In a study made popular by morning shows and Internet news, new studies suggest there are six types of friends everyone should have. I first saw it on the TodayShow, and since I’ve been researching friendship, naturally I was interested.
According to some experts, every group of friends needs a set of classic friend stereotypes. “It’s important to have diversity and to be able to look for support from a variety of sources,” says clinical and coaching psychologist, Dr. Suzy Green. “They also help us to keep broader perspective on life.”
Domonique Bertolucci, life coach and author of The Happiness Code, agrees. “You need different types of friends in the same way that you need food from different food groups. Different types of friends serve different purposes and nourish and enrich our lives in different ways.”
The Herald Sun outlined these types as seen below:
THE FRIEND WHO’S COOLER THAN YOU The world changes quickly and some people are just that little bit better at keeping up with what’s hip than we are. Like those friends who know that NO ONE EVER says “hip” any more, for instance. We like to be around these people, because they’re a beacon of cool. Cool things just flock to them. These are the people who help you to open your eyes, have a flow-on effect for introducing you to other cool people and help to unstick yourself from the rut that’s all too easy to get bogged in. “These people enrich your life by exposing you to things that may have otherwise have passed you by,” says Bertolucci.
(Read: the one who wore skinny jeans first)
THE FRIEND WHO IS UP FOR ANYTHING People are busy, we get it. But there’s nothing more frustrating than having to reschedule your re-re-re-scheduled catch-up. Everyone needs a friend who you can call at the drop of a hat. A friend who says “hell yeah, I’m up for that”. That’s why it’s good to have a mate who you don’t need to issue a 28-day notice to just to meet for a frappuccino. It’s refreshing (the friend, that is, not necessarily the frappuccino.) “This friend is the flexible, no frills friend who makes your life a breeze. Nothing is ever too hard and they’re open to doing new things and changing plans at short notice,” says Dr. Green. While Bertolucci agrees, “Their enthusiasm is contagious and you always have more fun when they are around.”
(Read: the one on your speed dial)
THE FRIEND WHO YOU ASPIRE TO BE Oprah Winfrey once said: “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher”. And we all need to live life a little bit closer to Oprah. These people challenge you to be the best version of yourself. The only downside is that sometimes they can be infuriating and inspiring in equal measure. Dr. Green’s advice: “This friend is only an important role model if they behave in ways that are authentic and genuine. They will see the best in you and give you important feedback on both your strengths and weaknesses.”
(Read: the one you don’t watch The Bachelor with)
THE FRIEND WHO DOESN’T KNOW ANY OF YOUR OTHER FRIENDS We like integration. We like killing two birds with one stone by catching up with several groups of friends at once. But there are times when you need to make an S.O.S call to a friend who is completely uninvolved and removed from a situation who can offer objective advice so it a bonus that your friendship exists without orbiting around your other ones. “There is a level of privacy to this friendship that doesn’t exist in friendship circles,” says Bertolucci. “It will be easier to share some of your hopes and dreams, fears and concerns knowing that they are not going to be discussed when you’re not around.”
(Read: the one you do watch The Bachelor with)
THE FRIEND WHO’S PAINFULLY HONEST
An honest friend will not always tell you what you want to hear, but they’ll certainly tell you what you need to know like if he/she is really that into you. When you’ve got a crisis on your hands or need to make a quick decision they are your go-to. They’re also there to keep you away from mixing paisleys and stripes. This type of friend has the strength of “feedback” and “is a pearl who will tell it to you straight when others won’t or will sugarcoat things at the very least,” says Dr. Green. But she warns that this friend is someone who does it with good intentions and for your own benefit.
(Read: the one you fight with)
THE FRIEND YOU’VE KNOWN LONGER THAN YOU’VE KNOWN YOURSELF History. Sometimes it works to your advantage, other times it doesn’t. This is that friend who sees you out of the context of your job, your relationship, your other friends and your life as it is now. This is the friend who knew you when you had pimples and a bowl cut. There is something special about this person because they feel like home. It’s nice and comforting to be around someone who has known you forever. “This is a friend you never have to put on a brave face for,” says Bertolucci. “They know you better than you know yourself and accept you unconditionally.”
(Read: the one who knows)
I found the whole thing fascinating, and I agree–most of these categories are helpful and even important (the friend who is up for anything), but I have some other categorizes to add. For example, the friend who will binge eat brownies with you or the friend who always paints your nails even though you never reciprocate because you hate painting nails. The friend who doesn’t judge when you instagram breakfast from across the table. The friend you can shop with, watch 90s sitcoms with, a friend who remembers Blossom. The friend who cries at the same music, laughs at the same commercials, who texts you at 3AM because they forgot to tell you they saw Karen Walters in the dairy aisle and it’s true what they say about girls who peak in high school. The friend who knows how you like your eggs and orders a water for you while you’re in the bathroom. The friend who was there when you were not yourself, but loved you anyway. The friend you call just to say, “this really is the worst.”
