The 10 different forms of friendship and why you need them all

Squad, posse, entourage, tribe, gang, clique – whatever you call it, your group of friends is vital to your health, happiness and stress levels. And on July 30 this year, it’s International Friendship Day a moment to celebrate the powerful bonds you’ve formed in your life. It’s time to be thankful for those relationships, as they promote and encourage peace, happiness, and unity. But what types of friendships do you have? Here are 10 different types and why you need them all.


Friendships can have a significant effect on your well-being and overall health. Besides helping you celebrate the good times and being there for you in bad times, friends also prevent loneliness and increase your self-confidence, self-worth, sense of belonging and purpose. Studies have even found that having a rich social life can increase your lifespan (when compared to people with fewer friendships). What’s more, it’s been proven that strong social connection helps reduce the risk of depression and high blood pressure. So yeah, good friends are good for your health.


Remember ‘Philia’, a type of love that develops over a deep, long-lasting friendship? Aristotle categorised three types of friendship as follows.


Friendships of utility

Also known as ‘friends for a reason’. You’re friendly with these people because of circumstance, like cubicles at work or shared desks at school, or because you’ve got a similar interest or hobby. You could also categorise people with some particular advantage or good that you can profit from in this group. A lot of your friends most likely start as this kind of friendship, then are cultivated and grow into deeper more meaningful bonds.


Friendships of pleasure

Is it pure pleasure between you and those whose company you enjoy? These mates are often the people you come together with due to similar likes, values, activities and what stage in life you’re in. At the time they’re quite important to you. However, this group can also be called ‘friends for a season’ as they can fade out when you graduate high school or your kid starts a different high school after graduating from middle school, for example. But that doesn’t make this friendship any less special.


Friendships of the good

Aristotle considers this third kind of friendship, or virtue friendship, as the highest form of friendship between two people. These friends for life love us for who we truly are and have similar moral values. Based on mutual respect and admiration, these friendships take longer to create but they’re also more powerful and long lasting.

Knowing what category your friends fall into will help you evaluate if all the people in your life are good for you or not. However, I think Aristotle gave us three very broad categories so I thought we’d define the types of friends a little more.


The Loyal One

This is the person who loves you no matter what your faults may be. No matter what mistakes you’ve made and no matter how crazy you can get. Everyone needs a non-judgmental friend who will be there for all the highs and the lows.


The Truthful One

Harsh truths. They can hurt. But sometimes they need to be said, sometimes you need a reality check.

The Fun One

This is the person you call when you’re in need of a good laugh or an adventure. These people serve as a reminder that life is fun and meant to be lived.


The Wise One

This person is your inspiration, your sounding board. You will never ever get enough of talking to them as they fill you with ideas and the belief that you can achieve great things. Every conversation or experience with them matters and you always come away with a heart full of new hopes.


The Listener

Or perhaps a second mother. The kind of person who can help when you’re in a pickle, they are your go-to person when you need a chat, advice or a shoulder.


The Flaky One

This is the friend who you have to make plans with six times before something finally happens. It doesn’t mean that they don’t care for you though. Let them take the lead on planning get-togethers so you don’t give more than you’re getting back.


The Bestie

Everyone needs a bestie or two. You know this person will be around forever. It’s just the bond you have. You’ve been in each other’s lives for a while and been through everything together from proper heartbreak or grief to petty little fights about who’s turn it is to choose the movie. It’s not perfect; it’s real and there’s no doubt that you’ll always get through it. Remember, don’t stop working on this relationship. Even BFFs need growth and maintenance.


On this upcoming special day of friendship, take a look at the buddies in your life and let them know how much you appreciate them.

Laura Wabeke

Laura Wabeke

Translator, editor and copywriter Laura Wabeke is fascinated with words and the many innovative ways you can use them to express yourself. After nine years as a freelancer – hopping from the travel industry to media agencies, advertising and book editing – this in- house copywriter is now fluent in yoga, meditation, mindfulness and embracing the brand’s philosophy of finding beauty and happiness in the smallest of things.