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Давай Дружить! – Let’s Be Friends! Posted by on Aug 24, 2020 in Culture, Russian life, vocabulary

Friends play extremely important roles in our lives. Friendship in Russia means a lot and is appreciated. To be honored to be called a true friend, you need to do certain things. A close friend is almost a family member.

We have already discussed the types of friendship (дру́жба) in Russia in this blog. Today I want to talk about the concepts of “true friend”, “best friend”, and “close friend”. What makes these people different from “just friends”?

A true friend (настоя́щий друг) will keep a promise (сде́ржит сло́во/обеща́ние), support you (подде́ржит тебя), help in difficult times (помо́жет в тру́дную мину́ту), never betray (никогда́ не преда́ст), and always find a minute (найдёт мину́ту) to call (позвони́ть) you just to ask how you are doing (спроси́ть, как твои́ дела́). The best friend у́чший друг) is most likely the same person as your true friend. The difference between them is that a “true friend” is in an ideal friendship. If you can say that about yours, you are a lucky person.

Best Friends Forever

Image by Texasbubba Flickr

This proverb

Скажи́ мне, кто твой друг, и я скажу́, кто ты

(Tell me who your friend is, and I will tell who you are)

is very similar to English “A man is known by the company he keeps”. A person tends to be very similar in character to the people with whom he or she communicates and spends time.

Once people recognize each other as friends, they become reliable (надёжный) and speak frankly (открове́нный) for years to come, sharing their deepest feelings and discussing all aspects of their lives. Russians say they can visit their friends at 2 a.m. without prior notice, just to talk. Good friends always have time for a chat (поболта́ть).

– I called my bestie (лу́чшая подру́га) in the middle of the night to tell her I found a solution to her problem. We both were so happy!


Image by tomvdh1 Flickr

There is not much personal space and privacy between such people. Traditionally in Russia, it is customary to invite friends “на чай” (to have some tea). Usually, the conversations during tea (coffee, wine, etc.) drinking will last for hours. Your friend will always be there for you.

Close friends (бли́зкие друзья́) always remember when your birthday is and know what you want as a gift. It is with these people that you want to share joy and sorrow (раздели́ть ра́дость и го́ре). You can be sure they will understand you (пойму́т тебя́). Closest friends are often friends made in school or college, people you have known for a long time, and who are like-minded (единомы́шленники) people or even soulmates о́дственные ду́ши). You can rely о́жно положи́ться) on your close friends.

Hands United Together

Image by Wonder woman0731 Flickr

Russians separate friendship and acquaintance. They believe that it is impossible to have many close friends. So most people have one or several of them, calling others they have a nice time with прия́тель, това́рищ, or знако́мый.

Оди́н ста́рый друг лу́чше но́вых двух

(One old friend is better than two new ones) 

“Old friends and old wine are the best”

This saying demonstrates how important intimacy is in friendship in Russia.

Having a lifelong friendship (дру́жба наве́ки) is priceless.

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