Like the saying goes, "You can't choose your family." With family, the relationships are there whether you like them or not. But friendship is different. Your friends are people you select based on shared values, ideals, experiences, interests and beliefs. Your friends are your chosen family.
It's important to have friends who represent the different stages of your life and the paths that you've taken. It's important to surround yourself with friends who know the whole you; a work friend may not know the same you as a friend from college. When you maintain friendships from different stages of your life, you're able to express more of your real self.
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 your life in different ways.
Here are the six different types of friend you need for a full and rewarding life:
1. The friend who's up for anything.
This is the friend you want by your side for life's adventures. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and you always have more fun when she's around.
2. The friend who's just a little bit cooler than you.
This friend encourages you to step outside of your comfort zone and opens your eyes to things you might not normally see. She enriched your life by exposing you to things that may have otherwise passed you by.
3. The friend you aspire to emulate.
This friend is inspirational as well as aspirational. When you're with her, you feel like you are a better person. You admire her and she encourages you to be the best you can be.
4. The friend who doesn't know any of your other friends.
There's a level of privacy to this friendship that doesn't exist within friendship circles. It will be easier to share some of your hopes and dreams, fears and concerns knowing that they're not going to be discussed when you're not around.
5. The friend who's painfully honest.
This friend will never lie to you and never let you get away with lying to yourself. Her open and honest perspective, delivered in a kind and supportive way, will help you to be more honest with yourself.
6. The friend you've known longer than you've known yourself.
This is a friend you never have to put on a brave face for. She knows you better than you know yourself, and accepts you unconditionally.
Then there are the three types of friend you can definitely do without:
1. The friend who wants you to be her parent.
While it's normal to cry on each other's shoulder, with this friend it's all one way. She's always bringing her problems to you and expecting you to solve them, but when things are tough for you, she's nowhere to be found.
2. The friend who always lets you down.
When you're together, this friend acts like you're her best friend. She's always making plans and promising to keep in touch, but she never keeps her word. As soon as you're out of sight, it's as if she's forgotten you even exist.
3. The friend who always needs to be better than you.
It's only human to be envious every now and then, but while a true friend will always be happy for you — whether it's your career, your relationship, your wardrobe or your weight — this friend will only be happy when she's proved that she's better than you.