When I was a kid, all I wanted in a friend was someone who liked the same stuff as me. Ideally, we’d have the same toys so she’d know the “rules” of each game—but her stuff would be slightly better because what’s the point of hauling ass down the block to play with junk?
In simpler times, friendships were formed and sustained based on nothing more than a mutual appreciation for Cabbage Patch Dolls, the Mousetrap Game, and chicken nuggets.
Now that I’m older, my friendship needs are a lot more complex. Liking the same things is a bonus, not a requirement. If you’re into wine, travel, books and watching Netflix in your underpants, we’re probably going to get along just fine. But I also respect the fact that our relationship might be based on other things—cause I’m progressive like that.
I’m lucky to have lots of different female friends in my life, and lots of different types of friends. Here are the five friends I consider essential.
The Known You Since Forever Friend
This is the friend who knows the name of your elementary or high school crush, who remembers when you got your period and who’s either witnessed or participated in most of your youthful shenanigans. A friend who knows where all the bodies are buried is essential because of the comfort and closeness that comes with that kind of intimacy. You can let your guard down around her because you don’t have anything to prove, no pretense to keep up (after all, she’s seen you with feathered bangs). Friendship with a Known You Since Forever Friend is pure, uninhibited and based on a mutual understanding that you could really do some damage to each other’s reputation.
The Mom Friend
When you’re raising littles, your life is pretty much consumed by being a mom. Mom friends are united by the fact that they have so much in common and so much to be pissed off about thankful for. Good mom friends share problems and strategies and know what you’re going through. Great mom friends never try to out-mom you, and they don’t judge you for showing up to lunch braless with peanut butter in your hair. Great mom friends don’t complain or sigh audibly when you cancel last minute because your kid is melting down, sick or being an asshole. True mom friends are a God damn gift from heaven and should be worshipped as such.
The Realist Friend
Is a “true friend” someone who tells you what you want to hear or someone who tells you the truth, no matter what? Either way, we all need a realist in our lives; someone who isn’t going to sugar-coat anything. She’s the friend who keeps you honest, asks the tough questions and sees right through your bullshit. She may call you on it and she may not but you both know she knows. You might have a love-hate relationship with her level of honesty, but you see the value in having a friend who forces you to really think about your choices. If you want someone to tell you your leather pants look fierce or that your kid won’t end up in jail, you might want to think twice before asking a realist.
The Cheerleader Friend
The Cheerleader is as important as the Realist for the simple reason that she always has your back, even when you tell her you’re quitting your full-time job to raise chickens, or that you’re having another baby to fix your marriage. She’s not just a blind optimist and while she may not agree with your choices or entirely trust your judgment, she’ll never say so because her priority is cheering you on and rooting for you till the bitter end, no matter how badly you fuck up your life. She knows you’ll make your own decision and she’ll support you no matter what. Now gimme a “C”!
The Up For Anything Friend
Tell me you’ve never seriously considered dropping everything and fleeing the country and I’ll tell you, first, that you’re a god-damn liar. Then I’ll tell you that if you don’t have a friend who’d go with you, you’re missing out. The up for anything friend is someone we all need, even if our quest for wildness and debauchery only extends to staying out past 10 pm. Having an up for anything friend doesn’t mean doing tequila shots off male models on someone’s private jet (though I’d never rule that out), it just means having someone who indulges and appreciates your spontaneous side. The Up For Anything Friend doesn’t smile politely or laugh nervously when you suggest cross-border shopping on a Saturday in December. She looks you square in the eye and says: “What time should I be ready?”