Chinese Language Blog

Chinese Friendship Vocabulary Posted by on Feb 22, 2022 in Music, Vocabulary

Photo by PaliGraficas from, CCO

One of the things I most love about China is the people. Over the years, while traveling, studying, and working in China, I was lucky to meet many kind people on the way. Despite different backgrounds and culture barriers we became good friends in joy and sorrow. China was the basis for our friendship, and the Chinese language, the hand gestures and facial expressions were our tools to communicate.


Zhù zài zhōng guó de shí hòu wǒ jiàn miànle hǎo duō shàn liáng yǒu hǎo de zhōng guó rén.

When I lived in China, I met a lot of kind and friendly Chinese people.

友好 (yǒu hǎo) from the sentence above is an adjective meaning friendly. It can describe people, relations, actions, etc. For example:

  • 两国保持友好关系。

Liǎng guó bǎo chí yǒu hǎo guān xì.

The two countries maintain friendly relations.

  • 我们友好地分手。

Wǒ men yǒu hǎo dì fēn shǒu.

We broke up amicably.

  • 别让他那友好的言词把你蒙混住。

Bié ràng tā nà yǒu hǎo de yán cí bǎ nǐ méng hùn zhù.

Don’t let his friendly words fool you. 


People use many 友好的表示 (yǒu hǎo de biǎo shì, friendly gestures) in their relationships. On my first year in China, for example, I was living in Kunming. Every day after lunch I headed back home for a rest. Walking in the same alley at the same hour I always noticed one house. Its door wide open, on the threshold a young lady cutting hot pepper and meat, while her son played behind her on the floor. After a couple of weeks passing by, we started nodding to each other. This was our first 友好的表示. Then we start smiling to each other. Until one day the lady simply said, knife still in her hand: 吃饭吧 (chī fàn ba, let’s eat). I couldn’t resist such a 友好的表示. So we ate. I was welcome for lunch ever since and I spent there most of my siesta hours, eating, chatting and playing. The little boy taught me a famous Chinese nursery rhyme 我的朋友在哪里 (wǒ de péng yǒu zài nǎ lǐ, where is my friend):

一 二 三 四 五 六 七

在这里 在这里


啦 啦 啦 啦 真欢喜

同唱歌来 同游戏
笑嘻嘻 多甜蜜


Yī èr sān sì wǔ liù qī

wǒ de péng yǒu zài nǎ lǐ

zài zhè lǐ zài zhè lǐ

wǒ de péng yǒu zài zhè lǐ

la la la la zhēn huān xǐ

tóng chàng gē lái tóng yóu  xì

xiào xī xī duō tián mì

wǒ de péng yǒu jiù shì nǐ

One two three four five six seven

Where is my friend

He is here he is here

My friend is here

La la la la so happy

Sing together, play together

Smile and laugh how sweet

My friend is you

You can sing along with the next animated video:


The character (yǒu) that appears in the words above – 朋友 (péng yǒu, friend) and 友好 (yǒu hǎo, friendly) – appears in many more phrases referring to friendship. For example:

Tell us about your friends in the comment below. Did you visit China? Have you made friends in China? Use the words above to tell us all about it.


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