Conscious living requires us to increase our awareness of the aspects of life that affect our actions, thoughts, contentment and values. Our friends are an important part of this process.
The other day I found myself concerned that I was being too tough on one of my dearest friends. While I know that I wear the straight talker hat in all my important friendships I do recognize that sometimes a “kid gloves” approach may be called for. This got me thinking abut the types of friends we should have in order to live our very best lives.
- The Adventurer – Routines suck all the fun out of life. They make us comfortable and complacent. This friend makes sure you never lose sight of the fact that life is what you make it. They jolt you out of your easy routine and encourage you to try new things and take a few risks.
- The Straight Talker – Sometimes, we all need to be told when we’re being straight up ridiculous. Never out to hurt you, but not here to shield you either, this friend tells it like it is. Their basic philosophy is that if you want something sugar coated, you should go to a bakery. They are confident and comfortable with their own life, so they have no axe to grind. What they say might not be what you want to hear, but one day you’ll realize it was what you needed to hear.
- The Work Advisor – This friend might be a co-worker, your old high school buddy or even your neighbor. However you met him or her, you know that they have wisdom when it comes to making important life choices about where to work, when to ask for a raise and how to decide when it’s time to make a change, etc. You might not share a love of chocolate cake and red wine (tsk, tsk), but when it comes to work, this friend knows more than anyone.
- The Unlikely Friend – Opposites do attract. If you put all of your friends in one room, this one might not fit in. They are an excellent reflection of the conflicting views others hold in comparison to your own ingrained ideas and believes and help you to develop and cement your own views and values. The unlikely friend makes life richer and allows you to be all of who you are. Learn from them and become a better, more open person.
- The ‘Not Boyfriend’ Boyfriend – Whilst that age-old debate continues to rage about whether men and women can be true friends and nothing else, there’s no doubting the importance of a good male friend. Men’s handy ability to compartmentalize their lives and general refusal to sweat the small stuff can help us girls realize a lot of the things we worry about really are utterly trivial.
- The Mum – Living approximately 29,000kms from home made me miss my mum a whole lot so finding someone to stand in for her was natural. This friend is a perpetual mother-in-training, they love nothing more than to fuss over their friends and plan fun social activities. This friend is like a tight hug on a dreary day and a reminder that todays’ tough issue too shall pass.
- The Sister – You’ve known her for years. She knows where the bodies are buried and has never told anyone or judged you in any way. If you were to become a celebrity, she could write your autobiography and retire a millionaire. Years can pass without you getting the chance to spend time together, but when you do it’s like you’ve never been apart. You are family.
- The Older friend – Ever wish you had a crystal ball that tells you how the future will turn out. This friend comes close and they will have you reflect on something that you’re doing in life right now that may affect your future later. Hanging around them, you will learn by example how to react when life takes a swing at you.
- The Younger friend – I don’t feel old at all (wait well I do a little; when I work out and my knees threaten to excommunicate the rest of my body) but have you noticed how the “kids” today seem to be speaking a different language and sometimes you just have no idea what they are saying or what is going on? A younger friend serves to keep in touch with the younger generation (especially important if you have kids or want to be seen as “hip”). They give you a fresh perspective of what’s happening in the world and also remind you of how much you have matured. It’s also rewarding to have someone who you can offer some advice to.
Great friends help us become more resilient, build our self esteem, make us face our own bullshit and at the end of the day, simply keep us sane.