The 7 Types of Friends
- There are seven forms of friendships, all of which are valuable.
- Feeling a part of a bigger group has been shown to improve life happiness and lifespan.
- Taking the opportunity to interact with and speak with the individuals who “people your life” can help you improve your own life.
There’s no denying the importance of social ties in our pleasure. Who among your friendships comes to mind first while you think of essential friendships? Your childhood best buddy, who you haven’t seen in years but whose name brings back vivid recollections of your shared adventures and gives you the warm fuzzies? Or your present “brothers” or “girl squad” who will always have your back? Perhaps it’s your tight-knit group of coworkers with whom you enjoy over half of your waking hours five to six days each week? Or the neighbors you socialize with while watching the kids laugh, the dogs run, the coffee brew, and the grass grow? Maybe, for better or worse, your best friend is also your lifelong partner?
All of these relationships are vital. According to a recent poll on friendship networks, most of us have built a diverse range of social interactions regardless of age. Here’s a rundown of the several friendship forms that were investigated:
- Long-term friendships
- Best Buddies
- Close Friendships
- Friends in a Social Group (friends you socialize with, but they are not fairly close to you)
- Activity People (friends with whom you participate in specialized activities, such as “gym pals,” book club or dinner club members, church circles, and so on)
- Convenience Friends (the folks with whom you might share carpooling duties, youth sports team parents, neighborhood groups, and so on)
- Acquaintances (people you see every day when you walk your dog, individuals you know to talk to but not about much of anything important or particularly intimate)
In an increasingly isolating environment, having relationships with others that represent the unique opportunity of closeness is beneficial. In fact, having friends of all kinds was positively associated with life satisfaction regardless of age. The term “life satisfaction” refers to a broad measure of perceived well-being frequently used to evaluate happiness and standard of life. Much study has been done on the relationship between social involvement and lifespan, psychological and physical health, and general happiness. These factors are vital for happiness, but research also shows that novelty impacts life satisfaction (Buchanan & Bardi, 2010). This research emphasizes the importance of having a range of social encounters throughout the week: This will allow you to interact in new ways with new individuals, adding variety to your life. Establishing a diverse network of friendships is critical regardless of age, stage, or position in life. This also attracts a wide group of people into your life who may assist you in expanding your horizons and encouraging you to learn about new ideas and ways of perceiving and enjoying life.
How many friends are necessary?
Our age, relationship status, or whether or not we are living alone have no bearing on the number of friends we have of various sorts. It’s never too late to form friendships that will benefit your psychological health and social well-being. The survey found that half of the participants thought they had too few close friends, while the other half thought they had many. And one spouse was concerned that they had far too many.
Another result is that we all have very specific demands regarding how many friends we consider to be the “correct” number. How many would be the “correct” number of friends if you don’t think you have enough? The desired number of friends varied substantially among survey respondents who believed they had “too few” friends. Some people believed that having two or three close pals was sufficient. Others believed that having four to six people would be ideal. Some claimed that having seven or more close buddies was the ideal quantity.
So, how many friends do people who truly consider themselves to have “enough” close friends? Well, 10% of the sample had only one close friend and thought that was enough. About half of the people in this group had only two or three close friends and were quite content with that amount. Another third of the group had four to six pals, while the remaining 10% had seven or more. While none of us require the same number of friends, we all require the support of close friends.
Which friends are most crucial to our happiness?
The number of acquaintance friends in our networks was the biggest predictor of life happiness during the height of the pandemic when we were unable to gather with the people we cared about most. We craved social interaction after being secluded from others, even though we were disguised six feet apart from the person dropping off our groceries and the other dog walkers in the park. As limitations and constraints have been removed over the previous 6-8 months, the unexpectedly high value of acquaintances has waned. Although the amount of acquaintance friends we have is positively connected with our level of life pleasure, the number of lifelong friends, best friends, and close friends we have are the biggest predictors of total life satisfaction.
Does Your Life Change with a Kind Smile and a Complimentary Word?
Weaving oneself into a web of communal connections has significance. Fred Rogers, everyone’s neighbor, was always focused on the intrinsic importance of every person in our community, regardless of their job. These recent studies clearly support the benefits of being engaged with all the people who fill our lives over a week. Deep, intimate conversations with your closest friends, as well as friendly greetings or brief chats with your mailman or Amazon driver, dog walkers who pass your window, the cashier at the pharmacy, commuters who are always on the same train, and even the annoying kids who run across your lawn, all have a lot to offer. Engaging with others and building a connection, no matter how insignificant, can have a favorable impact on your overall health. More smiles, more engagement, and a longer, happier life.