One person cannot be everything to you. Every person on this earth is a unique combination of experience, instinct, chemistry, places, tastes, and the influences of every person they have known, and what’s amazing is that we can be different parts of ourselves around each of them. So naturally, friendships take lots of different forms. There are too many to list all of them, but here are some of the major ones. Most of us don’t have all of these people in our lives simultaneously; we may only know one or two at any given time—but if we’re lucky, we’ll come to know them all eventually. Maybe we’ll even be them all to different people, too.
1. The Friend You Didn’t Expect to Be Friends With

All illustrations by Esme.

All illustrations by Esme.

So you meet this person and they are just another random person to you. You don’t think much about them at all. You certainly don’t think, I MUST BE FRIENDS WITH HIM/HER. Then you’re thrown together somehow—a school project, a parental friendship, a fire drill, or maybe they’re smart enough to see potential where you didn’t—and you realize how wrong you were, and how much you enjoy spending time with this person. A pleasant surprise of a friendship, and one of the most rewarding.
2. The Friend Who Is “Cooler” Than You

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You’re slightly in awe of her. You kinda want to be her. Sometimes you wonder why she even hangs around with you; you feel so uncool next to her. You always end up learning a lot from this kind of friend—they take you places you never even knew about and introduce you to movies and music you’ll love for the rest of your life. And sometimes, when they laugh at one of your jokes, you feel like the coolest person in the world.
3. The Friend You Think Could Be More Than a Friend

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You get along so well, you love each other so much…could this be “more” than a friendship? Late at night, you try to imagine you and her as a couple. You think she does too. The question hangs in the air between you. But nothing’s happened…yet.
4. The Wise Friend

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The one you count on for sage advice. The one you run to in a crisis and tell all your secrets to. She’s a great listener, but don’t forget to let her lean on you sometimes, too.
5. The Deep-Conversations Friend

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No matter what time of day, every time you get together, you always end up discussing the most intense topics: the legalization of marijuana, mental health, what does love mean, etc.
6. The Vapid-Discussions Friend

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Oft undervalued, this friend is just as important as ol’ Deep Conversations above. Makeup, crushes, a second-by-second breakdown of every kiss—these things need to be discussed too! The two of you share the gory details of your own lives, and you enjoy hearing about hers just as much as you do telling her about your own.
7. The Friend Who Likes (Almost) All the Same Stuff

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Everyone needs a person they don’t have to explain every reference to. Someone you know you can invite along to a gig and they’ll be just as psyched about it as you. Someone who will understand your deepest feelings about a particular artist or filmmaker. Someone who will, most important, introduce you to new bits of culture that you know you will love and enjoy for the rest of your life.
8. The Friend You Haven’t Seen in Forever But it’s Like You’ve Never Been Apart

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Distance and time don’t affect your chemistry; you could go six months without seeing her and then fall right back into talking to her about the most mundane and funny things, without skipping a beat. This is a sign of a great friendship.
9. The Friend You Can Just Exist With

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This is perhaps my favorite kind of friend, because it’s so easy to be around them. You could be completely silent, half asleep, in a bad mood—it doesn’t matter. With these friends, you can just run along side by side, doing your own things, occasionally looking toward each other and smiling, knowing you’ll be together for a good long while.
10. All of the Above

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If you find this person, never let them go. But don’t go looking for someone like this—you can’t usually find everything you want in a single human being. Every friend you have brings something special to your life. (And the ones who don’t do not belong on this list at all!) ♦