I regularly have chats and written conversations with people from all over the world, especially Spanish speakers.
What I’ve noticed in that time is how often I am greeted with “Hello friend”.
Whilst this is perfectly friendly, polite and easy enough to translate into English, it doesn’t do you any favours in sounding like a native, because English people don’t call each other ‘friend’ unless it’s preceded by the word ‘my’. The phrase ‘Hi, my friend’ is totally acceptable, albeit a little old fashioned, but you might like it this way!)
What’s even more curious is that calling someone ‘amigo’ is not common in Spain and some Latin American countries, even though we hear it a lot in American movies.
In other unfortunate cases when people have tried to use alternative words, I’ve often been greeted by my language partners, who are almost complete strangers, with “Hello beautiful”. Whilst this may be incredibly complimentary, it gives the wrong impression of your intentions and makes us Aussies, who are certainly not as expressive, want to run in the opposite direction!
I’ve collated some synonyms for the word ‘friend’ in the context of greetings, with some distinctions as to what kinds of relationships in which they can be utilised.
However, the number one rule with greeting people in English is this: when in doubt, just use their name. It’s the most common greeting, even between friends.
The Cookie Chef