The 7 Types of Friends Everyone Needs in Their Life

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Friends are unquestionably a Good Thing. Friends are the spices in the recipe, the twigs on the tree of life, the Harry Winston accessories on the evening gown that is You – but of course they’re not all the same. Whether you have a wide social circle or you prefer to keep just a select few close to you, here are 7 types of friends you should try to keep handy:

The-OddballEugenio Marongiu / Shutterstock

The Oddball

Every social group, no matter the size, has a “crazy one.” This is the person whose life is like a soap opera, with adventures and crises and drama that you can only stand by and helplessly watch. The Oddball is entertaining and always good for a night out, but he also reminds you to be glad for how relatively stable your own life is.

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The Guide

The polar opposite of the Oddball, the Guide is the one who has got everything figured out. She’s wise, knowledgeable, steady, and is always ready to give you advice when you ask for it, and straight talk when you need it. Sometimes you may resent the Guide for interfering, but she’s usually right.

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The Confidant

When you’re alone and awake at four in the morning, and you have something that you desperately need to get off of your chest, who do you call? Your Confidant, that’s who. Your Confidant will never betray your secrets, will never be angry that you woke him up to complain about how you can’t sleep, and is always on your side. Ideally, you’re his confidant too, so you both benefit from Free Friend Therapy. These heart-to-hearts can be exhausting, so you may not want to get so intense all the time, but confessions are cathartic, so hopefully you won’t have to.

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The Fan

The Fan’s favorite football team (or band, or hobby, or social cause) is also yours. You go to events together and you talk about your similar interests, because no one gets your passion for whatever-it-is the way the Fan does. You know nothing about each others’ private lives, and that’s how you both want it – you have more important things to talk about, namely: what the heck was that coach thinking last night?

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The Challenger

The Challenger disagrees with you on almost everything, and you love it. She keeps you from becoming too rigid in your thinking, making you re-assess your opinions on everything from politics to pulled pork. Your brain gets a workout each time you meet up, because the fun of the Challenger is giving as good as you get. A day with her leaves you energized, creative, eager for adventure, and ambitious to try to keep it – and it’s good for you.

The-AllyLucky Business / Shutterstock
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The Ally

When you need to connect with someone who is going through the same thing you are, it’s you and the Ally against the world. When your boss makes you stay late at work, you and the Ally can complain to each other. When your kid’s music recital is starting to hurt your ears, you and the Ally can wince together, because you both know that you love your kids, but you also both know that the clarinet was definitely the wrong choice of instrument.

The unspoken understanding is that you both can complain as much as you want without being judged for it, because misery loves company. You might never see her outside of your one shared sphere, but you’re thick as thieves within it.

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The Old Shoe

Either you’ve know the Old Shoe your whole life, or it just feels like you have. No matter how much time passes, you always fall back into your same patterns, knowing that the comfort of the Old Shoe will always be there and will fit just right.

Now, you might have more than one of each type, and you might have several types combined in the same person – it’s the variety that matters. (For any lone wolves out there – some of these friends can be pets, or plants, or books, or internet messageboards.) Take a moment every once in a while to be grateful. Your friends are there to keep you sane, strong, healthy – and to help you live the richest, most fulfilled life you can.