Where would you be without your friends? Like who would you send saucy screenshots to or eat an entire pie of pizza with and not feel guilty about it? We all know how important it is to surround yourself with the right people because the role they play in your happiness, success, and confidence, but who exactly is in that circle?
Research shows that having a strong friend group increases longevity and even reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels. We spoke to New York–based neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez, who shared the different types of friends that every woman needs.
“You’re born into a family, but these [friendships] are the kinds of relationships that you really make, that you work on, and invest in and they say a lot about you," Hafeez says. "A lot of people judge you based on the friendships that you have, because they really speak a lot about who you are.”
While Dr. Hafeez believes the eight types of friends below are essential to living a happy and healthy life, she knows there are exceptions and, realistically, not everyone will have this many good friends. Rather she stresses the importance of forging really strong relationships with a few people. Specifically “the confidant,” “the motivator,” and “the platonic male friend,” if you can.
“Friends are your outlet from work, marriage, children, well, from everything. So invest in friendships, not only because they’re good for you, but because they’re good for your other relationships. Remember they're about give and take, so give without the expectation of receiving.”
See which members of your squad make the list and where you might need to start recruiting!
This friend understands how much you trust her, she knows all of your dirty little secrets and has kept every single one of them under lock and key. She gets all of the screenshots (uncropped) and traveled to the Rite-Aid two towns over with you to buy Plan B that one time.
“Everyone needs a confidant. You need that one person that you know you can tell anything to and your secrets are safe with them,” Hafeez says.
THE FUN ONE
All of your funniest stories — that you actually remember — probably include her some way or another. She’s the friend who asks you to go on a spontaneous road trip and is always down for shots. She gets you out of your comfort zone and puts you in a great mood.
Sometimes you just need to vent — you don’t want advice, don’t wanna know if you're right or wrong, you just want someone to listen. This is that friend. It’s important to let out your emotions and know that you don’t need to carry the burden alone.
This friend is always pushing you to be the best you can be and achieve your goals. Not only does she inspire you to better yourself, but she’ll sign the both of you up for a half marathon to help you lose those last 10 pounds.
“You need a motivator. There are always going to be times when you’re gonna be down on yourself, when you need that extra push. They’re like your cheerleader, someone who is always pushing you and really believes in you," she says.
THE OLDER ONE
This is your older friend, the one you go to for all of your major life advice. She’s had a lot of experience and has been in your shoes before, so she has a lot of wisdom to offer. Whether you’re deciding to make a major career change or take your relationship to the next level, she’s got an answer.
THE PLATONIC MALE FRIEND
Every woman needs one of these. This is the friend you go to when you need a male perspective, sans drama or overly emotional bias. He’s got your back like a sister, and you’re always there to help him pick out birthday gifts for his girlfriend.
“Women can get very caught up in the hype and the estrogen. Men have a very different way of thinking, their reality is more black and white. They can set you straight if you’re having a fight with a boyfriend, a husband or even a problem at work. They have a way of cutting through the crap without worrying that they’re going to hurt your feelings. Sometimes you just need that male perspective.”
THE HAPPILY MARRIED
She’s your window into what married, family, and basically adult life is like. You aspire to have a life like hers someday — the perfect husband, great kids, beautiful house — but then she reminds you that it’s never perfect and reassures you that everything will happen for you eventually. Not to mention she throws awesome dinner parties and introduces you to all of her husband’s hot friends.
THE CHILDHOOD FRIEND
This is the friend who’s known you all of your life. She has your mom's number, remembers that time you got grounded for sneaking out in high school, and knows you better than you know yourself. In some ways you’ve grown apart, but you will always share an unbreakable bond that mirrors sisterhood.