We all need people in life that simply “get us”–people who make us feel comfortable, people who make us smile when it seems our entire world is falling apart. Good friends increase our sense of belonging and purpose, help us cope with life’s difficulties, reduce stress and boost happiness. Friendships are essential to well-being. Even the most independent and strongest people crumble under the weight of the world if they don’t have a good support system.
On life’s journey, it helps to have a diverse entourage that provides that crucial element to a meaningful, resilient life. From the genuine critic to the person you can call at 3 AM, to the friend who is more worried about your love life than you, below are the six types of friends who give us the support that we need.
A Brilliant Friend
The brilliant friend could easily compete on Jeopardy. This friend keeps you mentally stimulated and challenges you intellectually. The brilliant friend keeps you politically informed and introduces you to new words. They keep you on your toes and raise your IQ a little bit more every time you’re in their presence.
A Compassionate Friend
While it’s important to have a friend with a high IQ, it’s equally as important to have a friend with a high EQ. You can count on the compassionate friend for both sympathy and empathy. The compassionate friend has three magical things they are willing to offer you; a shoulder, an ear, and a hand. Sometimes you only need one, but during tough times you can count on the compassionate friend to lend all three.
An Honest Friend
The compassionate friend might be too sweet to tell you that your breath stinks. But an honest friend’s motto is “It is what it is.” An honest friend will not only tell you your breath stinks but will also mention that your blouse is hideous. Sometimes we need to hear the blunt truth. It’s better to face reality and fix it, then live in denial and walk around in a hideous blouse.
An Encouraging Friend
Everyone needs edification. Life kicks often and kicks hard, but the encouraging friend lessens the pain. They want to make others around them feel better with their words. If your last job interview or date ended with the person saying “Don’t call me, I’ll call you”, this supportive friend offers a motivational speech. This friend is the one who convinces us to climb off the ledge of the window and offers a hug once we are safely inside.
A Cloned Friend
The cloned friend is your mysterious twin – your doppelgänger. Spending time with a cloned friend is like looking in a mirror. You often view the cloned friend as your long lost sister or brother because they simply ‘get you.’ While having friends that are different helps us to expand our horizons and grow, it’s nice to have a friend who wears the same shoes.
An Old Friend
An old friend has watched you evolve and understands how you became the person you are today. They have seen more of your victories and failures than the other friends. You both can travel down memory lane and look forward to the new experiences that are yet to come. An old friend recognizes the journey you have taken and keeps you grounded in your identity. They remind you of all the things that make you smile.
Friends are the people who know everything about us, yet still love us. Author Sarah Dessen once said that “Life is an awful, ugly place to not have a best friend.” I agree with Dessen, but I also think that one good friend simply isn’t enough. You need a group of friends to create a circle that surrounds you with the advice, love, and truths that make life interesting and beautiful.
Kia Wakefield is a poetess, writer, essayist and certified life coach. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and son. Find out more at kiawakefield.com