The word Freundin can mean either a girlfriend or a female friend. In some cases, they can be distinguished by using the possessive pronoun to refer to the former:

Ich habe mit meiner Freundin (girlfriend) gegessen.

Ich habe mit einer Freundin (female friend) gegessen.

Sometimes, though, this isn't possible. For example, how to translate these sentences?

-- How was your trip?
-- Great, I've met a new (girl)friend.

A drink for my (girl)friend too, please.

How is this distinction usually made?


7 Answers 7


When it is really very important to make the distinction, I might use:

meine Freundin


eine Freundin von mir

In the restaurant situation, you might consider switching to

ein Glas Wein für die Dame hier

or much more frequently

Könnten wir noch ein Glas Wein haben?

and sort out the details when the wine is brought to the table.

  • I don't quite understand your restaurant suggestion. Both German sentences leave it totally open whether your female companion is a female friend of yours or your girlfriend. Or is that exactly you want to express? Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 10:15

Well if she is a close friend, you can say

Meine gute Freundin

And if is not (or you don't want to share that information), you can say

Meine Bekannte

Or you could be more specific about where you know her from

Meine Kollegin
Meine Kommilitonin
Meine Schulfreundin

As for ordering something for your female company, it is relatively uncommon to communicate the nature of your relationship.

  • Bei "meine Bekannte" muss ich unweigerlich an Rüdiger Hoffmann denken. ^^
    – ladybug
    Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 15:18
  • 2
    Beware of "Bekannte". This word may be understood as "a girl I had sex with, but do not care about much"
    – Ingo
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 15:02
  • 5
    @Ingo: Do you have any references for that claim? As a native speaker, I have never heard or thought of that interpretation and I have routinely used "Bekannte" for many years, but your comment is making me wonder whether anyone might have gotten the wrong thoughts based on that. Commented Jan 25, 2015 at 12:56
  • 1
    @O.R.Mapper: Well, that really depends heavily on context and intonation. With the right grin and tone, I think you can spin "acquaintance" to carry roughly the same meaning. But I wouldn't say that that's what people will assume that subtext without a very pronounced effort on your part to convey it.
    – back2dos
    Commented Jan 25, 2015 at 16:34

You could also say

meine feste Freundin

when talking about your girlfriend and

eine Freundin or meine Freundin

when talking about a female friend.

  • "Meine feste Freundin" is probably good. If I used just "(m)eine Freundin" to talk about female friends, it would still be ambiguous, though.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 17:51
  • This is what I've learned, "feste Freundin" for someone with whom you have special relationship.
    – user508
    Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 18:11
  • 1
    "Meine feste Freundin" is definitely not ambiguous, but it sounds a bit formal. "Meine Freundin" will easily be ambiguous. Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 19:02
  • 2
    @Hendrik: I concur. "Meine feste Freundin" is not formal in the sense that you would use it at a business dinner - it is rather something that I would expect to hear from an eighth-grader who's trying to sound important... Commented Jun 9, 2011 at 1:42
  • "feste Freundin" ist "long-term girlfriend". Wenn das der Fall ist, ist es korrekt und eindeutig. Wenn die Beziehung nur für kurze Zeit geplant ist, dann ist "feste Freundin" nicht korrekt und das Problem bleibt.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 14:46

For the first example, you can use the same means of distinction:

-- Wie war deine Reise?
-- Toll, ich habe eine neue Freundin kennengelernt. (a new female friend)

-- Wie war deine Reise?
-- Toll, ich habe meine neue Freundin kennengelernt. (your new girlfriend)

Beware, though, that the latter also implies that she still is your girlfriend.

(Although "getroffen" would be the more literal translation for "met", I'd choose "kennengelernt" here.)

  • 3
    +1 for pointing out the "treffen" vs. "kennenlernen" thing! "Treffen" is only a good translation of "to meet", if you mean "to run into someone" or "to meet at an appointed time/place" - whenever "to meet" refers to getting aquainted, use "kennenlernen"
    – Mac
    Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 8:26

thei's answer is very good if you're talking to someone not knowing who your girlfriend is. If you're talking to Tom, and Tom know that Mary is you girlfriend, then you can also say

meine Freundin Alicia

and it will be clear that this is just a female friend of yours.

  • That only true if Tom knows that Mary is a your girlfriend and Tom knows that you know that he knows. In the absence of that knowledge it might very well refer to a girlfriend.
    – Christian
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 10:58

Indeed, there are situations where some clarification is needed. If you wan´t to be explicit:

Meine Freundin or Meine Lebensgefährtin (companion in life, used for comitted long-time-relationships)


Meine gute Freundin (my dear female friend.)

That way you express that she is "just" a friend, but without reducing her to beeing "just" something.


Both the English language and the German one have various possible choices to express relationships.

In English you can say: "I have met my new lover on my vacation." That translates into German: "Ich habe meine neue Geliebte in meinem Urlaub kennengelernt."

In German that sentence sounds a bit formal and you would normally use a more ambiguous "Ich habe meine neue Freundin in meinem Urlaub kennengelernt." That usually means girlfriend but there are cases where it doesn't.

A informal way to order a drink for your girlfriend might be: "Bitte ein Glas für meinen Schatz." Specifying that she isn't your girlfriend could be done via "Bekannte" but mostly that wouldn't be done.

  • I'm not a native English speaker, but to me "I have met my new lover" suggests that he is either married and is now having a (new) clandestine affair, or that the relationship with this girl is purely based on sex, without a serious commitment. I wouldn't choose that word to refer to my girlfriend. Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 12:06

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