When you reach the crossroads of your mid-twenties, a strange and common phenomenon occurs: friends, family, former lovers, new lovers, acquaintances, etc. begin to choose very definitive, yet divergent life paths. All of a sudden, the kid who was notorious for blacking out in college is now running his own real estate start-up and earned his masters from Columbia? Meanwhile, the most popular girl from your hometown is still living with her parents, dating that kid who used to copy your homework, and is working part-time at the same high school you both attended.
As we get older, it’s inevitable that the people we know will start to grow and change in different directions. Some friends will move in with significant others, get engaged, or relocate to other cities. Others are fixated on building their careers, enjoying being single and dating, or are still finishing up their master’s degrees. Of course, none of these lifestyles are mutually exclusive, but it’s easy for people to get caught up in labels as we continue to mature and settle into long-term lifestyles. For those of us who are there, or know someone who is, here are the 15 types of friends you’ll have in your mid-twenties, and when you can (and can’t) depend on them.
1. The (Basically) Married Friend
The (Basically) Married Friend has been living with their S.O. for some time now, is probably coming up on 5 years together, and is basically engaged without the label. If you invite this friend to an event or weekend getaway, expect that they’re going to want a plus one. This friend can still be independent, but at the same time, feels like everything is better with their S.O around. A small part of you resents them for this, but you also can’t help but feel happy for them because they’ve found true love.
Good for: dating and life advice, staying in with wine and Netflix, going out and dancing without getting grinded up on.
Bad for: commiserating over the struggles of dating apps, reminiscing about that one time you had a threesome on MDMA.
2. The Perpetually Single Friend
The Perpetually Single Friend has never been in a serious, long-term relationship, but is obsessed with the idea of finding a significant other. They’re constantly checking dating apps, inviting you to random events so you can “meet someone,” and creating excuses to talk to that cute guy at the end of the bar when you just want to get drunk. This friend is so infatuated with love that they don’t even know what they’re looking for in a boyfriend, but they’re not going to stop until they find one.
Good for: needing an excuse to get dressed up and hit the club, pouring back shots of tequila while flirting with a group of rich finance bros so they’ll pick up your bar tab.
Bad for: deep conversations, work events, and anything of professional nature.
3. The Twenty-Something Spinster
The Twenty-Something Spinster is not my friend. They are the antithesis of fun, youth, and spontaneity. The alleged struggle of the real world has turned them into Cinderella – they can no longer stay out past midnight without turning into a pumpkin. This person prefers solitude to company, and regularly partakes in simple activities on weekends, such as reading, cooking and staring wistfully out the window while life passes them by. Maybe this person was fun once, but now they’re too old to enjoy anything without complaining.
Good for: an ego boost, getting an early glimpse into death.
Bad for: embracing your 20’s, doing anything that requires a pulse.
4. The Bad Romance Friend
The Bad Romance Friend is usually unaware they’re in an unhealthy relationship or at least pretending to be, but all of their friends know and openly discuss it like front page news. This friend’s relationship is so on-and-off that you’re afraid to make future plans with the two of them out of fear that they’ll no longer be dating. Worst of all, you’re secretly rooting for them to fail, because you know your friend deserves to be with someone who makes them happy, and is just dating for the sake of dating.
Good for: feeling great about being single, venting about work and fuckboys, board game night.
Bad for: acting as a wingman, planning weekend getaways because their calendar is already booked with weddings and other couple activities (they’ll be sure to remind you of this too).
5. The Peter-Pan Syndrome Friend
The Peter-Pan Syndrome Friend is afraid to grow up and be a real person. They probably don’t own a bed frame, have never opened a savings account, and are always ready to hit up a rave on a Tuesday night. You’re not really sure how they’ve gotten by for this long, but it’s starting to become a concern. You hope they’ll get their act together eventually, but for now you’re just trying to enjoy the ride.
Good for: any and all forms of debauchery, testing your limits.
Bad for: the environment, your diet, testing your limits.
6. The Career-Obsessed Friend
The Career-Obsessed Friend is that person who just waits for you to finish talking so they can start talking, about work. They would see you more, but they’re too busy with work. They’ll tell you it’s been great catching up, but mostly because it’s important to maintain positive connections. You know, for networking purposes. You’ll probably run into them again at a college alumni event, and they’ll definitely have business cards on hand.
Good for: networking, talking about your 5-year plan.
Bad for: feeling competitive, forming a genuine bond.
