Connection is a big part of feeling whole.
As I talk to women in my 100 Coffee Chats project and ask them what’s missing in their lives, ‘friends’ come up frequently.
Yes, they have friends, but the friendships aren’t as close as they were when they were younger, or they’re not local.
While there are many reasons real friendships are harder to come by in your 40s, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it a priority.
As you assess who is currently in your life, it’s important to also look at what types of friends are missing in your life.
One of the beauties for people in their 40s is that they tend to be a little pickier on who they spend their time. There just isn’t enough time or energy to give it to the wrong people.
The challenge with everyone being more selective with their time is trying to find and establish the friendships you need to feel whole and happy.
On the flip side, the friendships you make or cultivate in your 40s tend to last.
So, if you’re on a quest to grow your network of friends, let’s look at the types of friends you need in your life to feel fully connected.
11 TYPES OF GIRLFRIENDS
The goal of friendships is to feel connected to others. Everyone wants to feel like they belong, that they’re understood and that they have something in common with those in their lives.
Unlike when you were younger where all of your friends were in one group (i.e. your classmates at school), as adults, you have different pockets of friends that may never come in contact with each other. That’s okay!
Some of your closest friends may fill several of these roles, which is awesome!
But, if you’re missing any of these and feel a little tug of desire when you read through the list, make a mental note and actively seek out new friends in those specific areas.
FRIEND #1 | CHILDHOOD BUDDY
There’s nothing quite like that person who has known you since you wore braces. She knows all about your first crush in middle school, your disastrous prom night, how excited you were to get accepted to the college of your dreams, and everything since.
She knows the ups and downs you’ve been through and has celebrated the successes and cheered you through the disasters.
The roots with your childhood buddy run deep, and nothing quite compares.
FRIEND #2 | I LIKE DOING THAT TOO FRIENDS
Whatever it is you like to do in your free time will be further enriched by finding others that like the same thing.
This girlfriend will get your quirky obsession with all things related to your hobby of choice because she’s right there with you.
Your shared love of the hobby may be the only thing tying you together, but if you are passionate about gardening, for example, finding fellow gardening enthusiasts will give you the ability to connect with someone that gets it (and you!).
FRIEND #3 | GATHER AROUND THE WATER COOLER FRIENDS
No matter what type of job you do, you need some work buddies to make the day a little brighter. The more friends you have at work, the more you’ll look forward to going to work!
Having someone to vent to about your boss or escape for a quick coffee break helps make the job better. Not to mention, it’s nice to have some folks that actually understand what you do from 9-5 each day!
FRIEND #4 | GYM BUNNY FRIENDS
It’s not secret that having a workout buddy vastly increases the likelihood of sticking to your workout goals. When you make plans to hit the gym or go for a run with a friend, no one wants to let them down by bailing.
If you have fitness goals that you want to get serious about, it’s time to find your Gym Bunny friend.
FRIEND #4 | I HAVE TINY HUMANS TOO FRIEND
For those with little ones in tow, having other moms in your circle will give you the support you need that non-moms may not get (as non-mom, I can relate to not feeling like I fully understand what my mom-friends go through).
Plus, they’re an extra hand if you’re in a bind and need a last minute sitter (at least, that’s what I hear!).
No one understands the stress, heartache, and love that a mother feels except another mother. Making time for other moms will give you that “I’m not the only one that does that!” realization!
FRIEND #5 | JUST THE 4 OF US FRIENDS
If you’re in a relationship, there’s something nice about having another couple that you both enjoy being with to share dinners, events, etc.
While you and your partner don’t need to share all of your friends, having a few couple friends opens the door to different experiences for both of you.
FRIEND #6 | CHEERLEADER FRIEND
This friend is always in your corner, believes in your wildest ideas, backs you up on your dreams, and sees the rainbow in your misery.
She’s important to have around when you need a pick-me-up or a reminder that life isn’t quite as bad as your self-induced pity party would have you believe.
Everyone needs someone that’s in their corner, and your Cheerleader friend fits that bill perfectly (miniskirt and pompoms optional).
FRIEND #7 | IN CASE OF EMERGENCY FRIEND
I’m not talking about your I-just-ended-up-in-the-ER contact (although, having one of those friends is awesome too!).
This friend is the one you call up when you’re nervous before your first date after your divorce; or when you find out your husband got laid off; etc.
This friend is your go-to crisis management friend that can listen, calm you down, not judge, and allow you space to vent, cry, and be a little crazy.
The beauty of this friend is that you know she doesn’t mind boosting you up when you’re in an emotional bind.
FRIEND #8 | CLASS CLOWN FRIEND
This friend is the one that makes you laugh so hard you can’t breathe. She’s the friend that brings out your goofy side and allows you to act like a kid again.
Hanging out with her is always a blast and is just the medicine you need when, well...anytime is a good time to hang out with her.
FRIEND #9 | PACK YOUR BAGS FRIEND
Everyone needs a girlfriend getaway from time to time, but unfortunately, no matter how close you and your friends are, when you hit the road with them, sometimes the compatibility is just not there.
Let’s face it, we don’t all travel the same, so having a friend or two that enjoys the same type of traveling as you gives you that person to get out of town with when you need a break.
FRIEND #10 | ADVENTURE SEEKER FRIEND
The adventure seeker friend pushes you to your edge, and everyone needs that from time to time.
Whether it’s horseback riding through a Costa Rican rain forest (been there, done that!), this is the friend that will encourage you to try things that you will remember forever.
Just make sure your adventure seeker friend does so on the legal side of things! Having a friend that lands you in jail is NOT a friend you need!
FRIEND #11 | YOU’VE GOT MAIL FRIENDS
Online friends may not seem like ‘real’ friends, but many people have found and cultivated strong friendships that began online.
The beauty of online friends is that the pool is vast and it’s relatively easy to join groups that cater to your interests.
I’ve made several close friends this way and met one in person in San Francisco earlier this year and will be meeting another in Berlin later this summer.
This may seem like a LONG list of different types of friends and given that most women in their 40s are struggling to find one close friend it may seem overwhelming.
My advice isn’t to create a circle with all of these or that different women need to fill these roles for you.
One best friend could check off several of these boxes (mine does!).
The point is that as a multidimensional woman, you need friends that meet your different needs. This may come in the form of a few close friends that hit all the different areas, or multiple women.
Need some tips on how to make these friends, then check out my recent article on How to Make Friends in Your 40s!