10 Tattoos That Symbolize Friendship

Tattoos That Symbolize Friendship
Credit: Instagram @gong_greem

Nearly half of Millennials in the United States have at least one tattoo, and that figure is growing. Millennial and Gen Z populations are quickly leading tattoos to cultural ubiquity, and in conjunction with their rising appetite for tattoos in general, matching tattoos have also seen a massive surge in popularity. Now, more than ever, couples, family members, and best friends alike are choosing to celebrate their relationships with lifelong ink. With that in mind we’ve sourced standout designs—10 tattoos that symbolize friendship— to celebrate the beautiful bond between best friends.

A love to keep close

The history of the locket is one steeped in love—an accessory created to keep the people that matter most to us close. It makes sense then, that this pair used the charm to symbolize their friendship. Thanks to Melbourne-based, contemporary, fineline tattooer Samantha Darling these friends Mira Mariah and Rachel Finelli (who are both tattooers themselves) are linked for life.

You brighten my life

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Freesia & doodle cloud 💙

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A good friend adds color to your life. This is precisely what Seoul’s Gong Greem has visualized through these tattoos done in her signature bright, abstract, illustrative style. But friends are not identical—it’s the reason they’re able to add that extra color—and the slight variation between the two designs show off those differences beautifully, making these a great pair of tattoos that symbolize friendship.

Through thick and thin

Worn by Hilary Duff and her best friend Alanna Masterson, this single-needle tattoo from artist to the stars, Dr. Woo, speaks for itself. Much like this tattoo, a best friend is there for you through life’s ups and downs, through thick and thin.

You complete me

A subtle, modern take on the idea of best friends being “two peas in a pod”. This script tattoo by Brittany Randell, the Toronto-based, self-taught tattooer and advocate for greater POC representation in the tattoo community, is simple yet powerful. Without your best friend you’re incomplete, and this design serves as a reminder of that indelible bond. Another favorite in our list of tattoos that symbolize friendship.

Happy friendiversary

In 2016, Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams (who played the Stark sisters, Sansa and Arya, on HBO’s Game of Thrones), revealed these matching tattoos done in Belfast by artist Kat Paine. Theirs is arguably one of the sweetest celebrity friendships of our time, and it seems they agree. The pair solidified their bond by tattooing the date they both landed their roles on the hit show—“07.08.09”—which catapulted both their acting careers and their friendship.

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

There’s something special about the bond of friends—people who love each other despite their differences, not because they have to or should, but because they want to. While this minimal tattoo by artist Scott Borkowski is actually worn by a couple, the story behind it symbolizes the beauty of any friendship. The design celebrates the differences between the two people wearing it by including pops of both of their favorite colors.

Diving into life together

Hand poked by New York’s Tea Leigh, co-owner of Welcome Home, this tattoo is deep. If you look at their design closely, you’ll see that the diver on the left is on her way into the water while the diver on the right has just submerged. The two divers are actually the same, mirroring the closeness of best friends.

My heart won’t go on

Remember the friendship necklaces you wore when you were younger? They came in packs of two and one necklace said “best” while the other said “friends”? These simple hand poked tattoos from Rosa Perr are reminiscent of those necklaces. One is incomplete without the other. The friends that wear this design are inseparable, and so are their tattoos.

Our friendship will never go extinct

This pair of friends love dinosaurs, so to commemorate their relationship they designed a tattoo that felt unique to them. Enter these cute, colorful tattoos by Wigan (England) based artist Gemma May. The dinosaurs’ bright hues and fun shapes reflect a similarly fun, colorful friendship.

For the love of love (and Marvel)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include my own friendship tattoo in this gallery. Tattooed by Yusun Kang, a Toronto-based artist who specializes in delicate, detailed designs, I ran the idea of getting this matching tattoo by my BFF Anne (it’s pronounced “Annie”) a couple of years ago and she was immediately on board. The meaning behind these hands is two-fold. They’re a nod to Spider-Man and also the American Sign Language symbol for love. The design represents our love for each other and our deep-rooted belief that even weirdos can do great things (hence the Spidey/Peter Parker reference).

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