These 5 Friends Will Make Your Life Better

Judging by social media, you’d think that practically every adult in America has a zillion friends. Not true. Adults have five close friends on average — and most of these close friends are similar types of people.

It seems that we naturally gravitate toward people who are like us. While that may make communication and empathy a lot easier, it also limits how much you learn. Friends are one of our greatest sources of information. If your friends are all similar in personality, knowledge and experience, you can imagine how that could seriously limit your growth.

If you really want to push yourself and become well-rounded, you’ll need to branch out by welcoming a variety of mindsets in your social circle. Different hobbies or lifestyles is great, but we’re focusing more on character traits that can beneficial to have around.

The 5 Friend Types You Need in Your Life

Having these friends in tow can seriously improve your financial savvy, as well as inspire you to learn more about the world and how things happen.

The Hard Worker

You’re over there YOLOing on kayaking tours and rock concerts while this friend is working a full-time job, freelancing on the side for extra cash and building a business plan. Oh, and she already has her Master’s. Even if you want to have your avocado toast and eat it too, there’s lots to be learned from The Hard Worker.

Following her lead will get you closer to your personal and professional goals, not to mention your dream of being mostly debt-free. Working hard doesn’t have to mean completely forgoing fun in favor of 80-hour work weeks, or completely renovating a fixer-upper when your DIY skills are middling at best. But when you need a little extra push to pay off debt or save for retirement, your hardworking BFF is probably the best person to give you advice on how to get there.

The Adventurer

When you need a little inspiration, look no further than The Adventurer. He’s constantly learning, exploring, and experiencing new things, and doesn’t understand the meaning of FOMO (he never misses out!). An adventurous friend might drop everything and jet off to Zambia on a whim or apply to a job where he’d have to learn new skills on the fly.

Besides being an amazing travel companion, The Adventurer is great at opening their friends’ eyes to new ideas, cultures and experiences.

The Older & Wiser One

There are definitely some DOs and DON’Ts of personal finance, but for most of us it takes trial and error to figure out what they are. Good news: Your older slash wiser friend has already made the mistakes that you could avoid by listening to their anecdotal stories. That could help you avoid some of the more dangerous errors; for example, falling behind on your car payment when you could have called your credit union and negotiated.

In short, if you have a friend who has found success in an area (say, they’ve risen on the career ladder or paid down debt), this is someone you should seek guidance from. Also keep in mind that “older and wiser” can be subjective — while you may be older in years, they have more life experience.

The Challenger

We all love having “cheerleader” friends who are upbeat and supportive no matter what we do. But if all of your friends are the rah-rah type, you’re missing out. Having a friend who asks questions or challenges your thought process can open up your mind to new ideas. It can also make you think about aspects of a situation that you’ve overlooked.

You:

I’m thinking about changing my major to psychology.

Them:

Great! What’s the job outlook like in that field?

You:

Hmm… I guess I should look at salaries. And job openings.

You:

My partner and I are buying a house together!

Them:

Wow, you’ve only been dating three months. What happens if you split up?

You:

We won’t.

Them:

But if you did…

A friend who challenges you to think can be extremely valuable, though what they say may sometimes be hard to hear. We all want to think our decisions are best. So, it’s important to remember that The Challenger’s “tough love” is dished out with our best interests at heart.

The Smarty Pants

While The Challenger knows how to examine a dilemma from every angle, The Smarty Pants may actually hold the right answer. We aren’t just talking about someone naturally intelligent, either. This is the friend who combines innate good judgement with knowledge gained from research, book learning and/or experience. She’s the one who carries your team on pub trivia night and consistently beats you at puzzles and logic games.

The Smarty Pants is often the one you turn to when you’ve done research but have come up empty on what to do. She may have ideas that you haven’t even considered. The Smarty Pants can also help you gauge if you’re on the right track. When in doubt ask yourself, “What Would Smarty Pants do?”

It’s a Social Circle, Not a Straight Line

With these five friends by your side, you’ll be better equipped to tackle any challenge — financial or otherwise — that comes your way. Not to mention you’ll likely end up with a more open mind and a wider variety of experience. Having a diverse social circle is like having an expert in every aspect of adulting just a call or text away!

The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.