réelle ou durable, en particuliers aux Etats-Unis car les facultés sont souvent très éloignées de la famille.


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Je suis très intéressée par vos commentaire et vos opinion concernant l’amitié et ce la m’a évoqué un sentiment de nostalgie très fort à mes amis, les graines qui poussent sous l’ombre de notre pays, qui représentent l’avant - coureurs de demain dissimulé dans les yeux de jour. Mes amis partout dans mon pays merveilleux, au sein de mon peuple qui nous a appris la lutte, la fierté, que l’ataraxie est la maison la plus confortable et que le petit morceau du pain venant de la sueur de front est un trésor. A mes hors de la patrie et aussi ceux  que je n’ai pas encore rencontré..  Je leurs dis : « effaçons tous les longitudes et les l’altitude et les accidents de géographie et allons ensemble vers une aube bien éclairée ».

@Mai I like your very poetic response. It seems to me like you love your friends and country very much, and would love for everyone in the world to get along "allons ensemblr vers une aube bien éclairée. I hope I understood well enough. Some words and phrases are unclear to me. I am not familiar with the word "l'ataraxie," and what do you mean by the phrase "dissimulé dans les yeux de jour?" 

@Meera: I definitely agree with you. We don't have a lot of words in English to describe the kinds of friendships we have. For this reason, I'm pretty quick to just call people mes amis when I'm speaking in French as well ^^

@Mai: such a poetic commentary! Nostalgia is such a great thing


I know facebook was just kind of taking a leaf out of myspace's book with the whole "friends" thing, but it's definitely true that not all facebook friends are real, true friends. Besides my good friends who don't have facebooks though, I think it would be really weird if I wasn't facebook friends with my best friends though