by Kate Woodford
Our friends are important to us so we tend to talk about them. And what sort of things do we say? We might talk about how strong a friendship is. If we say that we are close to someone, we mean that we know and like them a lot: I’ve known Sara for years – we’re very close. / She’s very close to her brother. You might instead describe someone as a good friend (of yours): Paolo’s a good friend of mine. You could also use the phrasal verb get on (UK) / get along (US), meaning ‘to like someone and have a good relationship with them’: I like James – we’ve always got on / gotten along.
Sometimes we talk about how a friendship started. You may say that you met a friend through another person: I met Alice through a work friend of mine called Lucy. (The friend who introduced you – a friend of two people – is known as a mutual friend). Perhaps you were at a party and you started talking with someone although you didn’t know them. For this, you could say you struck up (= started) a conversation: We were both waiting to get a drink and struck up a conversation. If you liked the person immediately, you could use the informal phrase hit it off: Jamie introduced us at a party and we hit it off immediately. Of course, as we spend more time with a person, we gradually learn more about them. To describe this process, you may say that you get to know someone: He seemed so nice. I thought I’d like to get to know him. / We worked together on a six-month project so I got to know her quite well. If you have known someone for a long time, you might use the phrase to go back a long way: Claire and I met at college twenty years ago so we go back a long way.
Sometimes we talk about why we are friends with a particular person. You could simply say that you enjoy someone’s company: Dan’s an interesting guy – I really enjoy his company. You might also say that you like spending time with them: She’s fun – I really like spending time with her. You might describe someone as good company, meaning that they are fun to be with: Anita is hilarious – she’s really good company. People often find that it is easier to be friends with those who are similar to them in some way. If you say that you and someone else have a lot in common, you mean that you have the same interests and opinions as them, or that you have had similar experiences: I really enjoy Zoe’s company. We have a lot in common.
Sometimes our friends move away but we continue to communicate with them by phone, email, etc. In this situation you might say that you keep in touch: We’ve kept in touch all these years. If the opposite happens, we sometimes say that we lose touch: Maria and I lost touch over the years. Sometimes, we continue to live near a friend but for other reasons, the relationship gradually ends. When this happens, you might use the phrase drift apart: Over the years we just drifted apart.