Vanilla Friends – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a phrase to describe your boring and unexciting friends? You could call them your “vanilla friends” to accentuate their uninteresting behavior and demeanor. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The expression “vanilla friends” means people in your social circle that live uneventful lives. They don’t value excitement and never place themselves in situations where they may encounter danger. They are people that don’t see a point in “living on the edge.”

Vanilla friends isn’t a derogatory term. It’s not the same as calling someone a “Fairweather friend.” They are friends that don’t have much going on for them excitement-wise, and they prefer activities that don’t get their adrenaline flowing.

A vanilla friend can refer to a single person or a couple. It’s common for couples to feel that they have vanilla friends when they get bored with their relationship. A vanilla couple never goes anywhere or does anything exciting. They live a boring lifestyle and do the same thing day in and day out, but they enjoy life like this.

Example Usage

“I’d love to come to the mountains this weekend, but it's Jerry’s birthday. Those guys are my vanilla friends, and I’ll never get them to agree to that.”

“I have vanilla friends. They’re all fine with meeting at the coffee shop for a latte and browsing the storefronts on Beverley Hills. It’s just that they never do anything exciting or risky, and I find them boring.”

“We all have those vanilla friends that would choke at the thought of going bungee jumping or doing something risky.”

“There’s nothing wrong with my vanilla friends. They’re kind, sensitive, caring people. So what if they never do anything exciting?”

“Vanilla friends are everywhere these days; it’s like the fluoride in the water is making everyone relaxed or something. Nobody wants to do anything cool anymore.”

“Are you kidding me? All I have are Vanilla friends. I’d love to get out and do something exciting for a change this weekend.”

“Our vanilla friends are fine, honey, but I feel like we need to find people that know how to have a bit more fun in life.”

“Everyone needs a few vanilla friends in their life to balance out the crazies. If we just did extreme stuff all the time and partied, we’d probably end up in a looney bin.”


Language experts are unsure about the origin of the term “vanilla friends.” The earliest reference to the expression comes from an entry in the Urban Dictionary in 2003. It describes vanilla friends as “boring, normal, conventional, and unexciting.”

It’s thought that the term comes from “vanilla ice cream,” which is a bland flavor compared to many other flavor assortments. Vanilla friends started appearing in memes on 4-Chan and Reddit in 2008, and you can find plenty of them on different discussion boards.

Phrases Similar to Vanilla Friends

  • Fair weather friend.
  • Plastic people.

Phrases Opposite to Vanilla Friends

  • True blue.
  • Living on the edge.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Vanilla friend(s).

Ways People May Say Vanilla Friends Incorrectly

Some people may confuse this expression with “fair-weather friend.” A fair-weather friend is only there for you when convenient for them. They are usually sociopathic people incapable of experiencing real empathy for others.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Vanilla Friends

You can use the expression “vanilla friends” to describe boring friends who don’t do anything exciting. They are fine with being mediocre and average, and they don’t ever invite you to do anything exciting. If you had to call them up and ask them to go sky diving, they would tell you that they would rather chill at the coffee shop and sip on a latte.

You can use the expression when referring to individuals or couples. Being vanilla means that you don’t have anything special about you or any standout characteristics. You wouldn’t call your vanilla friends this to their face, as it would cause them to feel disrespected.

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