We all have different groups of friends, but it turns out there's really only 5 types of friends. So every friend you have, falls into 1 of 5 categories according to Today.
Here are the types of friends:
Close friends are people you’ve known for many years who have been with you through ups and downs. Though there may be periods where you’re not in touch, you can pick up right where you left off at any point and can always call them when you’re in need. According to Dr. Anjali Ferguson, a clinical psychologist based in Virginia, close friendships are most essential for mental health. In these relationships, judgments and social desirability are less important, and an individual can be their most authentic form,” she explained. “These relationships challenge us and support us simultaneously while helping us grow through validation and safety.”
There may be some overlap between close friends and lifelong friends. Napolitano said that lifelong friends have the benefit of knowing you when you were still growing and developing as a person. “Also sometimes called ‘family friends,’ these people have known you and your family since childhood,” she said. Napolitano described these friends as knowing all the distinctive ways you were raised, who also understand your parents and siblings well. “While you might not speak to these friends regularly, there’s a depth of understanding that helps us to feel steady and secure in our friendship with them,” she added.
Ferguson said lifelong friendships become even more important as we age because our social circles become smaller. “In these friendships, individuals may experience a multitude of life changes and stressors, so these supports can become paramount for navigating stressful life events.”
Friends of convenience
Friendships built on proximity, such as friends we make through a hobby or interest or those who live in our neighborhood, are considered friendships of convenience. You may see these friends more often than your close friends due to proximity and shared interests, such as trying a new restaurant in the neighborhood or attending a local concert. Though these friendships may not last throughout our lifetime, Ferguson said they still play an important role in our happiness and well-being. “They can offer a sense of belonging or support during a period of adjustment or transition (which can be a much-needed stress reducer),” she said.
“I don’t think any of us realized the emotional support that we received from our work friends until we were banished into remote work environments,” said Napolitano. Though you may lose touch after one or both of you move on to a new company, work friends who understand the struggles you’re facing and can validate your feelings offer a kind of support that no other friend can. “Work friends keep our spirits up, validate our complaints about our job or industry, and provide much-needed predictability in our work lives,” Napolitano said.
As we move through different phases of life, it’s important to be supported by others who are experiencing the same struggles simultaneously. “Whether you’re prepping for the SAT, pregnant with your first child or getting divorced, we need friends who can support us and inspire us as they navigate the same challenges,” said Napolitano. “We learn from their mistakes and successes, and we feel that this kind of friend is uniquely invested in helping us navigate this chapter of life.”