Having friends is a blessing, especially if you happen to find life-long companions. I know I’ve found a few myself. However, for some people, the process of finding friends and maintaining those relationships can be difficult. Here’s a guide to the types of friends there are and how to navigate those different relationships.

First up is the “associate.” This is a person that you met through someone else and you just happen to have some things in common with them. This person has the potential to level up the ranks, but the relationship is still fresh. Be open to enhancing the connection, but also be cautious of potential red flags.

Next is the “acquaintance.” The acquaintance is someone who you met on your own, but they’re still fairly new to you. You may be closer to them than an associate, mainly because the connection was initiated by you versus someone else that you know. Again, be open but cautious.

The “work friend” is next. This is the friend you make at your place of work, normally while bonding over shared hate for an authority figure or maybe a shared project. These relationships are quite easy to develop, seeing as you see the person quite often. The only snag of this relationship is that the boundary between personal and professional needs to be kept in mind.

Next up, the “regular friend.” This is who people are typically referring to when they reference friends. This person is someone you hang out with a lot, someone you talk to often, and someone who you trust. You and this person have a pretty solid bond that can always be built upon. I would say to still be cautious of these people because they can still turn out to be foul.

Finally, there’s the “best friend.” There’s no one closer to you than your best friend. You and your best friend do everything together, from shopping to skydiving. This is the one person you know, with all your heart, truly cares about you and will always have your back. 

With any of these types of people, you should always be aware of “fake” friends. People can always seem to be great and then turn out to be manipulative. You could be friends with someone for 10 years and when the opportunity presents itself, they stab you in the back for whatever reason. 

In these situations, it’s best to approach them as a lesson, not a failure. Sometimes, you truly never know people, and that’s okay. The most important thing is that you analyze what went wrong and apply it to new scenarios and people.

I have been through each of these types of friends in my 18 years of life and I can definitely say that each of them brings their own different trials and tribulations. Growing up, it was really hard to make friends and I never truly understood why. Later on, I realized that it wasn’t about me and it was more about the people I was trying to be friends with. 

My advice to anyone still struggling to make friends would be to assess your personality and values. Don’t necessarily look for someone with those exact qualities, but look for someone who has similarities. You also want to be able to grow from the friendship, so look for differences as well. Most importantly, don’t compromise yourself just to find a friend. You’ll regret it, trust me.

I hope this article helps all of you make new friends and maybe it’ll give you some insight on your current friendships. Either way, good luck!