Sometimes we need to take a step back and work out our friends and how they benefit us and our lives. Psychologists say that we need five types of social support for a balanced life. It is a good idea to have friends that fit into these categories.
The helping hand
Psychologist John Aiken says this friend is a crucial part of your network. You break your foot, she turns up with groceries. You hate your job, she spends Saturday morning with you job hunting online. Her tangible support means she’ll take an active stance in helping you sort out your life. "It’s in her nature to be caring and kind," notes Aiken. "She teaches you selflessness and what it means to be a true friend."
She's the one priming you for that job interview or cheering you on when you’re training for your first half-marathon. She gives what psychologists term "esteem" support – she always believes in you. "She sees things that you might not always see in yourself," points out Aiken. "Just knowing someone has faith in you boosts self-belief."
This friend can be as blunt as a worn-out eyeliner, but you know those brutally honest words mean she’ll never let you make a fool of yourself. From the best bolognaise recipe to how to handle your boss, she offers the opinions you respect the most. "Gurus offer support in the form of advice-giving, or in sharing information," says Aiken. "She gives you the ability to see beyond yourself
When you’re feeling needy, this friend’s on speed dial. She’s an A-grade listener with bags of emotional intelligence, and she’s always there to lead you through life’s minefields. "Her unconditional emotional support means she accepts who you really are.
The substitute sister
You've known her forever – she remembers your braces and every hairstyle you've ever had. She sees you beyond your high-powered job or new wardrobe. "Old friends confirm who we are at heart," says Aiken. "The experience and shared history realigns you with your core values."
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