My mom always said that there are three kinds of friends in this world: friends for a reason, friends for a season or friends for life. (My Mom loves rhyming advice.)
Lately, in the age of 500-plus Facebook friends, it’s a question everyone seems to be asking: Is real friendship dying? Which relationships really matter? And is it better to have one BFF — or an army of acquaintances?
I fall somewhere in between. I think we can splinter my mom’s three original categories into a list of the Top 10 friends every girl needs to get by — nay — to succeed, socially networked or not.
After all, you are the company you keep, but shouldn’t the company you keep help advance the you that you are?
Here are my recommendations if we were to take that number from 500 to 10:
1. A photographer friend
Want to feel really good about yourself and the faux-fabulous life you lead? Have an amazing photographer take some black & white action shots of you and your friends doing any number of ridiculous things. You’ll say things like, “Wow, we’re amazing, we look amazing, my god we’re having so much fun.” Is it 100% true? Who cares! It looks true in your Facebook album.
2. An accountant friend
You know what is just terrible? Turbotax. It’s confusing and time-consuming and somehow always more expensive than you imagine. Accountant friends are like living/breathing Turbotax, except you don’t have to remember any passwords. We’re young, so we don’t know just how much we need our accountant friends but trust me, they will be excellent to have in the bag once we start buying real estate.
3. A friend who knows wine
See, most people who know wine well are quite snobbish, so if you have a friend who really knows wine you could go to her instead of having to deal with some snooty sommelier. Or if your friend is some snooty sommelier you probably don’t mind, considering you’re already friends.
4. A friend who works for a fashion label/closet/magazine
See above. Note: Prepare for frustration on account of sample sizes.
5. A really handy friend
We of the never-did-anything-for-ourselves generation take for granted the importance of, say, wallpapering a room, laying tile or hanging a door. These needs are real, and real expensive if you don’t have someone who can teach-a-man-to-fish-for-you for free. I don’t personally have one of this type of friend, but I’m happy to consider anyone who’d like to apply.
6. A friend who can sew
Sadly, sewing skills are a thing of the past, which means tailors can charge whatever they so please for a quick hem or zipper fix. If you have a friend who can sew, she’d likely either fix your simple issues for free or agree to some form of barter. If she’s a very good friend she’ll likely try to teach you how to sew for yourself, but I recommend refusing because sewing is very challenging and takes a lot of patience.
7. A lawyer/doctor friend
These are grouped together because they are of equal value. Doctor’s appointments and lawyer fees are incredibly expensive, making having a doctor or lawyer friend much like having a friend who works for a fashion label/closet/magazine — free expensive advice and goods.
8. A friend who knows what to do with babies
There may come a time when you find yourself with a baby and no knowledge of what to do. In this case it’s really excellent to have a baby expert in your arsenal. This can/should probably be your mother, which wouldn’t count against your five closest friends, so if you’ve placed yourself in close enough proximity to yours, bravo — you’ve saved a friend slot.
9. A chef and/or really good cook friend
There is nothing more fantastic than attending the dinner party of someone who really knows what they’re doing in the kitchen. That’s all really, but shouldn’t be undervalued.
10. A friend who is in a really solid and admirable relationship
I learned most of what I know about relationships from WB TV shows spanning 1996–2000, so it’s been rough goings since “Felicity” went off the air. Having a friend in a solid relationship modeling mature and loving behavior toward a man would no doubt help me navigate the waters of post-grad dating so that I might have more success than I’ve had living by the examples of CW programming from ’01 to ’10.
• A friend who is a member of the Academy of Film & Television. Two words: free screeners
• A friend in a band. Your cool factor increases exponentially whenever you say, “I have this friend in a band …”
• A friend with a lot of older brothers. This worked incredibly well in high school and college, so there’s no reason to think it shouldn’t still work.
So anyway, that’s my (and my mom’s) two cents. Who else would you add to your must-have friend list?