5 different friendships in your life and the psychological benefit of each

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The old, creaky saying goes that you choose your friends - but how much choice do we really have? Here is every friend you’ll make in your lifetime and the psychological draw of each…

There’s nothing more fascinating than going to a friend’s birthday party and seeing the clusters of different people they’ve picked up throughout their life.

While it might seem like a human pick ‘n’ mix without rhyme or reason, there’s actually psychology behind the different kinds of friends we end up gathering throughout our life.

We spoke to psychotherapeutic counsellor Chanelle Sowden to get to the bottom of it…

1. The black and white thinker

Nothing says love like your best friend ripping you to shreds. Sometimes. With boundaries. In a caring way.

“This is the friend that you go to when you need to rant,” Sowden explains.

“You need someone to give you some brutal truths and this is the type of friend that helps you with your boundaries.

This could be about relationship problems, a work issue or even just taking something back to a store to complain! They will sort things out, put people straight and say it how it is.”

If you’re the kind of person that ends up apologising to the waiter about that questionable hair in your food, this friend is key.

2. The one that never judges

Maybe you called that person that only yesterday you swore you’d never contact again. 

Or you need to talk to someone about that irrational thought that’s been distracting you all day. 

If speed dial was still a thing that people employed, this friend would be on it. 

“This is the friend that you dare go to no matter what you’re struggling with,” says Sowden.

“They may even look after you in a ‘nurturing mum’ kind of way sometimes. They’re responsible (or at least a little more responsible than you) and they give good advice when you’re feeling down on yourself. 

They check up on you when you go off the radar, remember important things you might have coming up and send thoughtful messages so you feel loved.

Most importantly you feel they really like the real you no matter what you do and there’s an immense psychological weight lifted when you’re able to trust someone like that.”

3. The spontaneous one

You’ve had a distinctly average day at work, you’re just pulling on your coat and getting ready to go home to that new Netflix series when your phone flashes up.

It’s your friend inviting you to go to some immersive experience in a hidden London vault or go with them to try out the latest yoga incarnation that sees people dangling from the ceiling. They’re the one you have a matching Pandora charm to commemorate that last minute trip to Marrakech, that every time you look at reminds you life is short and should be fun. 

“This friend reminds you not to be so much of a worrier or control freak,” says Sowden.

“They’re always planning their next adventure and watching how they operate and float through life inspires you to get back to your inner child.

That means doing things just because you feel like it rather than because you think you ‘should’ be doing them.

They live by a motto of ‘If it feels good, do it’ and it seems to work out for them most of the time.

Let’s be honest, a lot of our worrying doesn’t seem to serve much of a purpose anyway, so their care-free fearless approach always gets us back on track for more fun.”

4. The helpless worrier 

This is the person responsible for the 44 WhatsApp messages when you make the colossal mistake of not checking your phone for an hour.

Everyone wants to feel needed, though, and that friend plays an important role in your life.

“This is the one that you can look after a bit,” explains Sowder. 

“There’s always someone who worries or stresses out more than us and its nice to be able to support others and see ourselves in other people’s vulnerabilities.

Feeling of use to our friends helps our self esteem and confidence grow and is a very important part of being a human and relating to others.”

5. The safe friend

Without going full Catfish, it can be good to have a friend that doesn’t know absolutely everything about you.

“This is the one that for whatever reason, you don’t quite know as well,” says Sowter. 

“It could be the work colleague or neighbour that you get on with but doesn’t quite know all your vulnerabilities, mistakes and secrets and neither do you know theirs.

These friendships that can feel safe and tend not to get too messy like the deeper friendships naturally can. The one you can pull-off coming across as (semi) professional or grown up but still enjoy their company.”

Whichever the friend, show them you love them this Galentine’s Day with PANDORA.