Of all possessions, a friend is the most precious. Herodotus

Full disclosure! 

Friendships, other than my psychotherapist, have been and continue to be one of the softest and most reliable places for me to land when searching for fun and waves of laughter, as much as when reaching out for warmth, active listening and honest support. 

Some of my friendships today were born nearly forty-five years ago in my birth country, others more than twenty years since I arrived in Canada. Some friends I’ve met in other countries I lived in, and others have landed in other parts of the planet with whom I remain in contact. 

Numerous of my friends have died, perhaps sadly too early. They live in me, deep under my skin. Some friendships ended because they couldn’t stand the passing of time and the typical struggles and changes attached to it. Sometimes, we grow and evolve in different directions with not enough points of connections to bridge the lives between friends. We are left to process the grief and move forward with the memories of those friendships and who we were then. 

I continue to set the intention to remain open to new friendships. As we age, new friendships inspire us to have long talks and the unfolding of profound stories of love, loss, adventures, heartbreaks, and wisdom. As we mature, the possibility of becoming more comfortable with vulnerability and genuine honesty of the heart seems closer for those willing to take a chance. Take a chance! Random encounters can lead to long-lasting and profound friendships. 

The kaleidoscope of friendships.

Some friends are like a car’s side mirror; they help us to see our blind spots. Those friendships invite introspection, mindful living, and growth when the truth is shared with kindness and empathy at heart. 

Real friendships invite us to experience a kaleidoscope of emotions like love, jealousy, frustration, joy, disappointments, worry, and so many more. An honest relationship with a friend does not lack disagreements, ruptures, and moments of distance that remind us how much we desire closeness and connection. 

One unconditional aspect of an enduring friendship is when we feel inspired by our friend’s strengths, resilience and capacity to walk through life experiences foreign to us that leave us to bear witness and vicariously see ourselves in them. 

From strong friendships to casual connections, they are all important.

“We learn surprising things when we have unplanned encounters and conversations with people,” a benefit people tend to underestimate. (Atir, S., et al., PNAS, Vol. 119, No. 34, 2022).

“Having a close friend or confidant is undeniably good for us, but psychologists have found that interactions with acquaintances—and even strangers—can also give our mental health a boost. A casual relationship with a hot dog stand operator in Toronto helped Gillian Sandstrom, Ph.D., feel grounded and connected while pursuing her master’s degree. The relationship also inspired Sandstrom, now a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Sussex, to start studying “weak” social ties.” (American Psychological Association Journal, Zara Abrams)

Romantic relationships find an essential source of intimacy and connection in maintaining a solid friendship between the parts. At the same time, friendships outside the romantic connection with your significant other-s can be enriching and fulfilling. 

An 85-year-long study conducted by Harvard University found that friendships and social fitness are some of the highest predictive of feeling that we have a happy life.

There are different types of friendships. Let’s be open!

We experience freedom in friendships because we get to choose our friends. With time, we even tend to curate the type of friendship circle we want in life. We learn to discern when and how to stay, when to walk away, who brings out the best in us, and when boundaries are reciprocated as a sign of safety and respect for each other’s individuality.


These relationships are more surface and casual with less emotional involvement. We meet them at parties or through other friends’ connections and have light-hearted interactions. We might interact in a friendly way with them on social media or help each other occasionally, such as for social networking.

Close and intimate friends

These are the friends with whom we share more interests and, above all, we share similar values. There is a stronger bond; we trust them with our deepest struggles, fears and desires. Our ‘besties’ are our confidants and to whom we are more likely to seek comfort and advice. We tend to spend quality time with them, and the level of accountability and loyalty is deeper than in casual or social friendships. Some close friendships can also involve a platonic element in the relationship.

Work friends

Friendships that evolve at our workplace provide social support and contribute to feeling more satisfied at work and, in some cases, more productive. Work friends help to navigate job stressors and lower the occurrence of burnout. Friendly interactions at work can uplift our sense of belonging and improve our mental health. Work friendships are very important in our lives.

Lifelong friends

Lifelong friends witness our life transitions, family dynamics, losses, traumas, etc. They understand what shaped us to be the way we are today. Even if we are not close, they have seen us grow throughout life’s journey. There is a reciprocal understanding and valuing each other’s feedback and advice. They are an important point of reference in our lives.

Same chapter friends

We create a sense of fellowship with those who are going through similar experiences, such as having a first child, divorcing, attending school, etc. These types of friendships are meaningful because of the learning, support and camaraderie that is necessary to navigate some of our chapters in life. These friendships contribute to preventing burnout, loneliness, and isolation.

Epitome friends

You go to these friends for encouragement and motivation, either to share the fun and joy of life or when you are going through a dark time. They are likely to be emotionally stable and offer non-judgmental support. They elevate our spirit and sense of well-being with their presence and companionship.

Social and casual friends

These are super important friends with whom to have fun, be silly, invest in social gatherings and expand our circle of friends. These friendships are easy and offer the right frame for low-pressure conversations.

Some of these friendships are your gym, yoga or art class buddies. These friends are valuable because they help us to break the routine circle of friends when, at the same time, we share the same interests.

Last note

Sometimes, we either go through periods of time when we distance ourselves from friends, or there are some intimate conversations we prefer not to have with our circle of close or lifelong friends. Some of us will then opt to meet with a psychotherapist with whom we can be true to ourselves, given the safety, expertise, and non-judgmental space that psychotherapy can offer.


“Close friends are truly life’s treasures. Sometimes, they know us better than we know ourselves.” Vincent Van Gogh