14 Types Of Friends You Need At 30
The way you make friends and the types of friends you have change as you get older, and the friends you have when your 20 are very different from the friends you need when you’re 30. When people are young, they often have friends because of circumstance. You go to school together. You’re in the same sorority. You’re assigned to the same dorm room. Those situations can bring you to important, genuine friendships, but they can also lead you to be friends with people that you might not choose to be close to in other circumstances —including people with whom you don’t have a lot in common, people you don’t “click” with very well, or people who just aren’t very nice.
But when you’re edging toward 30 (or — gasp! — beyond), you start having less time and patience for people who don’t actually make your life better, and you start weeding out false friends, non-friends, frenemies, or however else you refer to people you broadly categorize as “friends” but whom you don’t actually like all that much.
Below you’ll find 14 types of friends you need as you approach the big three-oh, but you should note that this list doesn’t mean that you need a ton of friends of that you need to fulfill some kind of friend-quota. I’ve listed certain types, but, of course, real people are complex and beautiful and don’t tend to fit into distinct categories. You may find that you have one amazing friend who embodies five of the qualities below — Lucky you! — or you may find that you have a friend who doesn’t embody any of them, but who has something else amazing and unique to offer that I’m not creative enough to imagine. Lucky you, again! The important thing is to have friends who bring you joy and who support and love you, and whom you try to support and love in equal measure. The rest is just gravy.
1. The one who always makes you feel better.
Sometimes we all just need a shoulder to cry on, and this friend can always be counted on to provide comfort without judgment. He or she always has a knack for saying something that makes you feel just a little bit less like the world is ending, even if it’s only a stupid joke that makes you giggle for a minute.
2. The one who calls you on your bullsh*t.
We all need support from the people we love, but we also need people in our lives that are willing to speak up when we’ve crossed a line. It may not feel good to have your friend tell you that you’ve been unfair, or unkind, or simply wrong, but ultimately you appreciate his or her honesty (even if it stings at the time).
3. The one who has known you forever.
The older you get, the easier it is to drift away from people you knew in childhood, so you especially value the few friends that do go way back with you. There is something deeply comforting about with being someone who knew you during your awkward adolescent stage, who understands the weird dynamics of your family without having to be told, who knows all of your most embarrassing moments, and who has stuck by you for decades. That’s a bond that’s hard to break.
4. The one who is new.
As amazing as old, close friends are, it’s important to keep meeting new people and making new friends as an adult (especially since making new friends seems to get harder as you get older). Your newer friend might not have decades of history with you, but he or she brings a fresh perspective into your life, and you love getting to learn about his or her experiences and way of looking at the world.
5. The one who challenges you to try new things.
Everyone needs that friend who blows into the room like a hurricane, picks you up off the couch, and makes you go out into the world to do something you’ve never done before. This friend doesn’t let you get bogged down in routines, and constantly reminds you that the world is full of fun possibilities.
6. The one who is more than happy to burrow in with you for a Netflix marathon.
New experiences are great, but that doesn’t mean that a good ol’ binge watch isn’t sometimes the best thing ever. And you know just the right person to join you for pizza, cheap wine, and a Dawson’s Creek-a-thon.
7. The one who is your emergency contact.
The moment when I realized that one of my friends was a better candidate for my “emergency contact” than my parents (who lived in another state) felt like a major step into adulthood. It says a lot about someone— how reliable they are, how trustworthy, how close — when you literally select that person to be there with you in a major crisis. A friend whom you trust that implicitly — to be there for practical help, but also for emotional support — is a friend for life.
8. The one who makes work bearable.
Even if you love your job, you’re going to have days when the prospect of coming back to the office tomorrow makes you want to tear your hair out. Having a close friend at work — someone who gets your frustration and who provides a bright spot, no matter how impossible your clients or your boss are being — makes it just a little bit easier to keep going.
9. The one with whom you can travel.
Traveling with another person, no matter how much you love him or her, can be tricky. Travel is stressful; sometimes you have to deal with the hassle of flying, traffic, getting lost, struggling with a foreign language, travel-related hangriness, and, oh yeah, did I mention getting lost? It takes a special dynamic between you and your travel buddy to weather that storm without wanting to kill each other. If you can find someone with whom you can travel and actually have fun, despite the stress of staying in a questionable hostel and having no idea where you’re going, you hold onto that person forever. Because that friend is gold.
10. The one that makes you snort your drink out of your nose because you. Cannot. Stop. Laughing.
All of your friends may be funny in their own ways, but you have that one person who somehow can crack you up completely with little more than an arch of the eyebrow. When you’re with this person you laugh constantly, because he or she is genuinely funny, but also because his or her sense of humor just so happens to align perfectly with yours.
11. The one who will work out with you.
I don’t know about you, but I am much better about exercising when I have someone there to motivate me to get off the damn couch. This friend may or may not be a fitness fiend — the important thing is that you both know that you’ll have more fun exercising if you do it together, and you keep each other going when you start to flag. (And if you reward yourself for working out by going out for drinks after, who am I to blame you?)
12. The mentor.
As you get into your late-20s and early-30s, a strange thing starts to happen: You become friends — actual friends — with people you once thought of as the “grown ups.” Now that you’re a bit older, you realize that these people are going through a lot of the same things that you are, and have faced a lot of the challenges that you’re dealing with now. Don’t be afraid to pick the brains of friends who have a bit more mileage than you do — having someone in your life who's both a friend and a mentor can be really rewarding.
13. The mentee.
At 30, it’s totally normal to feel like you still don’t have everything figured out. But you’re probably more grown up than you realize, and you certainly have more experience to draw upon than you did five or ten years ago. Don’t be afraid to share that hard-won knowledge with younger friends and offer advice when they need it. Just remember that it’s a two-way street; just because a friend is younger than you doesn’t mean that they don't have their own wisdom to share.
14. The one who nerds out about the same stuff that you do.
Friends with different perspectives from yours are great for many reasons, but sometimes you really need to sit down and talk with someone who is as concerned with the complicated psychological dynamics of Steve Roger’s relationship with Tony Stark as you are. Or who is as into Harry Potter cosplay as you are. Or who, like you, wants to pay to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the theatre four times, followed by an intense discussions of the emotional symbolism of each characters’ costume. Or, you know, whatever. You may feel like you have to temper your nerd-dom in front of some people (if only to prevent overwhelming them with your enthusiasm), but with this friend, you can let your nerd flag fly.
As wonderful as it is to have friends who fulfill different roles in your life, it’s important to try not to box them inside set “types” — because they may each have many diverse things to offer, and many unique ways of looking at the world. Your work friend may turn into your favorite nerding-out friend, and the person you go to in a serious crisis may also be the one that makes you giggle uncontrollably. The key, I think, is to simply try to bring great people into your life, and be as good a friend to them as they are to you. You can figure out the rest as you go.