I struggled to make friends in high school. Part of it was my bookish, introverted nature. The larger part was that I assumed I only needed one friend. I bought into the BFF thing, believing that there was one person out there who could be my be-all and end-all in the friend department.
I was wrong.
There’s nothing wrong with having a friend or even a few who are closer to you than others. The inner-friend-circle, if you will. Even Jesus stuck closer to James and John than his other ten disciples.
The problem comes when we believe one friend should or even can be our only friend. Not only is that waaaaaay too much pressure to put on a friendship, but it means we will miss out on all the other awesome potential friends out there.
As I’ve hit my 30s I’ve discovered that I don’t just need a friend. None of us do. We need a whole host of them. A cadre. A village. You’ll never regret widening your friend circle to let another one in.
Especially these ten friends that every woman needs.
10. The Fun Friend
Somewhere between changing diapers and working on your 401k, you stopped being fun. The thought of pulling an all-nighter makes you cringe. Going to Vegas for a long weekend? Yeah, not happening (Because: diapers. Also because: 401k).
But there’s that friend who pulls you out of your routine and begs you to hit the water park or the margarita bar or the cheap flight to San Francisco just because. This is the friend who will still be rocking skinny jeans well into her 80s, the one who never met a shade of lipstick too bold.
She reminds you that fun is out there and that you’re more than the corporate drone, car pool mommy, or 30-something stick in the mud that adulthood has threatened to turn you into.
Sure, you may regret hitting that midnight showing of The Hunger Games (not to mention the giant box of Junior Mints and the large blue Icee!), but you’ll savor the memory and you should savor this friendship.
9. The “I-Got-Your-Back” Friend
When teacher appreciation week falls during your newborn’s six-week fussiness peak, your washer and oven are both broken, and your husband is on crutches with a tweaked knee, this was the friend who texts:
Hey – I’m at Target. Can I pick up teacher gifts for you?
Oh, my word. Yes. YES. A THOUSAND TIMES YES.
This is the friend who understands the hectic nature of your life because she’s in the trenches, too. She’s the one who wears sweatpants to the park to meet you so you won’t be the only one looking like an unmade bed. She’s the one who picks you up at the airport, who grabs you something from Starbucks, who holds your baby so you can go to the bathroom alone for once. She is gold.
8. The Soul Friend
This is the friend you go to with your deep questions. Your love of poetry. Your spiritual searching. She’s the one you ask for prayer, for counsel, for relationship and parenting advice that goes beyond surface-y questions.
You’d trust her to talk you out of a bad engagement, a poor vocational choice, a disastrous mortgage. She knows you deep down – your flaws and foibles, your regrets and mistakes – and she likes you anyway. She’s kind and honest. Whoa.
7. The Encouraging Friend
Everyone needs a cheerleader. This is the friend who tells you “You look great!” when you know you don’t but needed to hear it. She’s upbeat, but not in an annoying way. She’s Tigger – happy-go-lucky and there to count on when you’re feeling blue.
She’ll remind you of your successes and help you feel better about bumps in the road. She’s the one who remembers milestones and helps you celebrate. You’ll never go a birthday without a card and a phone call with this friend. And probably cake, too.
6. The Once-Every-Five-Years Friend
You love this friend, but you never seem to stay in touch. Until she comes to town, or you’re traveling for work and you end up in the same city once again. Then? Hijinx. Hilarity. Memories.
It’s like you’ve never been apart. You talk and laugh and catch up and it’s just like it was five years ago. When you part, you promise to keep in touch this time, though you both know you won’t.
Until five years later, when your paths cross again. Come to think of it, isn’t it just awesome to have a once-every-five-years friend? It’s all the goodness without any of the guilt or pressure.
See you in 2021, friend!
5. The Childhood Friend
She knew you when your mom still cut your bangs. She saw you through birthday party drama and soccer team tryouts, though acne and first crushes, through watching and rewatching and rewatching Newsies just to stare at Christian Bale.
She can’t make fun of you for dressing up like Belle and acting out the entire Beauty & the Beast movie because she played every other character. She remembers your kooky relatives, the crazy storm that hit your hometown, and how hard you both begged to be allowed to see *NSync at the arena without your parents.
Your lives have diverged, but you’ve been friends for decades and you always will be.
4. The Intergenerational Friend
She keeps you from getting mired in today’s problems, reminding you that infants aren’t spit-up fountains forever, or the long hours you’re putting in at the firm will pay dividends down the line. She’s weathered the tempest you’re in today and has the common sense to offer advice when you ask and support the rest of the time.
This friend brings wisdom beyond your years, perspective outside your horizon, and love that only additional decades on this earth can bring. You love her like a second mom. Perhaps she even is your mom.
3. The Wing-Woman
Want to try rock climbing? Join a scary workout class? Go back to school? This friend says, “Let’s do it!” She gives you the courage to venture things you wouldn’t on your own.
When you’re single, she helps introduce you to that guy–the cute one? With the hair? When kids come along, you sign up as room moms together. When the kids are grown, you travel as a pair. Everything’s better, more fun, and less scary with her by your side.
2. The Projects Friend
She won’t sit with you over a cup of coffee, but she will build your garage shelves. She’s a never-ending bundle of energy who loves doing. Want to start a garden? Rework your budget? Build a canoe from cedar strips? Give her a call and she’ll be right over with tools.
1. The Opposite Friend
She isn’t like you. Like, at all. She’s a Democrat and you’re a Republican. She’s a night owl and you’re an early bird. She’s all “Let’s watch a horror movie!” and you would never. You can’t quite figure her out, but she stretches you. Gives you a new perspective on things. Helps you hone your own opinions because hers diverge so much. There are times you’re tempted to walk away from this friendship because it’s so hard, but sometimes opposites really do attract, and you’re grateful for her as a sparring partner and a friend.
What types of friends can you never live without?