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A guide to internet slang for friendships, real and fake

Friendship is a lasting theme in human life and literature. However, the proper way to address one’s friends has evolved over time. Poetic co-dependencies like ancient China’s “eight-bow friends” probably still exist, but these terms are seldom used now.

Fortunately, the internet is always evolving new buzzwords to supplement our Chinese friendship vocabulary.

Old iron (老铁)

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author Tan Yunfei (谭云飞)

Tan Yunfei is the editorial director of The World of Chinese. She reports on Chinese language, food, traditions, and society. Having grown up in a rural community and mainly lived in the cities since college, she tries to explore and better understand China's evolving rural and urban life with all readers.

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