While romantic relationships get all the attention, strong friendships are just as, if not more, important. From keeping us company to being there for us to making us laugh until we cry, our pals ensure that we stay sane, regardless of what’s going on in our lives. While it’s awesome to have a solid crew of like-minded besties, you might consider forming bonds with different kinds of friends who can enrich your life in new ways. “All of us need certain types of friends in our lives to help us keep our balance,” says master certified coach Erica McCurdy. “These friends may be the ones we see every day or may be ones that we only need to lean on every now and then.” Here are seven types of friends that can be good to have around.
1. The Friend You Don’t Have to Fake It With
The ability to be authentic around at least one person will provide you with the outlet you need to get through any of life’s challenges. “Your soul people are the ones who just get you,” says life and career coach Kelsey Murphy. “Make some more time and room for those who make you feel like less of a misfit and more part of something that feels really close to home.” This person is someone you can be totally real with, McCurdy adds, even when it comes to talking about your family — which is key if you can’t confide in anyone within your immediate gene pool. “When that crazy gets just a little too crazy to handle all by yourself, you need a friend who already knows all the backstory and is willing to let you unload all your frustration so you can safely navigate whatever is unfolding in your life,” she says.
2. The Trusted Adviser
We could all use a mentor to guide us toward our dream careers — or even to just listen when we need it. “Everyone needs a friend with whom you can safely discuss your fears and insecurities about your work,” McCurdy says. “Your trusted adviser is someone who, ideally, has had a breadth of experience you can lean into.” She explains that this friendship is important because, unlike with a co-worker, you can talk openly about your worries in a safe environment and none of it will come back to bite you. As for finding this person, Murphy says to be patient. “You may have to have 20 coffee dates before you find the right fit, but there is someone out there who is waiting to spill all his advice on someone just like you,” she says.
3. The Pal Who Gets You Out of the House
We all have those times when we just want to isolate ourselves and recharge with snacks and Netflix. But when we start to seclude ourselves in less-than-healthy ways, this friend is the one who forces us to get out of the house and do something — anything. “Even though we may groan and gripe about having to take a shower and get dressed, deep down we are thankful that this friend is the one who pushes himself or herself in and makes us go out with them,” McCurdy says. “At the end of the day, you will almost always end up having a good time.”
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4. The Healthy-Habit Buddy
Whether you’re committing to a new workout regimen for your resolution or just need a little extra incentive to get moving, having a friend who’s along for the ride can be motivating. “Even when you have headphones on, just looking over at a friendly face makes the time go by a little faster,” McCurdy says. “On those days when you just don’t feel like making it to the gym, the thought of leaving a friend hanging might just be enough to get you into your sneakers and out the door.” Start building a network of friends who like to do the kinds of exercise you enjoy doing. This will ensure that you always have someone with whom you can make a date.
5. The Cheerleader
“We all need the friend we can call to celebrate our ‘wins,’” McCurdy says. “She is the one you can call to say, ‘I just needed to share how excited I am,’ and know that she will be excited for you too.” Having someone to call in your moments of triumph can empower and inspire you — especially if you’re the type who typically downplays your success. On the flip side, this person is also someone you can call when you need a pick-me-up. “This friend is the one who always has your back, even when you fall flat on your face,” she says. “She never makes you feel bad about failure and is quick to tell you she is proud of you.”
6. The Just-for-You Friend
Perhaps you’ve developed some new hobbies over the years, such as studying Italian culture, investing in the stock market or rock climbing. And while you can still chat about it with your old friends, that doesn’t always do the trick. “You need a new friend, who is only your friend, outside of your current crew; someone that you can be a new person with,” Murphy says. “You can be more adventurous, test new waters. With new friends you get to create a new you — perhaps the one that’s been clamoring to come out.” McCurdy adds that this friend will be the one you can call when you want to check out a local activity that none of your current friends would want to go. He or she will be able to share your enthusiasm.
7. The Sage Spiritualist
Whether we lean toward an organized religion or a more general sense of otherworldliness, we all can use friends with whom we can explore our spirituality. “We tend to be at our most vulnerable when we ‘go deep’ into our spiritual philosophies,” McCurdy says. “This friendship pushes us to keep us thinking about our personal beliefs — something we should always be assessing, evolving and developing.” Together, you two can explore life’s big questions about love, purpose and creation without having to worry about being judged or getting into arguments. You can also challenge each other to understand what you truly believe and why.
What Do YOU Think?
Are you missing any of these friendships? Do you think it’s important to have different kinds of friendships, or are you content to keep your circle tight? Describe one of your best friends and the role he or she plays in your life. What kind of friend are you?