Surprise Your American Friends With These Idioms About Love and Relationships

Do you sometimes get the feeling that your American friends and relatives speak a different English to the one you learnt at your language school?

Do you ever wonder why there are certain English expressions that you find odd or obscure despite knowing the meaning of every individual word?

If the answer is “yes”, I know exactly what you need—a good guide to English idioms.

English idioms are informal, playful, often metaphorical phrases that allow you to be funny, express your deepest feelings, and more importantly, to sound like a local!

Below, you will find our favorite English idioms to surprise your friends and family.

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Idioms about romantic love

A match made in heaven

Have you ever met a couple in which the two people seem so perfectly suited for one another that it would be impossible to imagine them being apart? Well, that’s exactly the meaning of our first English idiom.

“Look at those two… We’ve barely started eating and they both have tomato sauce stains on their clothes already.”

“Well, like I always say… It’s a match made in Heaven.”

Being lovey-dovey

Knowing that someone we hold dear has found true love is a wonderful thing, but let’s face it. When couples start flirting, kissing, and calling each other cute nicknames, it can get a bit uncomfortable. Like the Queen song says, “too much love can kill you”… especially if it’s someone else’s love story we’re talking about!

So, next time you date someone you really like, make sure not to act all lovey-dovey around other people.

Head over heels (in love)

Have you ever been so in love that it feels like your whole world is turned upside down? Oh, not yet? Well, you’ve still got plenty of time. While you wait for Mr or Ms Right, you can get in the mood for love by listening to Alanis Morissette’s 90’s anthem named after this funny little idiom.

Love is blind

Why is it so hard to tell a friend what you really think about their partner? As usual, English idioms have the answer. ‘Love is blind’ is an expression that we use to talk about how hard it is for people in love to see their significant other’s flaws. And, as you can imagine, it’s very useful for gossiping!

“She’s still with that guy? I can’t believe it. Does he even have a job?”
“No, he’s still ‘finding his vocation’”.

“Oh my. Well, it seems love really is blind.”

Pop the question

There are many important questions to ask a partner, for example:

Do you wanna order Mexican food tonight?
Can we binge-watch Breaking Bad next weekend?

But few questions are more important in someone’s lifetime than ‘Will you marry me?’ “Popping the question” refers to the act of proposing to the person you love.

“So did you pop the question or not?”

“I did.”

“Congratulations, man. What a memorable moment!”

“She said no, actually”.

“Oh… Well, I guess that will make it even more memorable.”

Idioms about family

Be the spitting image of someone

Every time I run into one of my father’s school friends, I hear the same thing: “you’re the spitting image of your Dad”. And it is true, we do have a strong resemblance. For example, we both have an Asian air, which is very surprising given there are no Asian ancestors in our family. Anyway, next time you meet a relative who looks very much like one of their parents, you can use this expression to show your surprise and your knowledge of English idioms.

Father Figure

A father figure is generally an older man with whom one can identify on a deep emotional level and who has helped us shape our personality: the uncle who taught you everything about baseball, the grandpa who raised you after your parents were gone, even an older brother! No matter who we are talking about, telling them that they are a ‘father figure’ to you might be the best way to say thank you next time you see them.

Run in the Family

When couples argue, it is very common to hear things like “You sound just like your mother!” or “You are doing exactly what your father did to your Mom!”. What these people are doing (besides trying to hurt their partner!) is stating an undeniable truth: there are certain personality traits that are passed from one generation to the next, and thus are very unlikely to be changed.

However, you don’t need a heated argument to be able to use this one. Like most English idioms about family, it can fit merrier exchanges just as well:

“I didn’t know you were such an accomplished singer!”

“I guess it runs in the family. After all, my parents are both musicians.”

By the way, if you don’t believe me some things just run in the family, you can ask Amanda:

A tiger mother

Have you ever met a mother so strict and overprotective that it looked like she could devour her own children if they disobeyed her? If you have, you’ll be able to see why ‘tiger mother’ is such a fitting expression.

Just make sure you don’t sound too critical when you use this English idiom to describe someone in your family!

Kith and Kin

‘Kith and kin’ is an English expression you can use to refer to your complete or extended family. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles. Yes, even that smug cousin you never liked.

“Is Laura coming? I can’t stand her.”
“Yes, she is coming, I’m afraid. Straight from Paris!
“Well, I hope she brings souvenirs for her kith and kin at least!

Idioms about friendship

A friend in need is a friend indeed

They say that you don’t know how many true friends you have until you go through a rough time. Difficult times are revealing because they show us who is willing to stay brave the storm with us, and who was just hanging around until something more fun came up.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed” is an English idiom you can use both as a cry for help, and as a way of saying “thank you”, to someone who has stayed by your side through thick and thin.

Friends in high places

English idioms about friendship are not always as cute as the one before. This one, for example, is a phrase that people use to boast about having friends in important or influential positions.

Still, you can use it jokingly to show your friends that you are proud of their achievements:

“I have some great news. I got the job I was telling you about the other day!”
“OMG, I’m so proud of you. Now, I can’t wait to tell everyone I have a friend in high places!”

Birds of a feather (flock together)

Out of all the English idioms in this list, this is one whose meaning is most difficult to guess.

Saying that two people are “birds of a feather” means that they have so much in common and they get along so well that it’s almost impossible to think of one without thinking about the other one.

Yet, as Regina sings in this beautiful ballad, birds can also grow apart.

Friend-zone

My favorite love stories are those in which two inseparable friends realize they have romantic feelings for one another. You know…  like Ron and Hermione, or Sally and Harry!

But what happens when your feelings towards your friend are not returned?

As it happens, there is a place where all these people with unrequited feelings go to console each other —it’s called the friend zone.

As you can imagine, it’s not a very happy place, but there is one thing we can promise: you won’t be alone in there!

So, which of these common English idioms would you use to surprise the people you love?

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If you feel you need to practice them before you can use them with your American friends, we can help. Contact us now and we’ll match you with one of our native English teachers for a personalized speaking course so you can work on your conversational skills and learn to sound like a local.

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