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When saying “I miss you” which of these is more frequently used? Do they have different nuances?

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    I think 会いたい is the best overall choice here. 愛しい (itoshii) is another similar word, though that is more literary and less likely to be used in conversation. – Locksleyu May 23 at 21:15
  • Can 寂しい be related to another person? Doesn't it only mean "lonely" in general? – Right leg Oct 20 at 15:14
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会いたい in the literal sense means 'I want to meet', it is something you would say to close friends or a partner. The meaning is closer to 'I miss you'. You probably would not want to say this if you wanted to meet friends that you see regularly to hang out together.

寂しい translates literally as 'lonely' although in this context can be understand as'I feel lonely', you might use this to emphasises your feelings more, if you are really missing someone close to you.

There is also 恋しい which is an adjective used for places or things but cannot be used for people.

Japanese Ammo has a helpful guide on how to say 'I miss you'.


Here are some example sentences:

私は彼女に会いたい

I want to meet her

私の[地元]{じもと}が恋しい

I miss my hometown

寂しくなる

I will be lonely

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Depends on the situation.

寂しい is to openly admit that you are also lonely.

We don't say such a thing as often as American people say 'I miss you'.

That's embarrassing.

  • i’m not sure i would say it’s embarrassing, hahaha – jacoballens May 23 at 21:15
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    @jacoballens To a Japanese person used to Japanese customs and the Japanese way of thinking and feeling about emotions, it's embarrassing. I'd be more careful about passing judgment that quickly on what people may say. – psosuna May 23 at 22:12
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    you’re right! i apologize and different countries have different views on expressing emotion. it’s not my place to give an opinion on it – jacoballens May 23 at 22:47
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寂しい just means lonely; you can miss some specific person without being lonely in general.

Often, the meaning of "I miss you" is expressed with 会いたい. It appears in songs quite a lot (君を会いたくて、会いたくて). But of course that is literally about wanting to get together, not about the feeling of that person lacking, which are not exactly the same.

The problem is that sometimes you want to meet someone without missing them and that is also covered by 会いたい. Maybe you want to meet someone famous, whom you've never met; in English you can't say that you miss that person.

There are more direct ways to say "I miss": the verbs 恋しがる (がる form of 恋しい), and 懐かしむ.

君を恋しがっているんだよ。

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