Honestly, I have lived in France for a good while now and have never heard anyone in France add 'petite' to 'copine' - let alone say 'petite amie'. 'Copine' for girlfriend and 'copain' for boyfriend seems to be de rigueur over here. The only times I ever hear 'petit(e) copine/copain' or 'petit(e) ami(e)' uttered it tends to be from Americans who just got off the boat.
Thank you, I was wondering about that because my French teacher taught us copine/copain and i couldn't remember petit having anything to do with it....so the duo version sounded a bit disparaging to me TBH. "Do you want to be my little girlfriend?" Makes me think booty call/side girl
It's very common to say 'ami(e)s' (friends) or 'potes' (French for 'mates' / 'buddies'). This is totally unambiguous as 'mon ami' is never used to say 'my boyfriend' (unless you add 'petit' and say 'mon PETIT ami', which is the kind of thing they teach you at school but which real French people never actually say).
In any case, normally the plural 'mes copains/copines' would mean 'my friends', while using the singular 'ma copine' and 'mon copain' would mean 'my girlfriend' and 'my boyfriend' respectively.
So: 'je vais prendre un verre avec ma copine ce soir' = I'm going for a drink with my girlfriend this evening. BUT 'Je vais prendre un verre avec mon amie ce soir' = I'm going for a drink with my (female) friend this evening.
AND if you want to make it even clearer that this 'ami(e)' is "just a friend" (and make the gender of the person clear in spoken French), you use the indefinite article 'un(e)'. So 'je vais prendre un verre avec une amie ce soir' = I'm going for a drink with a friend tonight. The phrases 'c'est un(e) ami(e)' and 'c'est un(e) pote' are frequently uttered by French people trying to reassure their significant other that the person they're meeting up for a coffee with is not competition ;)
I stand corrected by a friend - just had this discussion with a flatmate and he said that he has heard some French people saying 'mon ami(e)' (note the use of the possessive) to mean 'my boyfriend/girlfriend'.
The French will often say 'c'est un(e) ami(e) à moi' or 'c'est un(e) copain/copine à moi' when they don't want to say that the person is their boyfriend or girlfriend. So the possessive 'mon/ma' often says a lot. The most common word for boyfriend/girlfriend that I have heard, in any case, is 'copain'/'copine'. Hope that helps!
Thank you! This has really puzzled me as I have learned ami(e)=friend (old, formal), petit(e) ami(e)=boyfriend/girlfriend (old, formal), copain/copine=friend (informal/familiar) and petit(e) copain/copine boyfriend/girlfriend (informal/familiar).
Later on have I encountered mon pote=my buddy (male), mon copain=my boyfriend, ma copine=my girlfriend and then wondered how you differ between copain/copine=friend and copain/copine=boyfriend/girlfriend!