Without these friends, I don’t know where I’d be.
What do you think? Is this important? Do you have these six types of friends? A friend who is all of these combined?
Writing about friends is tricky. Not only could they read what you write and not like it, but friends and the idea of friendship is constantly changing. Words I write today might not be true three months from now because nothing in friendship is 100% certain. You can have a best friend for 50 years and it could all change in a minute. That is simply the nature of human relationship, it’s a fragile thing.
I tend to compartmentalize my friends, sorting them into categories like different pairs of socks; ones I meet for coffee, ones I talk to about my marriage, ones I pee in front of… The problem is that friendship can’t be put into a box. Every relationship is prone to change, and more often than not–they do.
Despite all of this, I have been drafting an essay on friends and friendship over the past few months and I feel stuck on the idea of a “best friend.” Anything with the word “best” in front of it worries me. There is so much pressure. If you give me a piece of the “best chocolate cake,” I will inevitably think it’s not. Having a best of anything is also risky. It means if you lose it, all you have left is second best, or worse–average.
I have had a few best friends over the years, but anymore I just try to love and be loved in all its various forms. It just makes the most sense. I am excited to talk about the women I love in my life, but for now, I need your help. Do you have a best friend? Best friends? Has it changed? What makes a best friend?
In some ways I envy you. I envy your big round belly, constant admirers, and excuse to eat ice cream for breakfast. I envy your time, your naps, your organized nursery and neatly folded baby clothes. I envy your ignorance; your wonderful, pregnant, pre-baby ignorance.
I don’t envy your birth, or more accurately your post-birth. Sorry about all that. I’m sorry because everyone says “the pain is worth it,” but fails to acknowledge how you shit glass for weeks afterward. I’m not sure why no one tells you this. Someone should tell you so you don’t call your doctor in a panic and say something ridiculous like, “I don’t think my anus is in the right spot.”
Of course the baby does help improve morale. When I think about you seeing your son or daughter for the first time, my heart breaks a little because that’s a moment you can never take back. That moment sticks with you for the rest of your life, hovering in the back of your brain, reminding you what perfect means. It’s a feeling of pure joy and absolute terror. You won’t know what to do with it, but you’ll accept it without thinking because that’s what moms do. They enter into survival mode the second the baby is born, because otherwise they will most certainly die.
You are probably wondering about birth and contractions. I know it’s incredibly frustrating not to know what to expect. Have you ever had your arm fat pinched? It’s like that but in your uterus.
Once the baby is on the scene, you can be sure of a few things:
1) Your body will never be the same.
2) Your sleep will never be the same.
3) Your marriage will never be the same.
You can also rest assured that the big belly you’ve been carrying around will still be there, but no longer be acknowledged as “cute.” In fact, it’s kind of horrifying. Remember flubber? It’s like that but with stretch marks. Avoid mirrors.
Now it’s time to come home! The hospital was nice because the nurses did everything short of breathing for you. You didn’t even have to change baby’s diaper. How convenient!
Don’t be alarmed if on the car ride home, you have a minor panic attack. I remember feeling that it was very bright outside and suppressing the urge to sob. This is all very normal. Your body just went through World War III and now you have to keep a small, defenseless human alive on top of it. Terrifying.
Once you get home, you will probably want to sleep. You may be thinking, didn’t I just spend three days sleeping in the hospital? The answer to that question is a solid no.
A word on breastfeeding: it may come easily, it may not. What I can promise you is that it will get better and it’s okay to ask for help. Despite rumors that it is “the most natural thing on earth,” breastfeeding can actually be pretty tricky. If you end up giving your baby a little formula to get some relief, you will not go to Mommy hell.
Things people will say to you that may or may not make you want to cut them:
It’s such a magical time, isn’t it?
Don’t you just love being a mommy?
Breastfeeding is such a bonding experience, don’t you think?
Just ignore them.
Treasure those who bring you meals and take out trash and quietly clean up your house. Make a note of the ones who say “this is hard” because they are the ones you call at 2AM when the kid still won’t latch. Honor them later, take advantage of them now.
I will pray for you.
I will pray for your sleep, your sanity, and your patience. I will pray for your expanding mom heart.
Most importantly, I will pray for your first, post-labor poo.