This may not fall under english language SE, and if not I apologize, but I always wonder when I say "a friend and I did this" to another friend, if that sounds like I'm implying they are not a friend.

Is this what that sounds like? Should I say "another friend?" Or is there a better way?

  • 2
    FYI the OP is not specific to English. For instance, we share the same "problem" in France. :-)
    – Elian
    Apr 26, 2014 at 18:35

3 Answers 3


This is really about interpersonal skills, I believe; how to avoid hurting someone's feelings when they are left out of a situation. You can't. It's human nature to feel this to some extent.

You might possibly soften the blow, however, by:

including them as your semantic group of friends:

another friend and I...; one of my other friends and I...

decreasing their semantic importance:

someone I know and I...; an acquaintance and I...

identifying as belonging to a specific group that doesn't emotionally exclude your friend:

a coworker and I...; a classmate and I...

Not mention the other person at all (this is my preference):

  • I went skydiving this weekend. It was terrifying!
  • I saw a good movie last weekend.

If the other person asks, Who with?, I will give names, not my association with them. If the other person then asks, Who are they?, I will answer. (a friend from the co-op; a doctor at work; whatever) Usually it doesn't go that far.

There are ways to approach this which involve common sense more than language. There's rarely a reason to start off with A friend and I.... It's not important who you did something with; you just want to share your experience, don't you? Other times, you might want to let your friend you met another interesting person. Just be aware of how you would want to hear it.


Usually when speaking I will say, "My other friend and I did..." However it is not incorrect to say what you said, and typically it doesn't imply that the person you are speaking to is not a friend. It is inferred that you are speaking of another friend without meaning that the person you are speaking to is not a friend.


To my ear, using "another friend" doesn't sound like the appropriate way to speak of another friend to a friend, as long as it might imply that you're sort of feeling unsure about your actual friendship with your interlocutor, and that, somehow, you're feeling the need to justify yourself about the fact he or she is also a friend.

If that friend is a sensible person, I'm sure he or she will quite understand you have other friends than him/her.

And so, there's no need to leave the impression that you're trying to justify yourself about him/her being a friend by saying "another friend."

Using other terms than "friend" would not convey the same degree of relationship to my ear.

Hence, just say "a friend."

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