The 6 Friends You Need In Your Circle In 2016

The New Year, for many, is the perfect opportunity for you to vocalize your commitment to making lasting change. Resolutions to get healthier, spend more time doing the things you love, take a leap of faith in advancing your career or embark on a new venture altogether were likely on your list in one form or another. But not everyone around you is as committed to your growth as are. That’s when you start to reevaluate your circle of friends, swearing off frenemies and deleting old flings from your contacts.

You might start to resonate with Badu’s “Apple Tree,” realizing you need to be picky about the people you choose to grow and surround yourself with. I mean, Kanye just dropped “Real Friends,” then Badu followed up with “Trill Friends,” both tracks specifically referring to using the term “friend” too loosely.  

Not to mention, the older you get the more you start to realize the importance of quality over quantity. Your tribe determines your vibe. It’s vital that those closest to you value and inspire you, or are at least dedicated to well-deserved lituations after a hard day at work.

So, what types of friends should you have in your circle? There are quite a few but I’ve narrowed it down to 6. 

1. The provocateur

There’s a reason this person is first on the list. Not to be confused with the frenemy, the provocateur is another one you love to hate. They offer you much-needed advice, even when it’s a hard pill to swallow, and almost always have a counter-argument for your stance in any given situation. This person is not a hater, nor do they aspire to be but they invite you to assess every situation from all angles. They might be older or just wiser. In any case, at the end of a conversation with this person you might find yourself saying, “thank you for your insight, I never thought of it like that before.” Disagreements can be healthy. Balance is what this friend offers and what we should all strive to achieve.

2. Your married (or might-as-well-be-married) friend

This friend’s relationship status shouldn’t matter but it sort of does. There is something to be appreciated here. Your married or monogamous friends are a constant reminder to consider what is of most importance: Love. And I mean expressing that in your work and your personal life. When you wake up, do you tell yourself you love you or do you wait for someone else to? Do you call your parents just to say “hey” or “thank you” or “I love you” or send your sibling “I’m proud of you” texts just because? Never forget to let someone you care for know that you’re thinking of them and they matter to you. Ultimately it is the relationships we choose to cultivate that contribute to our happiness. 

3. The optimist

This person is truly a blessing. They lift your spirit just by being in your presence. This person is your go-to whenever there is a crisis or you need a confidence boost. For some, this person is a phone call or a prayer away. For others, it’s encouragement through song, inspiring you to draw from your inner strength and persevere. This person will support you no matter what, as long as it makes you happy. Their motto is somewhere along the lines of: “Stay positive. Life happens. You’ll be ok.”

4. The improbable friend

Improbable only because no one knows what you two have in common. You too have no idea, but for some strange reason, it works. This is the person who takes you outside of your comfort zone and introduces you to new things just by being so different. For instance, your friend may enjoy spending their Saturday mornings hiking just as the sun is rising whereas you will quickly hit the snooze button on the idea. But this is where compromise comes in. This weekend vow to take that hike after all and next week it’s no alarms and late brunch on your friend. Sometimes people can add to the richness of your life in the most peculiar ways. 

5. The socialite

This is your friend who is, for lack of a better word, the plug. This friend always knows what’s going on in and around your city. They’re the life of the party and always down to accompany you on a night out no matter the scene. This person reminds you that it’s okay to loosen up and let your hair down. You work hard to play hard. And this friend is there for all your wild nights and Instagram-worthy moments.

6. Your industry friend

Much like the socialite but on the business side of things, this friend is always inviting you to networking events, reminding you to mark your calendar for the next power summit or industry conference. This person plays such an important role in keeping you on your toes and keeping your eyes on the prize. Rubbing elbows with people who inspire you and making truly valuable connections will ensure longevity as you move more toward achieving your career goals. (Please note: This should not be a one-way street! Be supportive of your friend’s aspirations and goals as well.)

As we transition into a new year, new time and space, start by picking your friends like you pick your fruit. Be mindful of which friend you are and how you can maintain meaningful relationships.

This article was originally written for Blavity.com by DeJanae Evins.