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"girlfriends" and "boyfriends" are certainly things that people have, and I am happy for them. But the words themselves aren't gender-neutral. What if you want to leave someone's gender unspecified? 'girlfriend/boyfriend' sort of works, but it excludes people who are neither girl nor boy, requires you to put one gender or the other first and, well, it sounds awkward. This is English, not German, we don't need to suffix things with er/in! You could use 'significant other', but that's incredibly vague; 'significant other' doesn't just mean such {girl,boy}friends, but also spouses, civil partners, and so on.

So, what do we call these, to use Unix syntax, *friends?


*friends. Or, to use a cutesy pronunciation:


Neat, huh? This has many advantages:

And best of all, you can make it even cuter with emoji:


So what are you waiting for? Go out and spread the beauty of starfriends into the cosmos!