Six Good Friends We All Need In Our Lives

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Shorter Version


Est. Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Although romantic relationships are all the craze nowadays, good friendships are just as important and even more long-lasting. Truth be told, friends (the real ones) are magical. They wait with us after we go on job interviews and hold our hands when we find out if we got one of the jobs. Sometimes they sit with us in exam rooms, while we wait to see what the test results yield. They wipe away our tears when someone breaks our heart or betrays our trust, and they brawl with those who try to bully us.

The importance of having great friends

Friends are always there for us, no matter what is happening in our lives or theirs. They love us and want to protect us. They also enrich our lives in ways that can’t be explained with words alone. And, while it’s so comforting to know you can share your life with people who are like-minded, it’s also important to branch out every once in a while and meet new people who may be different from you. Just because a person is not your personal mini-me doesn’t mean he/she can’t add incredible value to your life.

Get some variety in your friendships

More specifically, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them. We all need a variety of friends – some like-minded and some not so like-minded to maintain the balance in our lives. These people may be casual friends you only talk to and see every once in a while or besties that you talk to and see almost every day.

Quality time with good friends matters most

The quantity of time you spend with your friends matters less than the quality of your interactions. Therefore, it is always good to think outside of the box and broaden your circle of friends. You’ll be surprised who you will end up calling “friend,” if you open your heart and mind to new people and experiences.

Skip to Actionable Steps




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Longer Version


Est. Reading Time: 7 Minutes

The truth is friendships provide the fabric of our lives. In other words, a large amount of our life revolves around our friends. They make our lives fulfilling, exciting, interesting, and fun. Ultimately, these special people make us better and improve our lives. Friends teach us how to be vulnerable and how to trust. They also teach us how to use our voices – when we are happy, angry, frustrated, annoyed, excited, and every emotion in-between.

Friends know us best

They let us borrow their clothes, shoes, car, and jewelry, if we need it, and they inspire us with motivational words and positive affirmations. Friends often know us better than we know ourselves. And, a great thing about these individuals is that they can assume different roles in our lives – i.e. causal friends, best friends, close friends, role models, or coaches.

Friends wear different hats in your life

Some friends play a large role, for instance, a close friend or best friend. Others play a smaller role, for instance, an acquaintance or casual friend. But, regardless of the role they play, all friends enrich our lives and make us better people. Another wonderful thing about a diverse set of friends is that you always have what you need when you need it. For instance, one friend may be your biggest cheerleader, while another may offer you sage advice.

For example…

One friend may be your “ride-or-die” buddy, while another may be your health guru. One friend may be the person who always tells you the truth, even if it hurts your feelings. Another may be the person who comforts you when you get your feelings hurt. One friend may be your go-to person when you need to get out of the house and have some fun. Another may be the person you go to when you just want to “chill” and veg out on the couch, stuffing your face with pizza.

Without friends, life would be boring

Honestly, our lives would be dull and boring if we didn’t have a variety of people in our lives. Why? Well, because diversity is a blessing. It helps us learn, grow, and develop. It opens our eyes and teaches us how to be tolerant of those who are not exactly like us. Because of these individuals, we learn not to “judge a book by its cover.”

Having Friends is Good for the soul

Having friends can also improve our physical and mental health. Friends add joy and happiness to our lives, which uplifts us when we feel down. They also make us feel safe and secure which decreases our stress levels and lowers our high blood pressure.

Because we feel safe, we are able to de-stress and relax. Moreover, friends help boost our self-esteem and self-confidence right when we need to hear how amazing we are. It doesn’t matter if you prefer a large group of friends or a small cluster of two or three friends – each one is unique, special, and totally worth it. 

“Those” friends

Therefore, there are certain “types” of friends you should always keep around. Why? Because they provide the most satisfaction in your life. What are those “types?” You should add people who make you feel good about yourself. People who motivate, inspire and uplift you. Those who think like you and have the same beliefs as you. People who are totally different from you. Those who have more knowledge than you. Those who can add some fun into your life. People who you can truly trust and respect. Those who are interesting and/or eccentric. AND those who bring out the best in you.

True friends will always love, support, and believe in you – even if they aren’t just like you.

Psychologist’s Tip!

The “benefit of friends”

A real connection

One of the benefits of having friends is that you can develop a real connection with other people. Humans need to connect and interact with others to thrive. We also need to feel cared about and supported to be successful in our personal and career lives. Without these crucial elements, we wither and die.

