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8 Types Of Friends You Need To Have in Your Life

8 Types Of Friends You Need To Have in Your Life

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Featured photo credit: More Than Mommies via 4.bp.blogspot.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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