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I am writing a letter to a friend (Joshua) for his birthday and I want to recount all I had heard about him before we met. An excerpt:

Since I got to know Aditya, I had been hearing about this 'Joshua' character, who ..

My question is, is this 'Joshua' character a crude way of going about it? If so, can you suggest an alternative.

Thanks!

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    That depends very much on how well you know each other and on what level your regular interaction occurs. A friend can be someone you treat with dignity and respect, or someone with whom you can "neg" without causing offence. May 7, 2019 at 8:42

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"This xxx character" can be a little derogatory, depending on the context.

For example, "My son has started hanging around with this Joshua character and ever since his school marks have suffered".

However, if you know Joshua and you are obviously friends, then I think it is fine to say: "Since I got to know Aditya, I had been hearing about this 'Joshua' character, who ..".

As a native speaker, I wouldn't read this and think that Joshua was in any way shady, nor, if I were Joshua, would I be offended.

If you are looking for an alternative, you could say "someone named Joshua" which is more neutral. But as mentioned, I don't think this is necessary.

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