11 Types Of Friends Everyone Needs
We are meant for community, not isolation. Nurturing friendships that you can count on boosts your mental health, gives you a safe place on bad days, and makes life way more fun. Whether you’ve become better friends with your siblings through adulthood, you still keep in touch with your childhood bestie, or you’re looking for new friends after a move, there are a variety of friendships that make the world a better place.
We talked to Laura Tremaine, author of The Life Council: 10 Friends Every Woman Needs, about the different types of friends (AKA, the “life council” in question) that you can surround yourself with in 2023 and beyond. Keep reading to find out how each friend can help you — and how you can offer these kinds of friendships to others.
The 10 Kinds Of Friendships We All Need
- A Daily Duty Friend: Someone who’s a part of your regular, everyday life.
- The Old Friend: A friend who has seen you through at least one stage into another.
- A Business Bestie: This is a friend you feel comfortable spending your lunch break with, or as a sounding board for your workplace frustrations.
- The Fellow Obsessive: Someone who is obsessed with your favorite pop culture titles or hobbies.
- The Battle Buddy: This friend that has walked with you through a difficult season.
- Yes Friends: Someone flexible and fun who’s willing to go on spontaneous adventures.
- The Mentor: A trustworthy person from whom you seek advice and guidance.
- The Password Protector: Consider this friend like an emergency contact. They’re someone who has access to your keys and important info.
- The New Friend: Someone you’re still getting to know, but you feel like the relationship has lots of promise.
- The Soul Sister: A friend who has a place in your life forever.
- The Empty Chair: A space reserved for a friendship you’re hoping to heal, or as a placeholder for future relationships.
Image via @jesskoehlerphoto
B+C: Walk us through these friendships. What does each relationship look like?
LT: Daily Duty Friends carry a lot of weight in our overall relationship structures, but it doesn’t seem like such a heavylift because it’s amortized over the daily-ness of it all.
The value of an Old Friend is having someone who knew you before you became the you that you are now, while a Business Bestie is someone you can talk shop with, someone you can vent to about the boss, someone who will join you for a much-needed lunch break.
The Fellow Obsessive is someone who shares the same passions with you about TV shows, a video game, a hobby, an Instagram account, celebrity gossip, cooking, a podcast, a sports team—whatever or whomever we’re obsessed with at any given moment. When we’re alone with that obsession, we might feel a little silly, yet when we find a Fellow Obsessive, we feel justified in how much we care about it.
The Battle Buddy is someone who has a shared difficult experience, one you soldiered through together. It might be a personal journey—going through cancer treatments at the same time, for example—or it might be an adventure you were on together, such as being a part of the same rigorous degree program. Having a buddy while you go through something hard is what makes the battle bearable.
Yes Friends are the ones most likely to pick up the phone, willing to grab a quick drink, and flexible when the plan changes. Their enthusiasm is contagious, and their energy can change the world.
The Mentor is someone who can guide and advise and keep tabs on us in real time. I can’t overstate the importance of the women who have directed me on my path in some way, even in an unofficial capacity.
The Password Protector is one of the Life Council members you may think you don’t need, but I assure you, you do. In an analog world, the Password Protector has the key to your home, or your car, or your safe deposit box. It takes a certain type of personality and a closeness you can trust.
The New Friend takes the most effort of all the seats on the Life Council. Even if a fresh friendship feels easy, you’re still constantly learning about one another and figuring out communication styles. It can be exhilarating, and it can also be exhausting.
The Soul Sister is the Supreme Court Justice of the Life Council. You meet one another on a soul level. It’s chemistry. It’s a knowing. The Soul Sister has the special distinction of being a combination of all of your most important friendships.
The Empty Chair is the space that is there for all of us, whether we like it or not. Your attitude concerning the Empty Chair matters. You can see it as a seat holding reverence for a relationship that meant something sacred to you, one you’re not quite ready to let go of, or you can see it as a seat waiting to be filled by someone important who has yet to arrive in your life.
Image via Kampus Production/Pexels
B+C: Making friends as an adult can be hard. How do you identify who should be in your inner circle?
LT: Here’s what often trips us up on the hunt for new friends: we start the search looking for a Best Friend Soul Mate. Our standards are incredibly high for adult relationships, and I get it. Especially if you’ve had a taste of what it feels like to have a Soul Sister, it becomes hard to settle for anything else. Accept that you are not friendship dating for friendship marriage. There are no vows. There is no “The One.” We don’t have to choose or be chosen. Friendship is so much more expansive than that.
We are looking for a variety of relationships in our lives—including identifying who is already there—and the fact that no two friendships will look exactly the same is a good thing. This is why we build a Life Council slowly over time. It helps us appreciate what each friend brings to our world and lets us strengthen the traits we bring to theirs. It takes the pressure off one person to be our everything.
B+C: Why are meaningful friendships an important part of life?
LT: Friendships were crucial to my overall happiness and well-being. One of the best parts of friendship is that we can be ourselves around one another, and if you give it enough time, we become the best possible version of ourselves because we’re seen and loved in the context of a fulfilling friendship.
B+C: How can these deep friendships benefit other areas of our lives?
LT: Our friendships feel personal and intimate to us, but all of our relationships are shaped in some way by the wider culture. If we want to turn the tide from an epidemic of loneliness, we have to pay attention to the broader topic of friendship in our communities and families.
B+C: How do you set boundaries in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling overwhelmed or isolated?
LT: Setting personal “boundaries” in our relationships is meant to protect our overall well-being and can be a good and necessary thing, but I have to wonder if we’ve boundaried ourselves all the way into loneliness. There is a tipping point where you can have so many boundaries around your time, your environment, and your interactions that you’ve constructed a world that keeps other people out instead of inviting them in.
Relationships are never perfect because people are flawed. In our friendships, we have to accept that there will be a certain amount of imperfections, including disagreements, misunderstandings, awkward moments, and flat-out mistakes. If you set the standards so high for your relationships that people are constantly disappointing you, you’ll probably struggle to connect.
Check out our Relationships page for more expert friendship advice and follow Laura on Instagram and Facebook, and check out 10 Things To Tell You’s Instagram as well.
Laura Tremaine is a Hollywood housewife. But she’s also a writer, avid reader, and enthusiastic podcaster. Laura grew up in a small town in southern Oklahoma and moved to Los Angeles sight unseen when she was 22. Years of film and production followed, and in 2007, she married the director she met on her first movie set. For six years, Laura wrote regularly at Hollywood Housewife, a blog that opened doors of friendship and opportunity all over the world. Eventually, she closed the blog and moved toward podcasting where she launched 10 Things To Tell You. She is the author of Share Your Stuff. I’ll Go First. (published February 2021), and her second book The Life Council: 10 Friends Every Woman Needs publishes April 2023. Laura lives in LA with her husband and two children.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
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B+C Editorial Assistant, Swiftie | Chloe is originally from the Outer Banks (yes, like the Netflix show!). When she isn't writing or updating her blog Pastels and Pop Culture, Chloe enjoys watching Marvel movies or texting her sister about the latest celebrity news. Say hi at @thechloewilliams on Insta and @popculturechlo on Twitter!