Humans also have a psychological need to bond with others – others who think like us.  It makes us feel connected, so we become attached to those individuals. It’s easy and it feels good to have people always agreeing with us. However, over time, like-mindedness can become quite boring and annoying. Why? Because there are no new ideas or experiences. It’s the same old thing.

People who feel connected to others are more likely to succeed in life. That is why having friends is so important.

Psychologist’s Tip!

As humans, we crave new experiences. Deep down, we want to hear other perspectives and ideas, even if we don’t agree with them or they anger us. We want to grow. Friends help us do that. It doesn’t matter if they live next door and you interact on a daily basis or they live 400 miles away and you only talk every so many months, friends provide us with comfort, self-worth, support, and a strong sense of connectedness.

Positive self-esteem and self-confidence

Most people have struggled with self-esteem and self-confidence at some point. It’s actually normal and healthy, especially when you are trying to figure out your purpose and place in this world. It helps you grow into the person you will eventually become. The good thing about friends is they uplift us when we’re going through a rough “season.”

Friends can help you gain a new sense of identity, self-esteem, self-love, and self-confidence simply by being there to support you through your ups and downs.

Psychologist’s Tip!

In other words, they remind us just how cool, awesome, smart, and amazing we are. They also remind us that we can do whatever we put our minds to. Friends listen to you tell a story over and over again because it helps you to process what happened. They don’t complain or try to leave on the sly. No, they stick it out – even if it’s after midnight and they can barely keep their eyes open. They do that because they care.

Invaluable advice and guidance

Let’s be real – friends offer some pretty awesome advice and guidance that is literally invaluable. It doesn’t even matter that half the time we don’t take it, block it out, or dismiss it altogether. We are the fools – not them. They are like real-world Yodas – wise beyond years. Most of the time, after we’ve made a terrible mistake, we realize that we should have listened to them because they really did know what they were talking about.

The benefit of having friends is you have someone that you trust to bounce ideas. You also have someone to tell you when you’re acting a little crazy. For instance, a good friend will tell it to you like it is, “James, you need to stop calling Lizzie! She broke up with you three months ago! Let it go. She’s moved on, so you should too. Plus, you’re acting kind of stalkerish. Do you want to get arrested?!”

The key to reaping the benefits of friendships is to keep an open heart and mind. Showing your friends just how important they are to you can improve the quality of both of your lives. 

Psychologist’s Tip!

This is why it’s so important to respect, value, and cherish our friends – even if they don’t think like us. Friends provide a “home” for us when we’re physically away from our homes. They can bring so much happiness and joy into our lives. They can make us better people – if we let them.

Personal improvement

Lastly, friends help us grow, develop, and improve. When you have a diverse friend circle, you are able to experience new things and share different perspectives, beliefs, opinions, knowledge, and experiences with each other. This aids in your personal development. The truth is, it is so easy to get stuck in a rut (the same old routines and rituals). That’s neither good nor healthy.

However, when you have different “types” of friends, you are able to see things from different angles. You also learn to do things differently like cook a green bean casserole or solve a word problem. You may even learn a different way of dressing or styling your hair from a friend, who isn’t just like you. At the same time, you learn more about yourself – what you want and need to be happy.

Actionable Steps


1

Find a “ride-or-die” friend

Everyone needs that “ride-or-die” friend. That friend who is willing to go to battle with you, who is ready to defend your honor against naysayers, and who always has your back through thick-and-thin. He/she is your bestie, but also so much more. This person is real with you, even when you don’t want to hear the truth. But, he/she also loves you fiercely and will go out of his/her way to protect you from others.
 
You can tell your friend anything and everything and he/she won’t be judgmental or critical of you. This friend accepts you as you are. Period. So, when you want to act impulsively, your “ride-or-die” friend is right there with you. When you want to confront your old partner because he/she dumped you right before Christmas, your “ride-or-die” buddy is right beside you. Who doesn’t need a friend like that?
 
A “ride-or-die” friend always has your back – through good times and bad! Even if he/she is a little “rough around the edges.”
~ Psychologist’s Tip!

2

Find a “tell it like it really is” friend

This friend is not as rough around the edges as your “ride-or-die” friend, but he/she still “tells it like it is.” In other words, this friend doesn’t sugarcoat things to spare your feelings. He/she tells you the truth because he/she cares. To break it down, this friend will call you out when he/she knows you’re lying to yourself and/or to others.
 
This person is not only upfront and authentic; he/she is the type who refuses to “beat around the bush” or lie about something to spare your feelings. This friend is not going to tip-toe around you or your feelings because that’s not how he/she rolls.
 
