If you've hung around here for any length of time, you'll know that I like making lists. I had been making Top Ten lists well before Lisa and I teamed up to create #TuesdayTen. (She had too, and that's what prompted the collaboration.) For some reason I think in lists. Looking back through my planning notebook, this idea came to me back in November. The idea took a while to fully form, but I think I've finally gotten in to a place where I can start writing it down.
I won't say that men don't need these friends as well, but I am a woman and I think and write like one.
1. A mom Whether this person is your actual biological mother or not is pretty much irrelevant. But every woman should have a person that they can turn to for nurturing. Someone to take care of them (whether in person or virtually) when they are sick or not feeling well. This person is there to give you a hug and get you back on your way.
2. An encyclopedia This friend is one who knows the answers. You can turn to this person when you need facts to back up a point, information to bolster an argument, or fix a flat tire.
3. A counselor This is a friend you can turn to for advice. This is a friend that you trust completely. Most importantly, you have to give this person permission to tell it like it is. Otherwise the advice you hear won't be as useful to you.
4. A trailblazer This might be someone you've never actually met. This is a person that you look up to, admire and strive to be more like. She's already standing in the place you'd like to be someday. She's steps ahead of you and leaving a path for you to follow.
5. A follower This person is filling a need opposite to the one above. Just as it is important to have a model, it is important to be a model. This follower looks up to you and is counting on you to give advice and encouragement to them.
6. A dependent I started to label this "a child," but I know that not everyone has, wants or can have children. And this isn't necessarily about offspring. This is more about nurturing in an unconditional, non-reciprocal way. Maybe it's a child, maybe it's a pet, maybe it's an elderly parent.
7. A spiritual model This person speaks to the light and hope within you. This person can be someone you actually know. Or this could be a historical figure or famous person that you only know through their writings or teachings. This is your go to person for deep theological or philosophical questions.
8. A teacher This person is in your life to teach you a skill or impart specific knowledge. More than just having loads of information and lots of stored facts, this person can sit down with you to demonstrate things to you and walk you through a process, correcting and encouraging along the way.
9. A way back when friend This might be your childhood best friend that you no longer see in person, but keep in touch with through Facebook. It might even be your sibling or cousin. This person knows where you come from, and in fact may share a common origin story. This person holds your largest collection of "remember when..." stories in her head.
10. A friend of the opposite gender This could be your spouse, brother, or other non-related friend. There are some times in life you need to tap into the thoughts of the opposite gender, for perspective; to see things from another, very different point of view.
Now, please don't misunderstand. I'm not saying you are doomed if you don't have each one of these friends. I'm also not saying that each of these personae has to come from a different person; they can certainly overlap. You might piece together different qualities of these friends from different people in your life. You might find different aspects of one "person" spread out among several friends.
What do you think? Do you have someone in your life to fulfill each of these needs? I feel slightly lacking in the "way back when" friend. I've got my brothers, but that's not quite the same. Take a minute to share this post with a special woman in your life!