We all reach that time in our lives when we have to filter out the good friends from the troublesome ones – for some it happens when you leave school, for others when you leave university. For other, it can happen much later, but it comes to us all at some point and usually when we realise that a friend has been taking advantage or we feel a friendship is somewhat one-sided. It’s just a fact of life that some people can become great friends, that they build you up and support you rather than shooting you down at any given opportunity. However, just as there is light and dark, there are also those who use you, make you feel bad about yourself and put their own insecurities on you. Just as it is important to spring clean your home, it is important to spring clean your friendships every now and again.
It can sound scary, the thought of having to confront the problem and to possibly lose a friend who has been around for as long as you can remember. But you need to think of the positive – it will mean you end up in a position where you are surrounded by people who love and care about you and will support you throughout your life. That is far more important than hundreds of superficial friendships with people who won’t be there when you need them most. But this post is not about the wittling down of your friendship lists, because I for one do not have the time to be going through my Facebook friends one-by-one.This post is about the types of friends that you are left with – Looking around at my mates, I have noticed that I seem to be friends with lots of different types of people from different groups. Some of them would not get on if they were to meet, and others just wouldn’t get each other at all. But I like that – I like that my friends are so different and that I can indulge different sides to my personality while with them. We all have such different sides to our personality and we need different friends around us that reflect this – as they say “Variety is the spice of life!” University was a great chance to meet like-minded people from all walks of life, but even in my home town I have met an incredible variety of people – it probably helps having my job!Here are just some of the different types of friends I can identify from my groups:
- The BEST friends from school who have been there through everything, from the first heartbreak to the first house and everything in between. These friends are the first ones you call whether it’s good or bad news and you know they’ll always be there no matter what.
- The HOUSEMATES were the first people you lived with other than your family, whether at university or elsewhere. They are the people who taught you the importance of patience and personal space, the ones you partied hard and slobbed out with. Nothing can beat the closeness of living with someone and that friendship will always run deep.
- The QUIET friend is one of the most valuable. They might not always be up for a night out or want to go to gigs with you, but they’ll always be up for a coffee and a chat, and often they give the best advice.
- The RAVING BUDDY is the one person you can always rely on to be totally up for going out. A five-minute warning is all it takes and they’ll have the Converse on and the hip flask ready for an epic night out. This is the friend who is always with you on those nights that become legendary when you are sitting out in the road watching the sun come up.
- The UNIVERSITY GANG is the close-knit bunch of mates you acquire over the three years who basically just like to eat, sleep, rave, repeat the same way you do. Whether you guys like to go out all the time, study in the library or take a year abroad together – the group are all so close that you keep in touch and regularly meet up after you finish.
- The GIG friend (can also be cinema/theatre/book etc) is one who is interested in the same things as you – sometimes as we grow older we start to have different interests to our immediate mates and meet others through our hobbies. This is great because it means you no longer have to force your mates to come with you to see that band they hate.
- The LADS are not a group that everyone has, but if you have a solid group of boy mates you are a very lucky girl because they are a source of straight-talking and sanity when the girls get too much. They are messy nights out, lots of banter and good fun, but you know they’ll always look after you.
- The ONE WHO KNOWS just what to do, the one who has a sixth sense when something is wrong and who will drop everything to travel across the country and be there for you. The one who knows when you don’t want to talk about it but that getting drunk will help, or vice versa.
- The DRIVEN friends who are always hard at work on one project or another, perhaps you know them through work or through a hobby, but you use each other as contacts and always make sure your name is first on the list for recommendations. You might not always have time to fit each other in, but you know that you are high on their list of priorities.
- The COMMUNITY is a group of people that have the same interest as you (for me, blogging) and perhaps through social media or group meetings you get to know them and become friends. These will support you and guide you when perhaps no other friends can if they are not also into blogging.
- The OLDER/MORE EXPERIENCED friends can be those born a few years ahead, those who have already experienced what you are going through, perhaps they are parents and have settled down, perhaps they have travelled, perhaps they are work colleagues who have worked their way up from the same start point. Either way, they can offer good advice and a listening ear when you need it.
I think most friends can fit under one, or more, of these categories. I’ve left out the more negative types of friends because luckily, I think for the first time in my life I can say that I don’t have any one-sided friendships and it is pretty refreshing. It’s well-worth taking a good look at your friends and seeing which ones are true friends, because it really can change your own life to cut them out. Negativity breeds negativity and giving away friendship to someone who doesn’t return it can be exhausting. Why not focus your efforts on the people who care?