Getting a tattoo is a way to permanently cement a friendship. It takes your relationship from ‘we really know each other well’ to ‘there really should be a category of life partners for people like us.’ While many people are quick to get a matching tattoo with their lovers, there is way more incentive to get a tattoo with your best friend (a Best Friend Tattoo). Love can be fleeting, but friends remain by your side for much longer. Best friends—the ones you talk to for hours each day, the ones you share all of your opinions and secrets with, and the ones you practically blackmail into liking your Facebook posts—will be there for at least twenty years. And, let’s be honest, even if you do lose contact with your bestie, the two of you would be able to spring back into friendship twenty years from now with a single phone call. You just click together. Are they afraid of tattoo pain? All you need to do is grab them some lidocaine cream and they’re set.
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There are several different kinds of best friend tattoos. Some of them are matching, some contrast, while still others are two parts of a whole. All of them emphasize that the owners of both tattoos go together like peas in a pod. Indeed, most best friend tattoos only work if the two friends are in the same room together, standing near to one another! Since one tattoo isn’t complete without the other, it ensures that even strangers will recognize your friendship when you are together. If you are a tattoo artist looking for designs, I recommend checking out some tattoo artist chairs to spruce up your studio.
If you and your friend both love tattoos, but are unsure of what kind of tattoo to get, then this article is pretty much for you. We’re going over different kinds of quotes that describe best friends, the options for both girls and guys, different kinds of symbols, a closer look at two very common symbols, and then a gallery with dozens of designs to browse through if you are still undecided! Grab some tattoo healing cream ahead of your appointment and delve into the world of best friend tattoos!
Related Article: Sister Tattoos
Best Friend Quotes
“My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” –Henry Ford
“My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.” –Aristotle
“Things are never quite as scary when you’ve got a best friend.” –Bill Watterson
These are just a few select quotes from some quote-finding sites on the net. As you can tell, they are all about best friends. But sometimes, quotes like this are just not enough. The fact you are getting a tattoo together is enough to shout to the world that you are best friends. Getting a tattoo that talks about best friends is a little redundant. No, you don’t want to stop at just best friends—you want to emphasize what makes you best friends.
Now, those sites are still excellent to use, but instead of searching for ‘best friend,’ you should look for a theme that describes your best friend. It’s best to do this together, that way you learn more about each other as you search for a quote! Here are a few quotes that talk about support in a time of need:
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” –Henry Ford
“I believe that two people are connected at the heart, and it doesn’t matter what you do, or who you are or where you live; there are no boundaries or barriers if two people are destined to be together.” –Julia Roberts
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller
Not only are these sorts of sayings more quotable, but they also make better tattoos. You can add imagery to all of these quotes. Puzzle pieces, hearts, or even small people acting out these quotes make for excellent imagery. Even when the tattoos are split, each half will hold its own separate and complete meaning. This is what makes a truly excellent best friend tattoo. You can also choose to have half of a quote on one person, with the other half continued in a similar location on the next person. Putting these two halves together creates a finished piece that tells everyone you are best friends twice over. Put a bit of tattoo numbing cream here and a little ink there, and the two of you will have beautiful matching tattoos!
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Girly Best Friend Tattoos
If you want to focus less on words and more on pictures, that’s awesome, too. A picture speaks a thousand words. If you are looking for a girly tattoo, there are plenty of symbols for you to choose from. You can add a bow to any symbol to make it more girly. Extra swirls, hearts, cherries, crowns, stick figures, feathers, birds, butterfly wings, owls, flowers, and anything aesthetically pleasing that also happens to be symmetrical can bring a tattoo over to the girly side. Of course, this also depends on what style the tattoo is drawn in. More realistic styles tend to be more masculine, while cartoony styles are more feminine.
While some of these symbols have femininity as part of their meaning, they all carry different interpretations. Owls, for example, are associated with learning and wisdom. Feathers represent burdens that have been cast away, butterflies represent wishes and dreams, and the meaning of flowers change depending on the type of flower and what color it is. When picking through especially girly tattoos, consider the ‘girly’ bit a part that you add on last. It’s very easy to add frills and lace to a concept, so there’s no need to make it a priority when making a design.
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Best Friend Tattoos for Guys
We’ll be going into way more detail about tattoos for guys next week, but for now, here are some pretty solid tips for getting a masculine tattoo. As I mentioned before, realistic images tend to be seen as very masculine. Rough images that look more like sketches than a finished piece can also portray masculinity. Geometric shapes—such as squares, triangles, and so on—also give off a masculine feel. If girly tattoos are considered random or flowing, then tattoos for guys are something concrete. Anything that looks solid and deliberate can be considered a tattoo for a guy. Of course, this is a very broad definition—but there are also thousands upon thousands of designs that are considered masculine, so that’s to be expected.
