When you're a kid, your friends are the people who live next door, the people who sit next to you in homeroom and the people who pass the ball to you in gym class. As you get older, you start to make connections with people based more on interest rather than proximity. But you don't always lose touch with your nearby friends, and they're not necessary any less important to you because you don't have the same favorite color or band.
As you make your way through high school and college and into the work force, your group of friends will morph and evolve and expand and contract and explode and rebuild. By the time you're heading into your thirties, you'll realize that your group of friends are an awesome and insane conglomeration of people who you have everything and nothing in common with.
You'll have a few friends from childhood who you can barely agree on the weather outside let alone a politician to elect. You'll have a few friends from high school who went through dark teen times with you and knew you at your worst and realest. You'll have a few friends from college who you played house with and grew into adults with. You'll have a few friends from work who really appreciate your talent. And you'll have a few friends from grocery stores and concerts and vacations and long lines at the DMV and late nights at airports after cancelled flights.
No matter who makes the cut and who gets the boot in your group of forever friends, in your first 30 years of life, you should definitely have these kinds of friends in your life:
The Memory Keeper
This friend is an old friend. Maybe you both lost your front teeth at the same time. Maybe you were preschool besties who kept in touch after you ended up in different elementary schools. You have eons of memories stored with this friend and while you don't see each other as often as you thought you might as kids, whenever you do, you snap right back into your dynamic and are so grateful to share so many memories.
The Plus One
This friend is the perfect person to bring with you when you don't have a date. Whether you're going to a fancy party, a work event or a wedding, this person is immune to awkwardness. They get along with everyone, encourage you to be social and can stand their own when they need to. This friend will make you never want to take a date anywhere again.
The "Me Too!"
This is the friend that you have a lot in common with. Just as you're about to send this friend a link to an amazing article you just read or song you just heard or movie you want to see, they beat you to it by sending you the link first. You like the same musicians and authors so when one of them rolls into town, you know this friend is down to go with you and love it just as much as you do.
This is the friend you call at 2:44 a.m. on your birthday when you just need to cry. This is the friend who calls you when they need to vent or sob or jump up and down, and it's a two-way street. You give each other amazing emotional support and always feel better when you hang up the phone.
The Night In
This is the friend you call when you want to test out YouTube tutorials with. This friend is down to come over at 8 p.m. on a Friday night and laugh the night away under Korean face masks and fishtail braids. Grab a few gossip mags and a bottle of wine and you're having more fun with this friend that you would if you actually went out.
The Road Trip
This is the friend who you would actually enjoy sitting in a car with for a week straight. You don't get on each other's nerves. You enjoy comfortable silence and have a similar sense of adventure and spirit. You're both down to stop at the same silly places and eat the same gas station meals. You probably both surprised each other with nearly identical road trip playlists, too.
The Taste Tester
This is the friend that's always down to try a new restaurant or bar with you. They're brave eaters and love trying new things. Whether you want to eat fried crickets downtown or try out a trapeze class, this is the friend to call.
And while it's good to think about how people treat you, it's also important to check in with yourself and make sure you're offering valuable friendships to the people in your life. Which of these friends are you to them?