A few years ago, Barking Up The Wrong Tree reflected on research 1 that identified the eight different kinds of friends you need. But it struck me that this is really a primer on the eight different kinds of friend you need to be to others.

Remember the old saying, “to have a friend is to be one”? Well there’s more than one way you can be a friend to someone and you’re probably not making the most of all your opportunities here. I’m not saying you should try to cover all the bases. It’s unlikely any one person could really fulfill all the eight roles to best effect. Instead, I’m using this as a checklist to reflect on:

  • the friendship roles I’m good at,
  • the roles I’m bad at, and
  • the roles I’d like to focus more on.

I’m also using this as a way of being more reflective about what my various friends actually need from me. For example, I tend to do a lot of ‘mind-opening’, but actually, this may not always be very useful. If I’m honest, it might well just be annoying.

“What do you need right now?” might be a good phrase to practice!

Eight ways to be a friend

  • The Builder
  • The Champion
  • The Collaborator
  • The Companion
  • The Connector
  • The Energizer
  • The Mind Opener
  • The Navigator

  1. Well, Tom Rath’s 2006 book, Vital Friends↩︎