I went to the bachelorette party of one of my college-turned-adulthood-friends, Stephanie, in New Orleans this past weekend. I was reunited with old friends and made new friends. We ate too much jambalaya, listened to a lot of jazz, and drank one too many Hurricanes.
The second night of the party was a “Golden Girls” theme, appropriately based on Stephanie’s weekend mantra of “Thank you for being a friend,” and there were a whole lotta laughs to go along with the wigs and grandma outfits.
It was a blast and we were a spectacle.
Stephanie and I met our freshman year of college at the University of Florida. She lived directly across the hall from me in the dorms (Trusler Hall, for all you Gators) and we became insta-friends during sorority rush, as we were placed in the same recruitment group, which was assigned alphabetically.
On the first day of recruitment, I knocked on Stephanie’s door, introduced myself, and asked her to iron my hair.
This wasn’t Helen of Troy or the Chi.
C’mon. It was 2000 and those luxuries weren’t available.
Just an old fashioned iron I brought to college from home, which my mom probably purchased at JCPenney in the mid-1990s.
Stephanie agreed, I got down on the ground, and she literally straightened my hair with an iron.
We bonded over the smell of processed chemicals and burned split ends. We made other friends in the rush group, rolled our eyes at the girls who thought they were better than everyone else, and laughed when we were starving and the recruitment counselor offered each of us one measly piece of Starburst to “hold us over” before dinner. This was after she brought over coffee filters to take the shines off our faces. Again, this was before the days of the “fancy” oil absorbing sheets you could purchase at the drug store.
Some of my favorite, most endearing memories from college involved Stephanie. I could write a book and it would embarrass our families and maybe get us disbarred, but they were cherished nonetheless. Over the next sixteen years, we would go our separate ways geographically, but it wouldn’t let us stop from sharing in each others’ victories, crying over our losses, and listening to each other vent our frustrations.
We still talk on the phone almost every day.
Weekends away with longtime friends are typically followed by airport contemplations, on the way home, about the types of company we keep.
Carrie had Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte. Zack had Slater, Jessie, Kelly, Lisa, and Screech. Rachel had Monica, Joey, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, and Ross. These characters all knew that sometimes we need more than one friend to fulfill certain roles.
Here are the eight types of friends people need in their lives:
1. The Truth Teller: This is the person who will (lovingly) remind you when it’s time to tweeze that long, black hair on your chin. The person who will acknowledge when the skirt makes your butt look big or if you did something that was out of line and ya-better-be-careful-or-karma-will-come-to-getcha.
They aren’t sugar-coaters, and sometimes their input is unwelcome and unsolicited, but you need them, Gosh Darnit, to keep yourself in check.
2. The Good-Time-Charlie: This is the person who is always down for a good time. If you want to have a blast on the town or engage in a Sunday-Funday, this person is always available and will always make you return home with awesome memories.
3. The Therapist: This is the person who you can tell, without judgment, your deepest secrets or greatest frustrations. They will stop what they are doing, give you their undivided attention, provide honest feedback, and remind you that how you’re feeling is normal and you aren’t as crazy as you feel. They will tell you that they’ve felt that way too, and you instantly feel better.
4. The Work Buddy: This is the person you can vent to when the jerk in the cubicle repeatedly sneezes too loudly or won’t refill the coffee. The person who will check your big project for typos before you proudly present it to the boss. You generally spend more waking hours with this person than you do your own family, and even though you don’t necessarily hang outside of work, they know your idiosyncrasies and appreciate them anyway.
5. The Ole Faithful: This is the person who is always there for you. This is the first person to text you the morning of your birthday and remembers your wedding anniversary even if you’ve forgotten. This person’s memory is like a steel-trap, and they always remember to acknowledge important events. They are the most thoughtful of the thoughtful.
6. The Oracle. This person is a modern Socrates. They offer wisdom when you need it the most and, dangit, are almost always right.
7. The Former Friend. This is the person who used to be a close friend but, for whatever reason, like the Gotye song, is now “somebody that you used to know.” That’s okay. This person is also one of the most important friends because, without even knowing it, they are also teachers. They taught you about yourself, about the person you should be and want to be, and about the type of friend you perhaps never want to be to other people.
There’s no bad blood. You see them out and about, you politely smile at each other, and you’re grateful for how much they taught you about yourself and how far you’ve come.
8. The Comedian. This person is hilarious and always good for a joke, prank, or a laugh. This person can take it as well as they can dish it out, and for that, you’re appreciative because you need them in your life.
Sometimes you get lucky and have friends who fill more than one, or many, of the categories.
Who are the most important types of friends in your life? Did I leave a type off of this list?