Blogger | Teacher
As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” Friends are a necessary part of life – as humans, we thrive on community and the affection of others, and need friends in order to make the unbearable aspects of life easier to handle.
Friends are there for us during the best and the worst moments, important voices and faces that join us in countless adventures. But there’s not simply one category of friendship – different people exist in your life for different reasons, and knowing what kind of friends you have can help you figure out what it is you need from these relationships.
Over time, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are 7 main types of friends, with little subcategories of friendships that come about in different situations. Each type of friend is essential and valid in your journey, and I hope this list helps you to better understand the friendships in your life.
The first of the 7 types of friends is the acquaintance. Acquaintances are people you don’t know very well, but that you meet frequently enough that they are more than strangers to you. Maybe they’re a friend-of-a-friend that you meet at parties, or maybe a stranger who goes to the same Wednesday dance class that you do and you talk to on occasion.
There are a lot of possibilities when it comes to acquaintances because they can either evolve into casual or close friends, or they may stay simply as someone you chat with from time to time.
Either way, acquaintances are blank slates with hundreds of possibilities, and it’s good to fill your life with as many acquaintances as possible – you never know if one will become something more!
Work friends are people who are more than acquaintances, but not yet casual friends. Work friends are people you see regularly – possibly more than you see even your family or best friends – and they know everything about you. You tell them about how your weekend went, whether that one aunt of yours is still causing drama on Facebook, and when you aren’t happy with how your life is going.
With work friends, there’s a shared experience that makes it easy to talk openly and bond about the struggles of life and the job you both may or may not like. They’re funny and friendly, and they give you a break from the regular mundaneness of your work to just talk and joke around.
However, unless you meet your work friend outside of your job, they will never truly be casual friends. By keeping them purely within the walls of your job, they will stay as work friends – however, work friends are a great way to make the day pass by faster, so they are just as important and essential as any other type of friend!
Casual friends are probably the type of friends we are all the most familiar with. These are people we hang out with semi-regularly for movie nights, drinks, or just a fun chill night at home. They message us to see if we’re busy, like our Instagram posts, and we have at least a few pictures with them from the fun things we’ve done together.
Casual friends are easy to have because the only real requirements for this type of friendship are that we get along well and hang out on occasion. They’re very seldom complicated relationships, so usually, we have a long list of casual friends that we call up when we want to go out with someone.
However, the big separator between casual friends and close friends is that there’s rarely any depth in the relationship. We don’t always talk to them about our deepest fears or the darker parts of our past, and they aren’t the ones we call when we’ve had a bad day and need to talk to someone.
This lack of depth in our relationship also keeps us from being completely honest with casual friends and telling them how they may have hurt or upset us. Usually, we brush off the small indiscretions or ignore the frustrations because we don’t want to complicate the relationship. Casual friends are great to have when you need a good laugh or a warm hug, but they may not always be the kind of friends you need at certain moments in your life.
Close friends are a step up from casual friends because there is a certain level of depth in that relationship. These are the friends that we know we can call at any time and they’ll be there. There’s a strength and trust built into the relationship that makes it easy to talk to them about any problems that may have occurred between the two of you or any ways you may have been hurt by their actions.
Close friends are people you feel like you can trust wholeheartedly, and who have proven themselves to be supportive of you and all your endeavors. They see your highs and lows and they love you through it all, and you know you’d be there for them whenever they need you.
The big difference between close friends and best friends usually lies in history or distance – many times, your best friend is someone you’ve built a lot of history with and who knows you inside and out. Maybe your close friends haven’t been with you for very long, so they haven’t quite reached best friend level.
Other times, your close friendship is long distance (or will eventually be long distance) and therefore they can’t maintain the closeness that you once had. This doesn’t diminish their importance in your life, but it does make the relationship more complicated and may mean they never rise to the “best friend” ranks.
The One You Take Care Of
Of all the types of friends, “The One You Take Care Of” is definitely the most complicated. This friend is someone you once cared about deeply – maybe as a best friend or even a lifetime friend – but due to life experience, they’ve become someone you barely seem to know. Not to mention, they always call you to ask for help with their troubles but rarely ask you how you are or listen to your problems. In the end, it feels more like you’re their therapist than their friend.
This could also be a friend that you want to be close to, but they can’t seem to get their life together and constantly need you to take care of them. This relationship is hard because you love this friend, but the fact that you end up being their babysitter makes it hard for you to rely on them the way you did before or the way you want to. However, you always hold out hope that one day they’ll be the friend you want them to be.
Everyone needs a best friend, and therefore of the types of friends, I would say that this is the most important. Best friends are the ones you think about first when you need a partner in crime. They’re the ones you call immediately when something good (or bad) happens, and they always know exactly what to say.
Best friends are also the people you are your most genuine self with. There are no barriers in this friendship, no rules for how you should act or who you are supposed to be. Best friends take you for exactly who you are, always, and you’re never afraid to be completely yourself with them. I owe so much of my person and my happiness in life to the best friends who have been there with me, so I hope you always recognize how amazing this friendship is and are sure to remind your best friend regularly how much you love them.
Finally, lifetime friends are by far one of the most special friendships on this list because they are the best friends you’ve carried with you longer than even you thought was possible. Maybe you aren’t together physically because of life and jobs and responsibilities, but they are always in your heart and on your mind.
Lifetime friends are the people who’ve known you longer than most people, and they’re the ones who’ve seen you even at your worst – they’ve also seen every terrible fashion choice you’ve ever made and make sure to tease you mercilessly for them. Lifetime friends are the people you could go years without seeing and the minute you’re together again, it’s like no time has passed at all.
Lifetime friends are the best friends who you will have with you until the day you die. If you have a friend like this, then you know just how special this friendship is. And while all these friendships are important and necessary for life, lifetime friends are the ones who’ve carved themselves permanently into your heart and will never fade.
Do you know of other types of friends that we haven’t listed here? Tell us in the comments!
About Draven Jackson
Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.
To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.