1. The “life is okay” girlfriends
A lot of times when we describe someone as “nice,” we are doing so because there isn’t a lot of tangibly positive things to say about them… it’s a sort-of euphemism for “inoffensively boring.” But then there are the girlfriends who are just incredibly nice in the pure sense of the word, and who are there to remind you that life is good, even when you’re at your lowest. Let’s say you’re reeling in the painful few days directly after a breakup. You go to this friend and she is there with compliments about your personality, reminders of all the good that lies ahead of you, and reasonable thoughts on how to deal with loss in your life. Sure, you might not finish the night at four in the morning doing tequila shots off of the cheese-grater abs of the bartender to forget about your pain, but she is there with just the right mix of Gchat smileys and reassuring togetherness that makes you feel like your mother put a Hello Kitty band-aid on your fresh boo boo. She will leave nice comments on your Facebook photos about how you look “lovely!” and be a serene presence at the occasional lunch date where she talks about things she saw on Pinterest and makes you feel like everything is going to be alright. Sometimes, it’s good to have “nice” people around.
2. The “frenemy” girlfriends
The respect you have for this girl is so intricately tied in with the pulsing sense of competition that you are no longer sure which is the one that drives you to hang out with her. Your friendship is a tightly-crocheted blankie of similar career prospects, subtly biting Facebook comments, and a warrior-like sense of “only she is a suitable foe.” And said blankie covers the two of you with the warmth and familiarity that only a reliable competitor can bring. You see that she has just gotten a promotion? You are going to work twice as hard this week at your job. She is dating someone you find attractive? Fire up that OkCupid, because you have some zesty messages to send out to prospects in your area. Sure, it’s a bit unhealthy. And yes, you two would probably be the best of friends if you could only get over your childish game of one-upmanship. But there is something so addictive about your fight for the Iron Throne of Life Success that you are not going to let that usurper and her red magic take over what is rightfully yours.
3. The “more like sisters” girlfriends
You two go way back — like, so far back you can remember when you used to play MASH under the glow of a flashlight long after lights-out time at a sleepover and get disproportionally angry when your destiny was determined to be “living in a shack with the ugly boy from art class.” The two of you came of age together, and remained close all the way through the tumultuous years of adolescence into the early 20s. Now your relationship is less like a delicate flower and more like some kind of Cold War-era bunker, ready to withstand literally anything that life will throw at it. You speak mostly in a coded language of inside jokes and references that you have created from your many years together, and it acts as a kind of protective coating to all the changes that you are bound to face. Sure, you might get into an argument here or there, but all it takes is one well-placed “Lol, look at this video” message to erase the damage and remind you that fighting is futile and only the two of you will ever really get each other.
4. The “master and apprentice” girlfriends
Maybe she isn’t even that much older than you, but she has accrued enough life experience to make the bond feel like some kind of Kung Fu movie where you are learning all she has to teach before she evaporates into the next life in a cloud of cherry blossoms. (Also, my sole reference to Kung Fu is Kung Fu Panda, if that was unclear.) Sometimes you’re 15 and she’s 17 and she’s “gone all the way,” and thus it feels like she holds all of the mystical knowledge of the universe at her sexually experienced fingertips. Sometimes you’re still in school and she’s got a “real job,” so you are constantly trying to pick her brain for the secret code to success that will prevent your life from slipping into a debt-fueled mudslide of unpaid internships. And sometimes she really is a bit older and has gained a wealth of experience you have yet to encounter. In any case, the gifts of her friendship are many, and we must repay her words of wisdom with margaritas.
5. The “party” girlfriends
We all know this girl. And we love her, but we can’t hang out for too long unless we want to end up in the hospital with pneumonia because we got a condom lodged in our lung. But she is wonderful, and must hold a revered place in our lives, lest we ever forget the girl who lives inside all of us who longs to get on a Party Bus and do vodka shots whilst pressing her boobies against the window. That girl must never be forgotten, even as we mature into functional human beings, and it is up to party girlfriend to carry that torch. Her duty is a difficult one, but essential to the balance of the universe.
6. The “us against the world” girlfriends
She is the girlfriend who “gets it.” Perhaps she works with you, and understands all of the condescending slights you deal with on a regular basis as the highly outnumbered women in the workplace. Perhaps she’s delivering all of the most deft social commentary in your shared college class. Perhaps you only know her online, but her ability to understand the nuances of life as a woman is more precious to you than so many of the friends you encounter IRL on a daily basis. Your conversations with her always achieve a level of complexity and consciousness that are so deeply satisfying as to sustain you through the rest of your life which is filled with: mouth-breathers who talk about how they “hate the other bitches at the bar who dress like sluts just to get attention,” catcalls on public transportation, and media which presents about one fully-developed female character who doesn’t center around her love story per century. Shout out to all the girlfriends who “get it,” you are the real heroes.