Did you know that people without friends are more likely to die an early death?
It’s true. Just ask science.
To up your chances of living a long, happy life, having a bunch of fair-weather buddies won’t do the trick. You need a diverse, well-rounded entourage that will stick with you through thick and thin. The following eight types of friends are just what you need to keep the doctor away.
1. A Loyal Best Friend
Sometimes a loyal best friend is the only thing you need to stay sane. Everyone needs a non-judgmental friend who will support them no matter what. This is the kind of friend who lets you be a hot mess and knows all of your deepest and darkest secrets, but still loves you all the same.
2. A Fearless Adventurer
We live in a big world where there are so many places to see, people to meet, and experiences to be had, yet so many of us are stuck in our own routines and forget to, well, live. We all need an adventurous friend who will pull us out of our shells and introduce us to new ideas, cultures, philosophies, and activities.
3. A Brutally Honest Confidant
There’s certain situations in life where we need to hear the harsh truth. That’s what the brutally honest confidant is for. If you’re in a rocky relationship and everyone’s telling you that it’s perfectly normal that you’re back with that special someone for the 8th time in the last 2 years, the brutally honest confidant is there to yank your rose-colored glasses off and tell you, “Enough. Stop with all that break-up-and-get-back-together drama. You deserve better.” Friends are supposed to be honest with each other. If you find someone who is brutally honest with you (in a constructive way), then hold on to this person! People like that are hard to come by these days.
4. A Wise Mentor
Jesse Jackson once said, “Never look down on someone unless you’re helping them up.” If you have someone smart, inspiring, and admirable in your life who practices this philosophy, you’re extremely lucky. We all need a friend who inspires us to be better people without making us feel inadequate. Plus, being around such a person will challenge us to better ourselves every day.
The wise mentor in your life doesn’t have to be someone who shares the same occupation or hobbies with you. It’s simply someone who’s a few steps ahead of you in life and has enough wisdom and patience to guide you in the right direction. It can be anyone — a colleague, a friend who’s beyond their years, or an older neighbor — as long as you look up to this person and want to be more like them.
5. A Friend From a Different Culture
The last thing you want to be described as is someone who’s stuck in their own ways. If everyone had a friend from a different culture, the world would be a much better place. Being in a cross-cultural friendship allows you to explore customs, values, and traditions outside of your own culture. Sometimes you might even adopt new ways to do things.
Be careful; don’t befriend someone just because they’re from a different culture. No one likes to be a token friend. Instead, keep your mind open, and if you come across someone you click with who just so happens to be from a different culture, make the effort to learn about their customs, values, and traditions while getting to know the person on a personal level.
6. A Polar Opposite
We humans are hard-wired to get together in groups and attack outsiders — the human pack mentality, if you will. If you only develop friendships with others who follow the same beliefs, customs, and values as you do, chances are you’re somewhat detached from the rest of the world, and you’re more likely to perpetuate stereotypes on anyone who holds a different world view from you.
Instead of constantly surrounding yourself with like-minded people, try to break out of your comfort zone and befriend people who hold opposing views. They will help open your eyes to different world views and you’ll learn to accept people who don’t see the world exactly the way you see it.
7. A Friendly Neighbor
These days, a lot of people don’t know their own neighbors. It’s a shame, because some neighbors can be the nicest and most helpful people ever. If you’re on a vacation, and you suddenly realize that you forgot to lock the front door, you can call up your trusty ol’ neighbor and ask them to head over to your house and lock it for you. Nice dependable neighbors who have each other’s backs are a dying breed, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t introduce yourself to the new neighbors across the street!
8. A Work Pal
Did you know that with a full-time job, you spend at least 50% of your waking hours at work? Not only that, but you spend some more time commuting to work, thinking about work, working overtime, and furthering your career on your personal time. Depressing, isn’t it?
Statistics show that the more isolated you are at work, the more depressed you get. That’s why it makes sense to get a work pal to chat with at the water cooler and to help you get through the week. You spend 50% of your waking hours at work, and so does your work pal. You’ll find it much easier to shoot the breeze and complain about work with someone who can relate to you than eating lunch alone every day.
Your work pal doesn’t have to be your best friend outside of work. They just need to be someone you click with on some level, and if you two hit it off exceptionally well, you can always start hanging out with them outside of the office.
With a loyal best friend, a fearless adventurer, a brutally honest confidant, a wise mentor, a friend from a different culture, a polar opposite, a friendly neighbor, and a work pal in your life, you’re bound to live a long and happy life!