Muhammad Ali will always be remembered for being the greatest champ to step into the boxing ring, but he was also a very enlightened and informed man. One of the many personal insights he shared during his lifetime addressed the worth of friendships. He said,“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”
His words reflect an importance that lies in our friendships that’s immense, unfathomable, and can only be understood by being a part of one. Our friendships pick us up, carry us further, and come from some of the most unlikely sources . In order to get the most out of our friendships, there are certain types of friends we should have in our lives to round out our social circles.
1. The Caretaker.
We all need a little help now and again and a friend who proudly plays the role of caretaker will never leave you wanting for more support.
Caretakers are the ones who remember the little things about you, who check in on you, and are the first ones to volunteer a helping hand. These sorts of friends are selfless givers who work towards the happiness of others.
Not only does having a caretaker friend benefit your social circle, it also makes you a more compassionate person. Research into understanding empathy has found that exposure to compassionate people causes our minds to match the same level of compassion we are picking up.
Generally kind and giving, caretakers set a good example for the rest of their circles and are just the type of friend you’d want.
2. The Couple.
This two-for-the-price-of-one friendship has a lot to offer to your group of pals.
Being around a loving and supportive couple can offer a healthy example to follow in your own relationships. Their presence teaches how a caring relationship handles both the good times and the bad in a way that is still respectful to both parties.
You can also use the couple in your life to increase your romantic potential. Research has found that newly dating couples who befriend established couples report feeling more “excited, enthusiastic, happy and closer to their partner.” The love lessons alone that you’ll learn from being friends with a couple will make up for all the lovey dovey behavior you may have to put up with from them.
3. The Adventurer.
Having someone in our lives who is good at giving us a push in the right direction is a valuable asset.
The adventurer friend is the one who is always up for a new endeavor and is set on taking you along for the ride. They can motivate you to push your personal boundaries, step up your game, or face your fears and, best of all, they will be right their with your throughout the adventure.
Those sorts of novelty adventures have been shown to be good for our health by encouraging wonder and curiosity, both of which benefit our mentalities and the world we live in.
That friend with a spirit that longs for adventure may pull you into a few unusual situations but it’s all a part of the journey.
4. The Planner.
Unfortunately, not all your friendships are built to last a lifetime, but planner friends are guaranteed to stick around.
The planner is the friend who keeps the group together. Life sometimes gets in the way, sidetracking us from certain priorities, causing friendships to suffer . What makes having a planner in your circle so valuable is that they will make it their priority to keep contact up within the group.
Research has found that not maintaining friendships was among the top 5 regrets that elderly patients reported feeling towards the end of their lives. Having a friend who makes staying connected easier will help alleviate the possibility of that burden.
Planners loyally ensure the whole gang stays together through all life’s moments, especially the ones when those friendships are needed the most.
5. The Honest Friend.
As much as we all enjoy hearing assessments of ourselves, we also require the truth, no matter how ugly it may be.
That’s where your honest friend comes in. We sometimes need someone who will be brutally honest with us in a way that is constructive. Without that honest friend keeping it real for us, well meaning “yes men” will give us the truth we want, not necessarily the truth we need, and disaster can strike from misinformation.
Besides gaining the right info from honest friends, they can also up your physical and mental health. Studies have found that living with less lies simplifies your life and helps personal relationships run more smoothly, thereby reducing unneeded stress.
The truth can hurt sometimes, but when coming from a friend, it’s just the sort of authenticity you need.
As an old saying goes “Faithful are the wounds of a friend”.