5 Types of Friends

5 Types of Friends

Last update: 13 April, 2018

What would life be without friends! Without that support when we’re sad… that laughter with the power to turn an ordinary day into an unforgettable memory. Friends are wonderful, and there are different types of friends that play different roles in our lives.

It’s at school where we meet our first friends. Then, when we’re teenagers our friends become everything and we idealize them. Later, time and maturity makes us understand that no relationship is perfect. Friends fail us, and we fail them too.

“How can life be ‘the life worth living’ if it does not repose on the mutual goodwill of a friend?”


Like all human relationships, friendship too is an ambivalent bond. We love our friends and they love us, but we also compete with them. We can be envious and selfish. But that does not detract from the great value that friendships have; it simply reminds us that we are all human.

We come into adulthood knowing that there are different types of friends. Few will die for us, but there are some that are very close while others are more circumstantial. We learn to enjoy friendship and different types of friends, with all their greatness and limitations. They all contribute something to us, each in their own way. The important thing is to understand each type.

1. Historical friends

Historical friends are those who have stayed in our lives as we’ve grown up, for whatever reason. They are not necessarily the closest friends we have, but they have stood the test of time. These are the friends we usually meet in school. We bond with them and the bond may fade but never disappear.

We may meet up with these friends only once in awhile, but when we do, we fall back into the rhythms of the relationship in no time at all. Then after the meeting we all go ou own way until our paths cross again. But historical friends make up a piece of our identity.

Types of friends: two boys walking down a road holding hands.

2. Friends that are there for you when things are hard

Your relationship with these friends usually involves some paternal or maternal feelings. One protects and the other needs protection. One acts as counselor and guide to the other. For some reason, he or she just knows what to do and say.

Also in this category are friends who are brothers in arms. Teammates. Friends who stick together through thick or thin. They are our partners in crime. Out of all the types of friends there are, these ones may not be around all the time, but when times are tough, they’re there.

3. Friends of convenience

This is a utilitarian relationship. However, the relationship does go deeper than that. There is authentic affection, but with very clear limits. They are the kind of friendships forged around a common interest or mutual help.

Friends of convenience may be what you have with your doctor or lawyer. You turn to them whenever you have some need that they have expertise in. Here there is an implicit solidarity pact. To sum up, what unites you is that you both get something out of the friendship.

Coworkers smiling and working with coffee at a desk.

4. Inter-generational friends

These may be one of the most special types of friends. It’s when people of very different ages somehow become friends. That means they may not do the same things in their daily lives, but they do share some important aspect of their lives. In general, they are not constant friendships but they are very deep. 

Inter-generational friendships are common between teachers and students. Or among people who share the same hobby or interest, if not age. They have a lot to add to each other’s lives, since exchanging perspectives can be very rewarding. In these friendships, there is true interest in each other.

5. Types of friends: friends of the heart

Your “friends of the heart” are the people you can call at two in the morning when you have a problem. They listen to you, give you their full attention, and are on your side no matter what. They know everything, or almost everything, about your life. With them, you feel confident and don’t need to hide your true self because the foundation of your friendship is acceptance.

Friends having fun on the beach.

In life, we are granted very few friends of the heart. And while they aren’t perfect, and there may be little grudges or some envy, you love each other and are always there for each other.

All types of friends are valuable. Friendship makes us better people and helps us grow. In fact, we could say that no type of relationship will last or be very meaningful if it doesn’t have friendship as its foundation.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.