One of the things I have often noticed is the misuse of words “Boy Friend, Girl Friend and Lover” by internationals in US ( I was the same way when I came to US). In America, these words mean different and have a certain meaning, using them inappropriately at wrong context can create wrong impression about you and your gender. I will try to explain them precisely based on my knowledge.
What does Girl Friend in US mean? Who can use it?
As internationals, we may be used to calling our friends who are girls as Girl Friends. But that cannot be applied here in US. In America, when a guy says that a girl is his Girl friend, it means that they are in a relationship. When I say relationship, they may be in variety of scenarios like: they girl and boy may be dating each other, they may be in an exclusive relationship seeing each other, they may have physical relationship and may share an emotional relationship like Love. A Girl friend is a female partner in a non-marital romantic relationship. So, if you are guy, be very careful when you say that you have girl friends. In fact, socially acceptable thing is, you can only have one Girl friend at a time, if you say “I have many girl friends”, it either shows your ignorance or people may misunderstand you as you are cheating on bunch of girls. As a guy, if you want to address your friends you are girls, you specially say, “I have few friends who are girls”. On the other hand, its usage is a little casual by girls. Girls can use the term “ I have few girl friends”. Most of the times, when girls say that “hey went out with Girl friends or She is my Girl Friend”, it is meant that they are just friends who are girls and it is used in non-sexual, non-romantic context…sometimes, the word “girlfriend” (single word) is also used by girls of LGBT to refer to their partner. But, generic usage by most women, it is used to refer to their friends.
What does Boy Friend in US mean? How to use it?
Similar to above situation, Boy Friend is often used by international girls to refer their Guy friends. This is wrong usage. When a girl says, “I have a boy friend”, it means that she is in a relationship with the male friend. It means that they are dating and can be an exclusive relationship, or a physical relationship. Same as above, “A Boy friend is a male partner in a non-marital romantic relationship”. So, girls be careful when you use the term boy friend. If you want to address your male friends, you just say, “These are my guy friends or I was out with my guy friends”. Sometime,s you can simply say, “ I was out with a friend of mine”. On the other hand, if a guy uses, I have a boy friend, it means that he may be gay and he is in relationship with other guy. So, all the men, be careful with usage…You do not want to be giving wrong impressions to others about your gender.
What does Lover actually mean in US ?
If two people are in love, as internationals we are so used to using the words like, “ she/he is my lover or she is his lover”. I do not know if you ever looked up in the dictionary what lover means. Here is the dictionary.com meaning “a person who is in love with another, a person who has a sexual or romantic relationship with another or a person with whom one conducts an extramarital sexual affair.” Though you can argue that we are referring to first meaning, it is not treated that way when you refer. Typically, you refer your sexual partner as lover in US. So, be careful when you use the word lover. If you want to say you love someone, “ You can say we are in love or we love each other or she is my Girl friend or boy friend”. You do not want to refer as lover.
There may be some controversies on the usage of these words based on the context and people can argue that it is Ok to use the way you like…It is your choice…but this is what I have learnt though !
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