My mom used to tell me that I needed different types of friends to fulfill different needs, and it hasn’t been until recently that I fully understood what she meant.
Growing up we tend to gravitate towards people who are similar to us. However, as we reach the cusp of young adulthood, our lives have changed and taken many different turns, and we drift away from those people. It’s a sad experience, but it happens often, and we need to start looking at it as an opportunity to fill that space with new friendships.
Throughout my short life of 30 years I’ve had a handful of friends. Some I still contact; others I don’t. Not necessarily because we don’t get along anymore, but because we’re at different places in our lives and our common interests have changed, and that’s OK, because the people that I need are still there. These are the 5 general types of friends that I believe stand the test of time.
THE CHILDHOOD FRIEND
This is the friendship that has literally stood the test of time. E and I have been friends since we were in the womb. Our moms met each other through work when they were both pregnant. Needless to say, we’ve spent almost every birthday and holiday together for nearly our entire lives. There have been years that have passed and we’ve only spoken a few times, but every time we get together it’s like picking up where we left off. As an only child, E is the closest thing to a sister that I’ve ever had and that will never change.
WHY YOU NEED THEM
They know everything about you. They know your family history, your strengths and your flaws. They’ve watched you grow, and they remember who you were before you became the person you are today. Sometimes we don’t want to remember the person that we once were, but it’s important to remember where we came from, and this person won’t let you forget that.
M and I met in Kindergarten. My first memory of her was on the first day of school. We were sitting at our tables being told what this “school” business was all about. I remember M raising her hand from the back of the class. When it was her turn, she matter-of-factly informed the teacher that her glue had exploded. I thought it was odd that she used those choice of words, but I’ve since come to realize that even as an adult she has the unique ability to tell it like it is.
It wasn’t until Parent day that we actually spoke. Her mom invited me to play games with them (because my single mother was working). M and I were inseparable ever since. It was obvious to us that we were twins switched at birth. I mean, how many times in Kindergarden do you meet someone who is the same height, has the same light brown hair color with the same short, blunt haircut and brown eyes? (Never mind that 90% of the 5-year old population had the same haircut at that time (it must have been popular—or easy), and brown hair and brown eyes are dominant traits.) We were twins, and we capitalized on that when Lindsay Lohan came out with the Parent Trap. Oh, and we were the Olson twins. In case you were wondering; I was Ashley.
WHY YOU NEED THEM
I digress. The Twin is the friend that you can relate with the most. You probably have the most physical similarities, and probably a bunch of mental and emotional similarities as well. When you need someone to understand how you’re feeling or where you’re coming from, this person will understand.
Be careful, this may be the person that you argue with the most. You’d think that it would be the other way around, but humans tend to butt heads with people that they’re most alike. There’s truth to the saying, opposites attract.
J and K have kind of taken over the role as “the wiser one” because they have my best interests in mind and they’re not afraid to tell me when I’m making a mistake. I can talk to them about my problems and they give me advice based off of their own experiences. Of course when we get together it’s an atypical mother-daughter relationship because we definitely like to party, but these are the two who will be the first ones to voice their opinion; regardless of the outcome.
WHY YOU NEED THEM
We all make mistakes, and we need friends who aren’t afraid to tell us. These are the people who keep us on track when we fall off course.
Were you waiting for this one? We all need that friend who is going to push us to do and try things that we haven’t done before. I met N two years ago and since then we’ve gone snow tubing, ice skating, tried spray tanning, gotten drunk tubing down the river, danced front and center of the DJ while watching 4th of July fireworks and hosted too many holiday parties and game nights to count. We always have fun, and she always has great ideas of new things to try.
WHY YOU NEED THEM
Whether it’s trying a new restaurant or zip lining, this friend always has something up their sleeve. They say that good things happen naturally when you’re with the right people and having fun.
THE WORKOUT BUDDY
B and I reconnected after my mom passed away. We were best friends in school for many years; until we grew apart the last year or so of high school. She was the adventurer friend for me back in the day because her family was always taking me with them on trips. Wisconsin Dells, North Dakota, South Dakota, Florida, camping… I’m so grateful to have had her family back then.
When my mom and I went through our legal battle, I lived with B’s family. My dad lived on the other side of the city, and I didn’t want to switch schools. Her family took me in like I was one of their own and made sure that I had my own space. I attribute the normalcy I experienced through these difficult years to them. As well as the other J’s family, who took me in for an extended period and made sure I had a room to call my own.
B and I didn’t talk for several years after high school. She was in college and I was living in Florida. When my mom died, she contacted me, and I broke down. I had been wanting to rekindle our friendship for many years. It was ironic that something I had wanted so badly had come as a result of my mother’s death. B invited me to Jazzercise with her, and I was skeptical at first. But I made the drive to the first class, and blindly threw myself into a setting that was completely foreign and downright scary.
I’m so glad that I did. Jazzercise is the best thing that could have happened to me at that time. It’s a fun workout that works, and I enjoy it. B and I usually see each other on Saturdays for a weekly class, and we try to get together afterwards every once in awhile to catch up.
WHY YOU NEED THEM
It’s so much easier to stay on track with your health when you have someone that is doing it with you. Knowing that she is going to be there too is sometimes motivation enough for me to get my butt out of bed and get to class. After all, it’s easier to do things that are difficult when we know that we’re not the only one, or if we have someone there to hold us accountable.