Psychology: this TikTok breaks down the three types of friends we all need for our mental health

Posted by
Leah Sinclair
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites
Illustration of two young happy cheerful women are sitting on the couch and laughing.

There are some friends we call for a good time and some that we call for deep intimate chats – and this TikTok shares why we have these different friendship types and the purpose they serve.

We all have particular friends we call for in different stages of our lives. There’s the friend we turn to for lengthy catch-ups, filled with nostalgia and reminiscing on all the things we used to get up to in our youth. Then there’s the friend you know is always up for a bottle of wine and a good laugh no matter the occasion. And the friend you call when you’re at your most vulnerable and need a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on.

While these different friendship strands exist, sometimes we may feel guilty for having friends that fit particular moments in our lives – but this TikTok shows us that having different types of friends that serve different purposes is not only pretty common, it’s also OK.

You may also like

How to deal with a friend breakup: should you ever go back to an ex-friend?

Dr Wendy Walsh, a Canadian author, lecturer and relationship expert, broke down the three types of friendships we need for our mental health, sharing it with her 870,000 TikTok followers.

In the video, which has amassed over 19,000 views, Dr Walsh begins the TikTok by acknowledging that one of the first friendship types we need in our lives is historical friends.

“Those who knew us when,” she says. “Even though time passes, we get on the phone with them and we’re transported back to our childhood.”

Dr Walsh says that historical friends are “important for our identity” so that we can be “authentic”.

Next on the list are fun friends, or as Dr Walsh calls them “common interest friends”.

“We may have boundaries with some of these friends but whatever fun we’re into, we want to share it with somebody,” she states.

Last up, the author says we all need intimate friends.

“Third, we all need one or two intimate friends,” she concludes. “That’s the person you can call from a hospital emergency room or yet, the person who will take you to the airport”.

You may also like

6 expert ways to successfully handle arguments with your friends

While the lecturer clearly analysed the three different friendship types, one of the biggest takeaways from the video was in the caption, which read “not all friends are the same”.

Sometimes we can feel bogged down by trying to be all things to all people – but the reality is, sometimes we play a certain position in our friendships which serves both them and us – and that’s OK.

Many took to the comments, to share their thoughts on Dr Walsh’s friendship analysis.

One TikTok user wrote: “Thank you for affirming this need”, while another commented: “I didn’t realise that these friends could be different people, but it makes sense”.

Image: Getty

Sign up for our essential edit of what to buy, see, read and do, and also receive a free guide to the 101 Female Authors Everyone Should Have On Their Bookshelf.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy


Share this article


Leah Sinclair

Recommended by Leah Sinclair

Mental Health

‘Success bombing’ is the awkward friendship issue that no one talks about

It’s a symptom of our increasingly narcissistic culture, and it’s having a negative impact on friendships.

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray

Billie Eilish admits to being "lonerish" and, hello, we can relate

The five-time Grammy Award-winner was speaking on a podcast about how she’s coping with social distancing.

Posted by
Ally Sinyard

“How my teenage friendships impacted my adult romantic relationships”

And why yours probably did too.

Posted by
Moya Crockett

“I'm 27 and the poorest of my friends. Now what?”

Stylist's Alex Jones on a sobering reality

Posted by
Alexandra Jones