The 4 Types of Friendships You’ll Find in Your Life (And Their Value)
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” — Anais Nin
When someone talks to me about my friends, I always tell them one thing; my friends are the people – my safe people – whom I have chosen to be a part of my life and my family. And trust me, bringing a random bunch of people together to form a bond that we label “friendships” can go beyond that. Sometimes, you just meet someone and know that they will be in your life.
Not despite this, there are times when it may take you longer than a meeting to truly get comfortable with someone – comfortable enough to allow the walls around your heart to come down and stay down. I’ve had experiences with both of these circumstances so you’ll have to take my word for it!
However, once you allow yourself to truly open your heart to these people, life becomes richer, fuller, and somehow more colorful, if you get my meaning.
No matter how your friendships come into existence or how important they become to you, they’ll differ from person to person and relationship to relationship. You can feel comfortable with your childhood friends more or you may find yourself relying on your social friends more.
Whatever you label your friendship as there are benefits of having a healthy friendship that you shouldn’t ignore. The best kind of friendships are the ones that make you feel supported, enhance your life, and bring love and happiness to your life.
Let’s take a look at the 4 most common types of friendship we are bound to have in our lives.
What Are The 4 Types Of Friendships?
Starting with acquaintances. These are the types of friends who you stay in contact with because they are either mutual friends with someone you know or have a mutual interest. Outside these situations, you are less likely to interact with acquaintances and say more than a sentence to one another.
The benefits of having acquaintances in your life can include;
- Increasing network and connections
- Low expectations during conversations
- Reduced social anxiety because of low social interaction
2. Social Friends
Moving on, another common type of friendship you’re likely to have in your life is social friendship. Social friends are people who you engage with in light-hearted conversations and with whom you enjoy spending time in social situations. However, with them, you’re likely to share less about yourself and refrain from forming deeper relationships.
The benefits of having social friendships can include;
- Experiencing a sense of belongingness in a community
- Expanding your social circle
- Low-pressured conversations
- Easy flow of social interactions
3. Intimate Friends
Next up are intimate friendships. Now, these are the people you look for when you need a piece of advice. These are the people with whom you can share and celebrate your victories. These kinds of friendships are insightful and supportive. If you want to rely on someone, your intimate friends will be there for you.
The benefits of having intimate friendships can include;
- Deeper and more meaningful connections
- Ever-ready support and encouragement
- Better reliance on celebrating little moments in life
- Having a group, you can depend on
4. Lifelong Friends
Lastly, we have lifelong friendships. You can also call these friendships the “epitome of friendships”. These are the people with whom you can be yourself, have fun, play silly games, and also share the darkest times of your life. These friendships are, in a word, beautiful and your lifelong friends do everything to encourage you and better enhance your well-being.
The benefits of having such friendships can include;
- The freedom to be true to yourself
- Having a judgment-free and safe space
- Mutual understanding, love, and loyalty
P.S. You can have friends in all these categories or none of them. There could be reasons for having different types of friendships or having no friends at all. You may choose to have some friends in all of these categories or you may choose to move your friends from one category to another.
Is Your Friendship Good For You?
Humans crave companionship and want to connect with others. Sometimes, platonic relationships can be fulfilling too. Having platonic relationships can improve your sense of self and allow you to feel connected and experience the sense of belonging that we all crave.
But, how do you reckon a connection or friendship is good for you? Here are some questions you can ask yourself;
- Do you feel natural or just feel like you’ve been pretending to be someone else?
- Do you feel connected with them or disconnected?
- Do the interactions leave you feeling energized or drained?
- Do you feel excited or frustrated after those interactions?
The standard for a good friendship can vary from person to person, but there are some common qualities of a healthy friendship that you need to know.
A healthy friendship has;
- Healthy emotional expression
- Healthy boundaries
- Assertive communication
- Shared values, and most importantly,
- A give-and-take relationship
The Benefits of Friendships on Your Well-Being
If you ever believed that friendships are a waste of time, then brace yourself. Friendships have been proven to have many benefits including mental benefits, emotional benefits, and even intellectual benefits, among many others.
Here are some common benefits friendships can have on your well-being.
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Happiness boost
- Lower risk of loneliness
- Higher life satisfaction
- Lower risk of depression
- Better self-confidence
- Better problem-solving skills
Despite its benefits, not all friendships are healthy nor do they last forever. Toxic friendships can take a heavy toll on your mental and emotional well-being without you even knowing. So, beware!
When a friendship runs its course, it can bring a certain level of pain, and while it can make you feel adrift for a while, you can take steps to recover from a friendship breakup.
4 types of friendship can exist in our lives and each of them brings a different set of benefits and downsides. You can’t possibly compare one friendship with another. Having friends in your life can bring a sense of connectedness and a sense of belonging to your life and make it even more colorful.
So, do you think you have any of the above-listed friendships in your life? Take a look at them and see how they are helping you become a better person. If you can see the changes in your life, then what are you waiting for? Call up your friends, and thank them for being there for you!
If you don’t have these types of friendships in your life yet, then don’t fret. It’s OK to choose who you want to bring into your life and even if you don’t have many people, you can call friends, you can choose a group of three even! to be there for you!
After all, friends are meant to be there for you!