The 8 Friends You Need in Your Life

The 8 Friends You Need in Your Life

group of friends taking a selfie

Chances are, you know which of your friends to call if you need a last-minute sitter, who will sympathetically listen to you vent about your annoying boss, and who to text when you need menstrual cup advice like right this VERY minute. What you might NOT know, though? The highly specific roles each of these besties play in your life.

Because all best friends are different. And in her new book, Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness, Shasta Nelson, founder of, breaks down this truth in ways you never thought of but which make PERFECT sense. (Her inspiration for doing so was best-selling author Tom Rath, and the categories he lays out in his book, Vital Friends.)

Trust us, as soon as you finish reading, you're going to want to text at least one of your friends and share.

Take a look at the eight AMAZING roles friends play in your life.



Image via Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock; unsplash/Brooke Cagle

  • 1. Builders


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    These are the friends who motivate you and truly want to see you succeed -- "even if it means they have to go out on a limb for you," says Nelson. And importantly, "builders won't compete with you," Nelson adds. "They'll be cheering for you all the way to the finish line."

  • 2. Champions


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    You NEED someone to stand up for you and your beliefs, not to mention sing your praises when you just can't find your voice. That's the champ. "They're your strongest supporters, and they thrive on your accomplishments and happiness," says Nelson.

  • 3. Collaborators


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    You adore taking photographs. So does your pal. You're training for a marathon and hey! So's this friend. See what's going on here? Collaborators are friends who share similar passions with you. Not only does that make it likely that you two are going to spend LOTS of time together, Nelson points out, but also that you'll be lifelong friends.

  • 4. Companions


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    These friends are the true stuff of greeting cards and theme songs and movie plots. "They're always there for you, whatever the circumstances," says Nelson. "You share a bond that is virtually unbreakable." Thelma and Louise, baby.

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  • 5. Connectors


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    Looking for a job? This friend knows the perfect opening. Need a new pediatrician for your kids? Boom, she refers you to the family doc of your dreams. Connectors are the Legos of relationships and "help you get what you want," Nelson says, "They work to connect you with others who will share your interests and goals."

  • 6. Energizers


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    You know that friend who makes everyone else in the room shine a little brighter? The one who's always up for a drink, a road trip, an '80s dance party? That's your energizer. Just like the name promises, "these are your fun friends who always boost your spirits and create more positive moments in your life," says Nelson.

  • 7. Mind-Openers


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    Maybe you have a friend who's on the opposite side of the political fence as you. Or raises her kids in ways you never dreamed of. You might be quite different (and chances are you are), but that's a GOOD thing. It means you're being challenged to look at the world in a different light, Nelson points out.

  • 8. Navigators


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    Should you go back to work? Or stay home with your kids? Loan your brother money (again) or show him some tough love? These are difficult questions, but hey, that's what navigators are for. "They give you advice and keep you headed in the right direction," says Nelson.

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  • The Combo


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    If you start to think about your own friends and where they fall on this list, you may spot some overlap. Maybe you know an Energizer who's also a Companion. Or a Champion Navigator.

    There are no hard and fast rules, although "we likely excel at just one [role] or two," says Nelson.

    And once you know who your friends REALLY are, "you know [who] to turn to and when -- and what not to expect from all," she clarifies.


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