Either close friends, family friends or fun/casual friends. E.g. "hey ... (close/family/fun friend), what are you up to?" I am looking for a word to replace the "close/family/fun friend" with.

2 Answers 2


Words you could use to approach your friends in Chinese with are:

老爸 (lao ba) for a dad or 老妈 (lao ma) for a mom. 老兄 (lao xiong) and 老哥 (lao ge) for older male persons and 老姐 (lao jie) for an older female person. 老弟 (lao di) for a younger male person and 老妹 (lao mei) for a younger female person. In all of the mentioned examples, 老 (lao) doesn't mean old. Its closest English equivalent might be "dear". As in "dear ((younger)(fe)male) friend", "dear mother" etc.

Another way for approaching a good friend with whom one shares a lot of interests is 好小子 (hao xiao zi), which is an expression used irrespective of age.

  • 1
    Sorry, I think my question was a bit ambiguous, so I edited it to make it more clear what I was actually asking.
    – user76935
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 21:49
  • 1
    The OP asks for a word to approach his friends with, not for an ice-breaker sentence.
    – user76935
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 8:36

You can use their name - or if you really are close to them probably their nickname.

If it's family you probably need to use their position in the family relative to you 'name'.

More general things: 哥们儿:for friends 朋友:for friends 亲家:for the in laws

Edit: just wanna add 老兄: for friend (you'll sound pretty awesome if you call your friend (male of course - hence the whole 兄 thing going on over there) this).

  • I would appreciate it if you could also mention pinyin forms
    – azerafati
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 5:59
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    @user3306356 - If you say 兄 (xiong, 1st tone) is an awesome way to address your friend with, could you evaluate why that is? Also, I looked up the direct meaning of 兄 which is elder brother, so obviously we are curious to know whether this can only be said to an older friend?
    – user76935
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 8:27
  • sorry maybe it wasnt clear it's 老兄 together - it means like 'chap' or 'dude' :: irregardless of age
    – Mou某
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 9:03

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