Matching bracelets are for fake friends! If your friendship is for real, get matching tattoos!
Here are some classic tattoo ideas you might have already thought of — and some unique ideas you definitely haven’t.
1. Each Other’s Names
Take your best friend's name home! There’s no better way to show your lifelong dedication to your friendship than getting their name stamped into your skin.
A bonus: If your best friend ever sidelines you, you can always add a choice adjective in front of their name, too ;)
2. Each Other’s Initials
Still going hard but not so hard.
Just a note: Initials are pretty common memorial tattoos. Our team personally knows someone who got their friends' initials tatted, and she’s had to explain that her friend is still alive and well each time someone asks what those letters mean.
3. Parts of a Phrase
Go halfsies. Your friend gets the first part and you get the second part of a favorite movie quote, song lyric, hilarious inside joke, poem stanza, celebrity meme quote… whatever thing you both could recite from heart. You’ll literally finish each other’s sentences.
4. Matching Phrase
Go fullsies. Don’t want to be left with just half a phrase? Can’t decide who gets what part? Fine, you both get both!
Matching placements? Could be. You could also incorporate your matching phrases into bigger tattoos that you both wanted to get anyway, aka your own big tattoo with a little piece of your friend included. This is a subtle way of getting matching tattoos while not being too obvious.
5. Matching Hearts
We love a classic. We also love a spin on a classic. Keep it simple and classy – get a couple of cute little matching hearts.
With this one, you can go for traditional-style hearts or some crazy abstract hearts. Maybe you get to help design one another’s? Mi corazón es tuyo, y tu corazón es mío.
6. Matching Daggers
Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a dagger in my eye. Or something like that. Swear on your skin that your friendship is thicker than thieves — and those daggers are warnings for all who cross ye’.
7. Sister Butterflies
Butterflies are beautiful and come in soooooo many shapes, colors, and patterns. Every butterfly is unique, so you can both design your butterfly so it reminds you of each other. True tests of trust and taste.
8. Birth Month Butterfly
Did you know there is a butterfly for each birth month and a meaning behind each butterfly? Check out your homie’s birth month butterfly. If it resonates, it could be good inspiration for a tattoo swap moment: They get yours, you get theirs.
9. Friendship Forearm Band
Here’s a concept that’s gotten pretty popular: friendship bands. Basically, it’s a simple line wrapping around the forearm like a bracelet. You both get the same color and placement.
The beauty of this one is that you can get as many as you like with whomever you like. You can mix it up and get the band on your leg, bicep, or even just on your pinky finger!
10. Horoscope Symbols
Crab? Scales? Lion? Bull? VIRGIN? Do you know your horoscope symbol? Does your best friend know theirs? Do you wanna swap and get each other’s tattooed? This could be a fun one if the symbol is something you guys can see in yourselves and each other! (Fair warning to all Tauruses about to be called bull-headed, as if it’s that first time that joke has been made.)
11. Celtic Birth Month Tree
Did you know the Celts have assigned a tree to every month? Each tree has a different disposition with names like “The Enchanter,” “The Thinker,” and “The Seeker.”
Trade trees with your bestie. Or maybe get both trees intertwined for some harmonious hippie vibes.
12. Birth Month Flowers
Every month also has a flower associated with it. If you and your bestie are looking for a more organic tattoo, think about getting each other’s birth month flower tattooed.
You could also get a bouquet of the two flowers or have them form a ring around your arm with their stems intertwined. Maybe the stems can even spell something out that’s meaningful to the both of you.
Roses are romantic, and so is a best friendship. It doesn’t have to be romantic-romantic for it to be romantic. ¿Comprende?
Anyway, you and your best friend could get little one-line tattoos of a rose or go big and get matching detailed roses with shading and the whole nine yards.
Either way, getting two flash sheet roses is a simple, fast, and cute way to get a matching tattoo that’s not too committed.
14. Favorite Food
Mmmm! You know those people with little pizza slices or avocado halves tattooed on them? If you share a favorite food, you and your best friend could be those people. Are you frozen yogurt freaks? Do you always meet at the local taco cart? Do you crave matching tattoos of your favorite bagel?
