Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today we’ll answer a question from a student. Michelle’s student asked: How do I know if “girlfriend” means platonic friend or romantic interest?

The first thing we want to consider is the context.

What do you know about the person who is speaking and what exactly are they saying about the person?

If someone says, “I bought my girlfriend flowers” then the person is probably talking about a romantic interest.

It also depends on the gender of the person who is saying it.

When a man says “my girlfriend” it is definitely a romantic interest.

If a man wants to talk about a friend who is a girl he would say “my friend.”

If a man wants to talk about his friend who is a guy he would say “my buddy” or “my friend.”

If a girl says “my girlfriend” then it might be platonic but it might also mean that the person is a romantic interest.


Here are some examples:

  • “I went with a few girlfriends to the beach over the weekend.” In this case the person is probably talking about platonic friends because the person has more than one girlfriend.
  • “I have a girlfriend who works for that company.” This is probably also a platonic friend because the person said “I have a girlfriend” because it implies that this is one out of many friends that the person has.
  • “I went to the movies with my girlfriend.” This one sounds like a romantic interest because the use of the word “my” makes it sound more exclusive and as if there is only one girlfriend.

What are your thoughts on today’s episode?

Let us know in the comments below!

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