BFFs, Bros, Ride-or-Dies, Squad — whatever you call your friends, they are the ones who are always there for you, the ones you’d call for help in an emergency or to share good news, and the ones who, besides your immediate family, can make the biggest impact on your health, happiness, and habits.
There are several “types” of friends you might encounter in your journey through life. These are a few of them and their (admittedly very generalized) potential effects on your well-being. Keep an eye out for these traits in yourself and your buds.
The Party Pal
We’ve all had that friend who absolutely must go out every weekend and party like there’s no tomorrow. Except the problem is there is a tomorrow, and tomorrow-you is not going to be super thrilled at today-you for dropping $150 at the bar or club because you couldn’t say no to your party friend.
Getting and keeping your financial feet under you can be tough enough without someone else enabling you to drain your bank account.
Party royalty are fun friends to have because they generally live very in-the-moment. They jump at the chance to have fun and milk every drop of energy out of life. They meet people easily and can usually coax even the shiest of us into letting loose a little and dancing like fools.
There comes a point, though, when that kind of lifestyle is unsustainable. Heavy drinking, late nights, and paying covers to get into deafeningly loud crowded spaces take a toll on basically every aspect of your health. Partying can be good for the soul, but bad for you in every other way. Keeping your hangouts with the party king or queen limited to once a month or so can help you balance the thrills with some chill nights in. Your body and wallet will thank you.
The polar opposite of the Party Pal, the Homebody, never wants to leave the house or go on adventures. Clubs and parties are nightmares for this person. He or she is happy to curl up with the TV and Instagram and not interact with the world unless entirely necessary.
There’s nothing wrong with liking a quiet night in. The problems arise when this friend guilts you into staying in with them all the time and refuses to ever step outside their comfort zone.
NOTE: Anxiety and depression can be beasts, and if you believe your friend is struggling, be understanding, but know that you CANNOT be their only support. Volunteer to help them find a therapist, or refer them to the National Helpline for people suffering from these and other mental health troubles.
No real friend should ever force you to conform to what they want to do every time you hang out. At least some compromise should exist. Many of us go through homebody periods, but we also like to go out and experience what the world has to offer. Just as with the Party Pal, balance is key.
Some things are worth the time and money. Meeting new people can help you make connections that may move you forward in your career or teach you about topics you’ve never heard of. Some nights can be frugal nights in, and others you can spend on dates, out on the town, or checking out that awesome new museum exhibit.
There’s a huge world out there full of amazing people, experiences, and places. Get out there and see it while you can.
In the Absolutist’s world things are either AMAZING or TERRIBLE.
This is the friend who will tell you that anyone who wants to be a success MUST go about succeeding in very specific ways and if you don’t measure up to that, you’re not a success AT ALL.
Absolutists can be great friends to have by your side if you need a lot of accountability for your goals, but this pressure can come with a dark side. If the forward progress hits a speed bump, Absolutists can become doomsayers.
Starting a new exercise regimen or creative habit? “You better do it every day or you’ve FAILED.”
Want to save $500 a month? “If you only saved $300 last month, you might as well give up.”
“If you fail once, you’re officially a failure.”
Absolutists believe it’s all or nothing. The problem is that we’re imperfect humans living in an imperfect world. In reality, ANY step toward improvement that we make is great.
Saving $300 is so much better than saving none, and maybe you’ll manage $500 next month. Or $100. Still better than zero.
Doing one pushup is better than doing none. You’ll get to ten soon enough.
Don’t let an Absolutist friend or maybe your own little Absolutist voice tell you that anything but complete success means failure. Small steps make up a mile.
Let me tell you a little story.
When I was in middle school, I joined the track team. I was very speedy over short distances, but I’d never run a longer race. We needed to fill a spot in an 800 meter race, so my coach put me in. I shot off at the beginning of the race, feeling amazing that I was ahead of the pack. By the time I realized my mistake, I was starting my second lap of the track and was quickly losing ground. By the finish line, I was in 6th place out of seven runners and was hyperventilating so badly I threw up.
That day, I was a Jackrabbit.
Anyone who makes you feel anxious about telling them about an idea because you know they’ll immediately start running way faster with it than you’re ready for could be a Jackrabbit.
Usually, these people mean well. They are unfailingly supportive and often see possibilities in you or your ideas that you don’t. They can be so excited for you, however, that they overwhelm you before you even begin.
Jackrabbits, like Absolutists, are great people to have as resources while you work towards your goals, but make sure they don’t take over your plans.
Going to the gym every day when you haven’t exercised in years or opening an Etsy shop while you’re still learning to knit puts a lot of pressure on you very quickly.
Map out a plan of action to achieve your goal and take it one step at a time. That usually gets you to the finish line faster than exhausting yourself at the beginning.
If you recognize these four types of friends in yourself or your besties, it’s ok! Everyone can be any of these people at any time. Party, stay in, shoot for 100%, and move as fast as you want. Just remember that moderation in all things is almost always healthier than any extreme.
Everyone has something valuable they can bring to a friendship and you are no different. Look for ways to encourage and help your friends as they make their own goals and journeys. It’s so much easier to eat better, save and learn about finances, exercise, and create a career you love when you have a supportive squad.