A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

Here Are 8 Types of Best Friends Every Adult Woman Should Have

These types of best friends should be in every modern woman's social circle (hey, #squadgoals).

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The fashion diva

She’s the one you trust to help you pick out anything, from a wedding dress to a bathing suit. “My friend Sandy carries the coupons, and knows where the sales are,” says Brooklyn-based life coach Noreen Sumpter. “When we go shopping, she pulls what will work for my body type, puts me in a dressing room with super-looking clothes, and tells me the truth about how I look. That takes a special kind of female friendship.” Sumpter’s ready smile might be enough to get her through any door, but Sandy’s fabulous fashion sense doesn’t hurt. “When Sandy picks my outfits, I know I look great. It’s not just her flair, either,” Sumpter adds. “It’s that she cares enough about me to make sure I look fabulous.” (These style secrets will help you put together a well-edited wardrobe.)

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The back-in-the-day bestie

It’s validating to have the types of best friends who really “get” you, and know your history. “It’s important for emotional stability, to feel like you are not alone in the world, and a friend like this satisfies that need,” says psychotherapist Marni Rosner, PhD. “This type of friend is usually someone you’ve known for a long time, although friendships like this, which often seem quite magical, can happen at any time if we’re open to them.” The pal who has known you since forever may be the one you walked hand-in-hand into kindergarten with, or your college roommate. She may even be the woman who introduced you to the love of your life. Chicago-based author and mom Iris Waichler has a warm story about her back-in-the-day bestie: “I was lying on my couch when Shannon, my roommate, came in with this guy. He’d been riding his bike, and was in a minor fender bender. Physically, he was OK, but felt traumatized because he was recovering from yet another bike accident half-way around the world in Nigeria. I had just returned from climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, so we had a lot to talk about. Years later, when I married him, Shannon shared a funny story with our guests. She told everyone about the time that she and I were watching an episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show, in which Oprah warned single women, ‘You won’t get a man lying on your couch!” For once, Oprah was wrong! And I owe it all to my friend, who knew me so well that she dragged a dazed guy who’d just had an accident up to our apartment, knowing he’d be the one for me.” Here are the science-backed reasons why these kinds of friendships are so healthy for us.

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The golden circle girlfriends

It could be a circle of four or 10, but when like-minded women get together, emotions, as well as conversations, usually start to flow. Women’s groups have been popular for decades, and many continue to meet for years, fostering female friendships that can sustain you for life. These are the girlfriends you let your hair down with, and with whom you share your hopes, dreams, aspirations—and of course, complaints. “I’ve been in a women’s circle for seven years,” says Mill, Valley, California-based life coach Johanna Beyer. “I only see them once a month, but it’s so real. We deal with our ups and downs and support each other. This is where I go deep—heart and soul. It’s golden to me.”

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The wingwoman

She’s funny, flirty, and totally on your side. She’s also willing to distract the bro you’re desperately trying to separate from that cute, bearded guy in the tweed sweater. Guys have been scoring dates with the help of wingmen for years, but women have just gotten into the game. When you find a gal pal who has got her wingman skills down, hold on tightly to that friendship. Just don’t forget to return the favor when the guy across the room is more her type. See how dating experts recommend meeting and attracting new people. No longer single? The “wingwoman” friend can also be the one who emboldens you to go to PTA meetings, take up tennis lessons, or stand up for yourself during tricks social situations.

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The earth mother

She turned you on to green juice, quinoa, and Biena roasted chickpeas before they were a thing. She made you drink ginger tea when you had killer period cramps or morning sickness during pregnancy and always reminds you to breathe when you’re stressed. She’s earthy, but also down to earth. “My friend Earin is one of the warmest women I know,” says Monica Diaz, a law school student. “She oozes nurturing, and I really need that in my life. Earin is always there for me, suggesting things that will make me healthier, and trying to make sure I get enough sleep. I think there are tons of women who consider her their very best friend. She’s a giver,” says Diaz, who does her best to give back.

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The gym rat

Those 6 a.m. runs can get pretty lonely unless you have a pal to cheer you up those hills. If one of your best girlfriends is a fitness buff who loves company, you may be more likely to stick to a workout routine. It’s also great to have someone around who knows how to do all the trendy new workouts. “Cindy is into fitness, but not in a preachy way, she’s super cool about it. She may not be the friend whose shoulder I cry on, but she’s always there for me when I want to do a Zumba class,” says Aileen Schumann, a new mom who admittedly, is trying to lose a few pounds. “Cindy is gorgeous, but so willing to help that it’s impossible to hate her. And I’ve tried,” Schumann adds.

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The conspiratorial colleague

She’s the one who has your back at work. Whether you’re flinging fries at a fast-food restaurant or hammering up against the glass ceiling on Wall Street, she’s the one who clues you into workplace scuttlebutt, catches your mistakes and corrects them, and drags you out at 5 p.m. for a much-needed martini. She also keeps your secrets, and pumps you up at every turn, even saying you could be your boss’s boss. “Women are starting to trust themselves as leaders in the workplace,” Beyer says. “There’s less emulation of men, and more emphasis on authenticity. That opens them up to real friendships at work.” Of course, it also helps to develop good coworker relations with everyone at work, especially when you’re climbing the ladder to success.

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The hard-truth teller

“I want friends who call me on my stuff,” Sumpter says. “They know what I’m committed to and what I’m up to, and they have my back.” The truth-teller tells it like it is, but doesn’t make you feel bad about it. She helps you to get back on track, as needed, doesn’t throw your mistakes in your face, and cheers you on when you go for it, whatever it is, for you. “This is the kind of friend who doesn’t rip you to threads for eating one piece of chocolate cake when you’re on a diet, but who tells you to put the second piece down,” Sumpter adds.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Corey Whelan
Corey is a wellness and psychology writer based in New York City. Her work has been published by a wide variety of consumer sites, including Healthline, Verywell Health and Well + Good. Corey's groundbreaking in-person and online educational programs on family building have been covered by Newsweek, Time, Inc. and other outlets.