When you reach the 20- and 30-something stage in life, it’s easy to see how friendships come and go. Those kids from 8th grade camp are no longer in your e-mail list. Buddies from high school who wrote in your yearbook, “We’ll be friends forever!” are already a distant memory. Young adulthood is a chapter of life for forming new relationships. Naturally, certain connections grow spontaneously when you least expect it. Those are thrilling and unforeseen. Others, however, form because you sought them out. At this stage, it’s important to start making friends with intention. As you meet new people along the way, think about the friends you’re lacking in your life. Here’s a list of 10 friends you should seek.
1. The Tech Friend
Unless you’re tech savvy, the jackpot is hit when you find someone who knows how to re-route your iTunes library from your overblown hard drive to an external one. Back in high school, you may have made fun of the “nerds” in technology club, but you’re older and wiser now. Computer geeks rule the world, and it would be wise to keep them close at hand.
2. The Therapist Friend
This person has insight into what makes you tick. Maybe he majored in pastoral studies and has a strong grounding in God’s Word. Or perhaps she studied psychology and understands the way you emotionally respond to life’s challenges. This could be an older person from church who has wisdom only gained in years. Having a friend who can be there to speak up when you’re “falling short” is invaluable to your life. He or she will give you much-needed perspective.
3. The Needy Friend
Why would you want this type of friend in your life? Most of us try to block overly-desperate people from our lives. But there is some value to having a “needy” friend – it teaches you how to serve others. Life can’t be all about you. Sometimes you need to just be there for someone else, especially when you’re getting nothing in return. A needy friend will help you appreciate your own life and will go a long way to putting your own problems in perspective.
4. The Successful Friend
There’s always that person who excels at everything he or she does. Obnoxious? Yes. However, there are some advantages to traveling in the wake of a successful friend. They’ll step up your game and make you better at what you do. Their natural excellence will remind you to push yourself to greater heights. But be careful not to develop jealousy or resentment. Just allow yourself to be motivated and inspired by them.
5. The Local Friend
If you’re from out of town, it’s great to have a buddy who’s from the area. He’s going to know the best places to eat or shop, the streets to avoid due to construction, and the hot spots for hanging out – like local parks, venues, and coffee shops. Getting out and about is important, and your local friend is just the person to help recommend a change of scenery.
6. The Accountability Friend
Having a friend who’s known you for a long time is a great resource. They know everything about you and are singularly unimpressed. But having a lifelong friend around might not be possible. If not, find someone you feel a connection to – someone with similar faith, shared goals, and parallel values. Open up and expose the sides of yourself that most people never see. They may not have the answers (like the ‘therapist friend’), but they can be a much-needed listening ear.
7. The Aware Friend
Having friends who have other interests than yours will lead to conversations that keep you sharp and current. Maybe you’re too focused on your own personal hobby that you’re ignoring what’s happening locally. Maybe you’ve got your head so deep in work or studying that you miss what “everyone’s talking about” that week on the Web. Find a friend who’s aware of what’s happening elsewhere.
8. The Realist Friend
You need someone you can go up to and say, “I’ve gained 15 pounds, but these jeans still fit. Do I look OK?” and the person says back, “Honestly? It looks like you tried to stuff two quarts of jelly into a one quart jar.” This is a true friend – a realist who knows you weren’t just fishing for a compliment. If you need unblinking affirmation, that’s why God created parents and grandparents. When it comes to presenting yourself in public (hair, clothes, hygiene, and so forth), it never hurts to have honest feedback. This will only help you as you enter the job market.
9. The Hearty Laugher
If you pride yourself on having a sense of humor – and most of us do – you really need to look for the hearty laugher. They’re usually easy to find. There’s always someone with a boisterous laugh thundering from one corner of the room. Make friends with this person. They’ll do wonders for your ego and will always provide an upbeat audience for your little anecdotes.
10. The Studious Friend
For those still in college or grad school, it can be one of the most enjoyable times you’ll ever experience in life. But you’re also there to learn. That’s why it’s important to find study partners who take academics seriously. When you get together, it’s not about socializing. These friends are there to push you to greater learning, as you do the same for them.
Dan Ewald doesn’t know how exactly he became friends with Jana or Jason or Rajeev or Tami or Jon, but he’s appreciative to have met some of the best people in the world who actually fulfill all 10 qualities listed in the article.