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?

  • 14
    If you order a drink for your friend, it is no one's business whether she is your girlfriend or not.
    – Phira
    Jun 5, 2011 at 17:04
  • 6
    @thei: An unambiguous phrase would be useful e.g. if the bartender was her insane ex.
    – Tim
    Jun 5, 2011 at 17:06
  • 5
    I guess sometimes you might want to establish subtly that you are or aren't a couple.
    – misterben
    Jun 5, 2011 at 17:10
  • 1
    @tim Then I suggest you go to another bar.
    – user245
    Jun 5, 2011 at 19:43
  • 1
    The same problem (albeit less severe) exists in English, too: sometimes, “girl friend” (as opposed to “girlfriend”) is used, but sounds identical. Jun 6, 2011 at 9:06

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.

  • Thanks, I hadn't thought of "eine Freundin von mir". It solves the problem nicely. Do you know of a similar way to unambiguously mean "girlfriend", or does "meine Freundin" already accomplish that?
    – Tim
    Jun 5, 2011 at 17:16
  • 9
    @Tim "Meine Freundin" is ambiguous, you will have to resort to body language if you want to make a point.
    – Phira
    Jun 5, 2011 at 17:43
  • 2
    Hast du in jeder Stadt eine andere Freundin? ;)
    – splattne
    Jun 5, 2011 at 18:43
  • 5
    @splattne: Das wäre "eine meiner Freundinnen".
    – Phira
    Jun 5, 2011 at 18:44

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
    Jun 7, 2011 at 15:18
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    Beware of "Bekannte". This word may be understood as "a girl I had sex with, but do not care about much"
    – Ingo
    Sep 8, 2011 at 15:02
  • 3
    @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. 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
    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
    Jun 5, 2011 at 17:51
  • This is what I've learned, "feste Freundin" for someone with whom you have special relationship.
    – user508
    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. Jun 5, 2011 at 19:02
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    @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... 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
    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
    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
    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. Jul 22, 2016 at 12:06

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