I heard this word on some TV show and i have been trying to find its meaning(but they weren't of help much). Could someone please tell me ?

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    I could use a coffee. – Blessed Geek Mar 26 '14 at 8:24

The phrase could use a friend means that the described person is either in trouble or very unhappy.

When stated about oneself, it is usually a gentle request for a show of affection or support, often addressed to someone who is already the friend of the speaker. It is sometimes akin to the phrase I could use a hug (meaning please comfort me).

When addressed to another, it is an acknowledgement of the difficulties or sadness of the person addressed. It is usually meant to imply and I will be that friend.

Occasionally, it is intended to startle someone into changing their tone and accepting help. Your self-destructive and alienating behavior is going to wreck your life! You could use a friend. Stop pushing me away.

In the phrase, the verb use means have use for. In a sense, it does mean take advantage of but only in the sense of utilize rather than take unfair advantage of.


If someone "could use a friend", it means that they would benefit from having the close companionship of friendship, oftentimes because they are perceived as being lonely or going through a difficult time. It is usually a kindhearted, well-meaning (nice) thing to say about someone.


I interpret it as the person saying the phrase, would like some help in the given situation and would regard the person giving a helping hand as a friend.


"could use a X" is an American English idiom

"could do with a X" is the the British version

They both mean "would benefit from [having] an X".

"I could use a friend"

"I could do with a friend"

"I would benefit from [having] a friend.

The above are all equivalent.

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