7. The Social Media Friend
The Social Media Friend is all over your newsfeed, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. They’re the first to tag you in memes, like your pictures, and share photos of you two together. To people who don’t know you well, you probably seem like BFFs, but in reality, this person is a better friend to you on the internet than they are in person. You’re just casual friends in real life, but best friends on Snapchat. Same thing, right?
Good for: picking a bomb-ass filter, an automatic Facebook like, making your life look more fun than it actually is.
Bad for: living in the moment, being social IRL.
8. The Needy Friend
The Needy Friend is the worst of them all because they’re incapable of survival without you. You’re their parent, friend, and social calendar all wrapped into one. They rely on you for weekend plans, deep emotional support, and everyday advice on how to function as an adult. It’s a lot of pressure, but you’ve somehow signed on for this responsibility, and you can’t back out now. Don’t be surprised if this friend puts you down as their emergency contact.
Good for: heart to hearts, a buddy for those events no one else wants to go to with you, feeling successful and needed.
Bad for: reciprocated emotional support, living together, trips that are just the two of you.
9. The Activities Friend
The Activities Friend is someone with whom you share a common interest. Maybe it’s binge drinking on a Saturday night, or going to spin every Saturday morning, but regardless there’s a shared understanding that you only hang out in the context of that one thing. You could have more in common outside of your mutual hobby, but neither of you have the time or energy to explore this friendship any further. Why fix a good thing if It’s not broken?
Good for: consistency, zero responsibility to reply to their texts on time.
Bad for: making an appearance at your birthday soiree, staying friends in five years.
10. The Home Friend
The Home Friend is someone you’ve known since childhood and has somehow stayed in your life for all these years. You’ve probably grown apart since high school, and sometimes wonder if you’d still be close if you met now. In spite of your differences, you know you’re obligated to include them in your bridal party one day because #friendship.
Good for: remembering the name of your seventh-grade history teacher, laughing about something your Mom said because they know your family all too well, reverting to an immature version of yourself.
Bad for: integrating them into your current social circle, reverting to an immature version of yourself.
11. The Work Friend
The Work Friend is your go-to person to complain to at work. You feel awkward when you’re on an e-mail chain together because you’re not used to conversing with them so formally. Whenever there’s an obligatory office happy hour or forced birthday celebration, you always have a buddy to stand with in solidarity. Plus, you never have to eat lunch alone.
Good for: g-chatting about your coworkers, advice on your crush when your actual friends are sick of listening to you, a future job reference.
Bad for: legitimately getting work done, weekend plans.
12. The Newly Settled Sally
The Newly Settled Sally is your girl who used to be single with you, but now that she’s dating someone, you haven’t seen her in months. Sally didn’t even bother to formally end things with you. She just started posting pictures with her new bae on Facebook, and you just knew it was over. Of course, when her relationship ends she’ll come crawling back to you, but in the meantime, she’s gone missing in action. Girl, bye.
Good for: something new and exciting to complain about to your therapist, frustration and anger that can be channeled into a solid workout.
Bad for: following through, commitment.
13. The Student
The Student is pretty self-explanatory: the friend you have who’s still in graduate school and on a completely different schedule. When you’re leaving work, they’re just starting to study for finals or going into their nightly rotation, so you rarely find time to see each other. Naturally, you’ve drifted because your lives are on completely different paths, but you still find time to get together and catch up every few months for the sake of friendship.
Good for: casual drinks after work, a break from the corporate world.
Bad for: complaining about your 9-5 job (they won’t get it), intense conversation.
14. The Friend Of A Friend
The Friend Of A Friend is someone you’ve known for so long that they’ve become your friend through shared experiences. You never seek out this friend one-on-one because you need your mutual friend to sustain the connection, but you still consider them a friend by definition. Sometimes you can’t help but wonder what your friend sees in them (you’re so much cooler), but you’re also happy you can all get along and be buds.
Good for: mixing up the dynamic, making fun of your mutual friend and bonding over their insanity.
Bad for: sharing a cab, running into them on the street because you actually have to stop and acknowledge them.
15. The Lifer
The Lifer is the friend equivalent of a husband. This friend is the person who knows you almost as well as you know yourself, and probably better than any of your other friends or family. With them, you can be The Needy Friend or The Perpetually Single Friend, but at the end of the day, you know they’ll always be loyal to you, no matter how much you both grow and change over time. This is the friend who’s your real maid of honor, even if you’re obligated to make it your sister or something. The Lifer is the sister you never had. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
Good for: someone to bunk with in the nursing home, picking up your future kids from soccer practice, eternity.
Bad for: keeping secrets from them because they always know when you’re lying.