The 6 Must-Have Friends
The Well-Rounded Friends
So what are the five types of friends that will round out your social wardrobe?
The Work Friend. This relationship is so important that Dr. Yager coined a term for it: a "workship." Having an office pal, she says, "boosts productivity, makes the day go faster, and work more fun." Sylvia, 36, of Brookline, Massachusetts, says her workship is the only reason she survives her "heinous job" at all. "She saves my life every day. We bitch about our boss, fantasize about changes we'd make if we overthrew her, share dirt on who's good to work with and who's not. And we laugh," Sylvia says. "My husband commiserates when I come home, sure, but he's not there."
Just be on guard: If only one of you gets that promotion, things could get uncomfortable. Try to discuss it in advance if you can. Also, if one of you happens to leave the job, the friendship still has promise, says Yager. "Workships often blossom into friendships when they're no longer workships -- because then you can really let down your guard."
The Friend in Your Kid's Class. Your kids are angels, no doubt, but that doesn't mean they have an adult perspective on what's going on in school. "You absolutely need someone to help you check out whether the teacher is really that 'unfair,' the sixth-graders are really dating, or the cliques are really that bad," says Paul. For Nicole, 35, of Charleston, South Carolina, her co-mom keeps her not only informed, but also less isolated. "Almost everyone is all coiffed and perfect, and I'm just talking about the kids -- so you can imagine what the moms are like," she says. "My messy self really doesn't fit in. Thank goodness for Lara, the one other mom like me, and the only one I can hang out with at the science fair."
The Friend Who's Known You Forever. "This friendship is priceless," says Paul, noting that when she recently bumped into an old crush at the mall, there was only one friend she could call to giggle about it. "She keeps your memories alive by sharing them with you."
"If I met her today we might not be friends -- that's one thing I love most. She's so unlike all the friends I've made more recently," says New Yorker, Melissa, 29, of her dear childhood pal. "Other people can learn all our buzzwords and inside jokes, but she and I invented them!"
Friends you grew up with aren't just fun throwbacks; some can serve as sister stand-ins. "As a single only child with few cousins, I wonder sometimes who'll lend a hand when my parents start to need more help," says Corinne, 35, of Lexington, Massachusetts. "But I also know that my friend Lucy, who's been around since I was 2, will always be there for things like that."