For instance, the “tell it like it really is” friend will let you know if the red dye you used to cover up your blonde hair looks good on you. If not, he/she would probably say something like this, “Mandy, red hair doesn’t really go with your olive complexion, you need to wash that mess out and go back to blonde.”
 
A “tell it like it is” friend is a good person to add into your inner circle because you can always count on him/her to tell you the truth. This friend will always “keep it real” with you, so you aren’t misled or deceived.
~ Psychologist’s Tip!

3

Find a “Yoda” friend (yeah, like from Star Wars)

As I mentioned above, everyone needs a Yoda in their lives. Yoda is cute, cuddly, and super wise. He’s also calm and patient. What’s not to love about that? A Yoda can offer you a wide-range of valuable advice and guidance. This friend is your very own coach, who has the experience and tools to lead you towards the light.
 
His/her advice can help you achieve your goals and reach your dreams – if you would just listen to him/her. Your Yoda friend is the person you go to when you want to discuss your concerns and fears and when you are clueless of what to do next. He/she is that person who can steer you towards happiness and success and away from despair and failure.
 
A Yoda friend’s advice, guidance, and wisdom can help you reach for the stars, but first you have to open you heart, mind, and ears to what he/she is trying to tell you.
~ Psychologist’s Tip!

4

Find a “social butterfly/party animal/wild” friend

Yep, even if you’re a born and bred introvert, you still need a social butterfly aka party animal in your life. Why? Because this person was born to help you leave your self-made cocoon. It can get pretty lonely if the only thing you see every day and night is the four walls in your bedroom. And, although staying at home with the blinds turned down, munching on popcorn, and watching Game of Thrones in your pajamas can be fun sometimes…
 
This lifestyle can get pretty boring and lonely after a while. Plus, sometimes you just need to get out and have a little fun, which is where your social butterfly aka party animal comes into play. This friend forces you to get out of the house – whether you want to go or not. And, he/she makes sure that you have a great time when you are “out and about together.”
 
It’s his/her mission in life, after all. And, although you may protest, groan, and complain about getting up, showering, and putting on clean clothes…secretly you are thrilled that your friend cares so much about you that he/she would come over and spend the day with you. Let’s be honest, at the end of the day you usually have a blast together.
 
A social butterfly aka party animal can be a blessing in your life because this person knows when you need to get out of the house.
~ Psychologist’s Tip!

5

Find a “health nut” friend

Now, this may sound a little odd, especially if you are in-love with junk food…but having a health nut in your life can benefit your physical and emotional health. The only possible problem? If this friend tries to bully you into adopting his/her lifestyle instead of simply giving you information (from time-to-time) about ways you can improve your health and well-being. You don’t want an overbearing, stuck in his/her ways health nut friend.
 
But, you do want a person who can answer your health questions when you have them –  without being overbearing, rude, or pushy. For instance, if you tell this friend you want to start exercising more, he/she needs to be the person who motivates you to do it and stay on track. Your health nut friend should offer to go with you to the gym, on the hike, or even for that brisk walk or jog around your neighborhood.
 
The best thing about a health nut friend is you always have someone who will work with you to better yourself. This person is motivating and reassuring. The main duty of this person is to offer you support, so you accomplish your health goals.
~ Psychologist’s Tip!

6

Find a “believer” friend

Lastly, the “believer” friend is the person who always believes in you. He/she is your most devout supporter and your biggest cheerleader. The truth is we all need someone in our lives that encourages us and praises us. Someone who is there to celebrate our wins and wash away the tears of our losses.
 
Your “believer” friend is the person you can call when you’re not feeling so confident or when you self-esteem has taken a beating and you just need a dose of positivity. In addition, you can call this person up when you need to tell someone you just received a job offer for your dream job. Or, when you just got that promotion at work you’ve been praying for. This person reminds you that with persistence and effort you can accomplish all of your dreams.
 
He/she has a knack for helping you see just how cool, great, and awesome you are. The “believer” friend also helps you believe in yourself. The best thing about this friend is he/she is always so positive, uplifting, and hopeful. Furthermore, he/she always knows how to make everything better.
 
A “believer” friend is the buddy you can call when you’re feeling down and need a pick-me-up. You can rest knowing that he/she also has your back, even when you fail. This friend doesn’t make you feel stupid or inept, rather, he/she tells you just how proud of you he/she is.
~ Psychologist’s Tip!

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About the Author


Dr. R. Y. Langham

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Ph.D. in Family Psychology

Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
Full Bio | LinkedIn


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