It’s something silly and cute to consider for a matching tattoo that’s not that deep. Or is it? Sorry, we didn’t mean to belittle your shared obsession for California rolls…
Go cute and pretty with some extraterrestrial sparkle. Your connection to your bestie is ethereal, and you’re pretty sure you’re from the same alien planet. Or maybe it’s because we’re all made of stardust. (For real, you and bestie are actually made from the same matter.)
Whatever your rationale, ink it! Throw some matching twinkles on. Old-school five-point stars are cool, and fine-line, glinty four-point stars are always super cute. The sparkle emoji is peaking right now, so why not bring that ✨touch of extra✨ to your skin, too?
16. Connecting Tattoos
Your other half has the other half of your tattoo. Maybe it’s the ol’ two cans connected by a string: half of the tattoo is on your arm, the other half on your bestie’s. When you two get together you press your arms side by side, and hey look! That’s who you were talking to! Adorable.
You can get really creative with this one. Pick any cool design and literally chop it in half. You can go for something that’s obvious even when you are by yourself (like half a heart) or something that no one would ever guess (some abstract geometrical creation that’s cool – but when you connect with your bestie, it’s mind-bending). Go wild!
17. Cartoon Character
Calvin and Hobbes? Snoopy? The Hormone Monster from Big Mouth? BoJack Horseman? Bart Simpson?
Maybe you get the same characters or you get the same character but they’re doing different things. Maybe your Bart is mooning and your friend's Bart is sticking his tongue out. Or your Bart is hanging on to a slack line while your friend’s is bailing a skateboard.
We will get cool matching tattoos.
We will get cool matching tattoos.
We will get cool matching tattoos.
18. Abstract Design
Symbols can be meaningful… like, too meaningful. That can make it hard to decide on a symbol to represent your friendship. So get something that doesn’t mean mierda. All it means is that you have dope-ass matching tattoos.
Figure out which artist you’ve both been obsessed with and check their flash out. Or bring some abstract inspiration and have them make a custom design for you two.
19. Abstract Designs That Intertwine
We’ve already mentioned getting intertwining tattoos but we’re really proud of ourselves for this original idea, so we’re going to say it again.
Have you ever seen one of those wild, this-comes-from-a-mushroom-trip tattoos? Maybe it's geometric, maybe it's wavy and wild. You can work with an artist to come up with a complex design that can be split in two.
When on its own it’s amazing, and when it’s joined up with your best friend’s half, it’s a portal. Or mindblowing, at least. We’re sure it’s out there, we’re sure it’s been done, but we haven’t seen it, and we’d like to!
20. Sun and Moon
Okay, back to the simple answers! Go with a classic sweetie: our beloved Sun and Moon!
Are you the sun to your bestie's moon? Or is it the other way around? Do you balance each other out? Light and dark? You see what we’re getting at here? Balance. (Awww.)
21. Yin and Yang
Speaking of balance… it wouldn’t be a tattoo list if we didn’t list good ol’ yin and yang. This tattoo has gotten a bad rap for being tattooed on everyone and their grandmother over the years, but this concept is still and forever fuego. Balance is one key to life, and we bet your best friend is one of your keys. If the yin-yang concept hits, we believe in your ability to get this tattooed in a fresh new way.
Did you and your bestie meet somewhere memorable? Did you live in some crazy college house together? Are you so happy your best friend was born you want to mark the location of the event on your body? Did you bury a treasure chest somewhere that you hope to dig up one day?
Regardless of the story, pick a spot that’s meaningful and find the exact coordinates for this geographical-slash-numerical idea.
23. Birth Dates
Thanks for being born, ILYSM! Mark the moment your best friend was brought to life and your cosmic fates began to intertwine (or continued from the past lives you know you know each other from).
The upside? This is also a great reminder for those who tend to have memory glitches on those super important dates. Never forget your best friend's birthday again! And if you do… that’s your problem, amigo.
Not an idea (but could be?). Just the end of this list. We hope we’ve helped you find an idea — or at least the start of your inspiration!
If nothing else, we hope we can encourage you to have a less painful experience. Check out our amazing prep, session, and aftercare products to make your tattoo experience as smooth as can be. If you and bestie are that tight, you can even go halfsies!
Butterfly Life Cycle | The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Find Out What Your Birth Month Butterfly Reveals About You | Understanding Compassion
What Is Your Birth Tree? | The Gifted Tree
Birthday Flowers of the Month | National Garden Clubs, Inc.