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Humans are social and need connection and our friends help provide that. Research shows friendships bring mental and physical health benefits including everything from lowering the risk of depression and helping us feel more satisfied with our lives, to improving longevity.
These are the eight different types of friends that have a place in a healthy and well-rounded social life and the five types of friends that don’t belong in our lives.
- Best friends - Our besties are the strongest, most intimate and most important types of friends. You trust and rely on each other and support each other when you need it most.
- Social friends - These are the people you spend time with regularly because they’re fun to be around. They may not be the ones you confide in or get emotional support from, but you enjoy their company and friendship.
- Low-dose friends - Psychologist and friendship expert Dr. Marisa G Franco says these are the friends who we appreciate in short bursts and the friendship works best when we only see them every now and then.
- Group friends - They’re part of your social circle and you see and talk to them regularly as part of the friend group, but you may not ever spend time with them one-on-one.
- Situational friends - These context-specific friends are those we connect with in a specific situation, but the friendship doesn’t include other parts of your life. They can be yoga buddies, neighbors, parents of your kids’ friends and even roommates.
- Work friends - Also situational friends, we co-create with them and they really understand the details about what we do day in and day out at our jobs. They also make our time at work more fulfilling.
- Lifelong friends - You’re connected to them because of your shared experiences and even if you don’t talk or see each other often, you still have a warm connection when you do.
- Life-stage friends - Whether you’re both recent grads, new parents or single, these are the friends you can really relate to when it comes to what’s going on in your life right now because they get it.
And then there are the “friends” who don’t nourish your life and should be avoided. They are one-sided friends, ambivalent friends, codependent friends, toxic friends and finally, fake friends.