I'm aiming my question more at the native speakers, because I think there is an air of cultural subtlety to the phrase in question.

"J'ai envie d'être avec toi."

I know what the literal translation is, but is this something that would be said between friends, or does it imply some kind of deeper feelings? Is it dependent upon context?

If they have made plans, and one friend says "I know you're busy, so it's okay if you want to reschedule." And the other replies with the phrase in question.

  • I know what the literal translation is: So what is that literal translation?
    – jlliagre
    Aug 7, 2020 at 9:52
  • It's really quite similar to English "I want to be with you" or "I feel like being with you." That "being with" sounds like more than friendship, maybe because of the unwritten fact that "being with someone" with no particular thing you're doing implies savouring each other's company in a way that's typically uncomfortable for friends. Slightly more neutral would be "I want to spend time with you" (J'ai envie de passer du temps avec toi) and just friendly would be "Let's hang out" (On traîne ?) — my point being that the connotations are pretty much parallel across the two languages.
    – Luke Sawczak
    Aug 9, 2020 at 16:14
  • @LukeSawczak I feel like sounds better but I wouldn't translate j'ai envie by I want. There is a significant difference between j'ai envie and je veux.
    – jlliagre
    Aug 10, 2020 at 8:48
  • @jlliagre When it comes to emotional inclinations, I think "I want" has some shades that are closer to "j'ai envie" than "je veux" (e.g. I want you, j'ai envie de toi... Wanna try __? T'as envie de ___ ?), but the general point is taken.
    – Luke Sawczak
    Aug 10, 2020 at 13:17
  • @LukeSawczak J'ai envie de toi involves more a physical than an emotional inclination...
    – jlliagre
    Aug 18, 2020 at 9:09

3 Answers 3


In this context, J'ai envie d'être avec toi carries indeed a romantic connotation. It is not something a friend would say to another friend, unless they want to hint that they have some deeper feelings and that they would like to be a couple with their interlocutor.

Some more neutral answers (or at least, more adapted in a mere friend-to-friend conversation) would be:

J'ai envie qu'on se voie

Il faudrait qu'on se voie

Ça fait longtemps qu'on s'est plus vus.

  • I don't know about "J'ai envie qu'on se voie" ; it feels a bit too intense and ambivalent. You might expect to hear that from either someone who's romantically interested in you or one's boss after after a particularly poor performance streak. "Ça serait cool/sympa de se voir" would be my top candidate.
    – jwav
    Aug 9, 2020 at 20:45

L'expression « J'ai envie d'être avec toi » peut avoir certaines subtilités en fonction du contexte ou elle est exprimée.

Ça peut être une traduction littérale, simple volonté de présence. ...ou plus « profonde » (sous entendu) s'il y a un contexte « sentimental » par exemple, et dans ce cas, ça peut être considéré comme un « appel du pied » (expression française que l'on pourrait assimiler à un clin d'œil).

C'est vraiment le contexte et l'approche relationnelle entre les 2 personnes qui pourra déterminer le véritable sens.

Et encore, on n'en est pas forcement sûr et certain surtout si ça peut être ambigu

May have some subtleties depending on the context where is is expressed It can be a literal translation, a simple will to be there. ... or more "deep" * (implied) * if there is a "sentimental" context for example, and in this case, it can be considered as a "call of the foot" (French expression that could assimilated to a wink)

it is really the context and the relational approach between the 2 people which will be able to determine the true meaning. and again, it is not necessarily certain and certain especially if it can be ambiguous


No, "J'ai envie d'être avec toi" does not have any special connotation that its translation "I want to be with you" doesn't.

The meaning depends entirely on the context.

Examples of usage with zero romantic connotation:

(to a coworker) "J'ai envie d'être avec toi quand tu vas présenter notre rapport au patron."

(to a friend or family member) "Attends moi pour aller choisir les couleurs de la peinture. J'ai envie d'être avec toi."

  • 1
    J'ai envie d'être avec toi doesn't really translate to "I want to be with you" (Je veux être avec toi)
    – jlliagre
    Aug 7, 2020 at 10:00
  • 1
    Je trouve que vos exemples ne sonnent pas bien, c'est détonnant, je comprendrasi cette phrase d'un étranger ou d'un enfant. Dans le contexte de ces phrases, c'est "j'aimerais t'accompagner" qui me semble le plus adapté. Aug 7, 2020 at 11:44
  • There's no perfect translation, perhaps a more accurate translation to "J'ai envie d'être avec toi" would be "I would like to be with you"? How would you translate it?
    – Jonathan
    Aug 7, 2020 at 20:38
  • I want to be with you is not a literal translation of "j'ai envie d'être avec toi". That would be something like "I have desire to be with you". A literal translation is not necessarily accurate or even grammatical.
    – jlliagre
    Aug 9, 2020 at 8:34
  • Ok I removed the word "literal".
    – Jonathan
    Aug 9, 2020 at 8:41

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