If you’re over the age of three, then you’ve probably come to realize that people will disappoint you. They may not do so intentionally but everyone is flawed and no one person can do and be everything you need in a friend. You’ve had the best friend who couldn’t emotionally deal with your parent’s death and disappeared for a while. You’ve had the friend who will help you study but hates going out late or to big parties. You’ve probably also had the friend that was always up for a good time but could never manage to show up to things on time or at all.
We’re all different, which is a good thing, but it means that you can’t expect one person to be everything that you need all the time or in all stages of your life. So how do you avoid being disappointed by your friend? Have more than one and understand their strengths, weaknesses and needs as well.
There are several vital characteristics that we need in our friends and, for the most part, we don’t have all of them in our group friends. This lack of characteristics is where disappointment comes in. To help you better understand what you need, here are six types of friends that are important to a well-rounded group.
- The motivator. We all need that one friend that builds us up when we are feeling overwhelmed or like a failure. This friend wants you to succeed and will always invest their time and energy into helping you do so. They are very generous and supportive people and can be the push that you need to get places. Try to find this friend by sharing your goals and see how someone reacts. Do they check back in a week or two later to see how it’s going? That’s your motivator.
- The partner. No, not in the “life partner” kind of way. This person is someone who gets you and wants to work with you to get somewhere. This friend has similar interests and goals and can collaborate with you to help both of you get closer to where you want to be. This friend can be anything from a workout buddy to someone with whom you go into business. Find a partner by talking about your goals and seeing who is on the same page with you.
- The party friend. In college, this literally meant the friend who could either find or throw a crazy party every weekend. As adults, this is the friend who gets you and your group pumped and excited about anything. They’re the one who pushes you all to schedule a trip together or take you out for a fun day when you’ve been having a rough time. This friend can always make you laugh and forget about your problems. If you need a party friend, step back and look around. Who always makes you laugh or you see do so for their friends? Who is always having a good time? Seek them out and strike up a conversation.
- The advisor. We all go through rough patches in our life and we need a friend who we can talk to about the experience. The advisor is a friend that you go to not only to share your thoughts and feelings, but it’s someone who will help you work through these thoughts and be a sounding board for ideas. This friend is someone you trust to keep your conversations in confidence and also someone who checks their ego at the door when it comes to giving advice. If you’re going through a tough time, feel out the people around you to find someone who has already gone through what you’re experiencing and who could be a great listener and resource.
- The networker. This friend always knows someone who knows someone and is the “mutual friend” with everyone you find on Facebook. Having a networking type of friend who loves walking into a room of people they don’t know and coming out with new relationships can help you build relationships as well. They can connect you with anyone you’re looking for, whether that’s someone who lives in the neighborhood you want to move into or someone who works in the career field you’re interested in. This type of person is easy to spot, so just be confident and go introduce yourself to them.
- The best friend. Yes, you can have a lot of best friends, but you need that one friend who is the other pea in your pod. This isn’t the friend who will bail you out of jail; it’s the one sitting in the cell next to you. It’s the friend who you can count on to be with you through thick and thin, make sacrifices for you and who gets you without trying too hard. You would put your life on the line for them just as they would for you. These kinds of friendships make you feel like you really matter in the world and that you’re not alone. If you don’t have a friend like this, try picking out a couple of close friends and spending more time with them to see if you could form a deeper friendship.