Older font faces such as the gothic calligraphy style are seen as masculine, due to their prevalence in older texts. Sailor Jerry tattoos are also very masculine, even when they’re essentially a pin-up of a lady. Swallows are very common masculine tattoos, and their popularity was started by sailors who enjoyed the company of sparrows on their journeys. Despite normally being associated with women, roses are quite common as a guy tattoo. Combined with knives and daggers, the rose can give the impression of a harsh reality. Stars, spider webs, arrows, bar codes, steady scripts, skulls, tigers, and tribal symbols are all excellent examples of masculine tattoos because of their solid lines.
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Best Friend Heart Tattoos
For both guys and girls, best friend heart tattoos are a staple design. The heart is an amazing symbol that is so popular, you can technically type it with your keyboard. And I’m not talking about <3 . I’m talking about ♥ . There are tons of variations of that symbol, too❣ But, I digress. Hearts make for amazing tattoos because they are so recognizable. You can combine them with almost any other symbol and they will still be recognizable. You can even break them in half and still have the design be recognizable, although the meaning changes.
The fact that it is so easy to read and break apart makes it perfect for best friend tattoos. You can get matching heart designs with something you both enjoy decorating the inside of the heart, or you can split the heart in half and each carry a separate part. When you are together, it becomes apparent that you are both best friends. When apart, your tattoo both stands on its own and lets others know that there is an opposite tattoo that fits with yours out there.
Infinity Best Friend Tattoos
Like the heart, the infinity symbol is easily recognized by its distinctive swirl. Unlike the heart, you can’t exactly split it in half. The whole point of the infinity symbol is that it’s unbreakable, so if you split the design, it just becomes a sad-looking tear drop. It still combines excellently with other symbols and even words. As long as the words follow the flow of the infinity symbol’s lines, they can be interpreted as part of an infinity symbol. Throwing in a heart or an anchor shows that it’s a solid relationship that is lasting for eternity. Choosing contrasting words for your design—such as love and strength, you and me, or even your names—helps make them more unique. ‘To infinity and beyond,’ is a common quote that people get, even splitting it in the middle sometimes. The implication is that the friendship will last forever, despite any hardships.
Guy and Girl Tattoos
It’s hard choosing a matching tattoo for a guy and a girl without looking like lovers. A good way to make sure there is no ambiguity is to simply tattoo ‘best friends’ together. Either through the words or a split heart that resembles the ‘best friend’ necklace you get as an old arcade prize, people should know right away from seeing it that you are truly best friends. You can also get a simple quote that depicts an ideal you share. One person gets one half, the other gets the other half, and when the two are together, it shows everyone how your ideals match up. If neither of these options sounds good to you, there’s always another route to take.
Related Article: Tattoos for Couples in Love
You can decide on a regular tattoo that you both enjoy and get that tattooed. They will be matching, but it won’t be apparent to everyone that you got the tattoo as part of a set. Often, this is the best route to take when you just want to solidify your relationship with your best friend. Another way to get a guy and girl tattoo is just to throw out all those ‘regular’ designs and work on something zany. Getting a bow with an arrow, a lock with a key, or even a matching picture of cat dog that combines when you put your feet together shows everyone that you are best friends.
Best Friend Tattoo Symbols
If you’re an artist looking for ideas, then make sure to give both of your clients a good experience with a comfy tattoo chair or tattoo bed (the second one has the benefit of seating them both at the same time, if you have the right kind). Hearts and infinity signs as best friend tattoo symbols are a no-brainer. If you don’t feel like going the normal route, there are several other options for you. Jewels that show the wealth of the friendship, a lock and key that shows that both of you match, perfectly synchronized birds that go across both of your arms, and a string phone that stretches between the gap of your bodies are all perfectly acceptable symbols of friendship. Chrysanthemums, jade flowers, and yellow roses are all flowers that mean friendship specifically. Arrows make for amazing tattoos, and they also symbolize friendship in adversity. There are also several tribal tattoo symbols of friendship—both in Polynesian and Celtic cultures.
When picking a symbol, remember that it should represent both of you. It doesn’t need to actually mean friendship, as long as it depicts your friendship properly. In example, dragonflies have nothing to do with friendship, but if you both happened to meet because you were watching a dragonfly, it would make perfect sense! Using that sort of approach, the two of you will surely find something that represents both of you. In fact, it might be difficult narrowing down the list of concepts! The good news is that you have plenty of time to decide.
Best Friend Tattoo Designs
Of course, the design for your tattoo doesn’t need to come from this list. In fact, as you’ll notice in the gallery below, very few match these criteria! We have only discussed the most common symbols and quotes of friendship. Even after you know all of the common symbols and quotes, picking a tattoo design can be difficult. Thankfully, we’ve made that difficult work less difficult for you. We’ve gathered tons of best friend tattoo designs for you to browse through. We hope that this article has also inspired you and your friend. Perhaps you have the start of an idea. That idea can go places and become something truly unique and descriptive of both of your characters—and that’s the sort of tattoo you want to keep!
As always, thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our design galleries (like our Simple Tattoos or White Ink Tattoos) , informative articles (Tattoo AfterCare), interviews, and looks back at the history of tattoos as art!