What sort of friends do you need?

Updated: 19 May 2021

Friends are undoubtedly good for us. But we all have different ideas of what a friend is. What type of friends do you need in your life? Give our 'friendship needs' exercise a try.

5 female Oddfellows members enjoying having a pub lunch together.

Scientists around the world have come to the same conclusion – friendship is a lifesaver. It helps guard against depression and reduces stress. Those with close friends are nearly a third less likely to suffer heart disease or strokes. It even helps reduce physical pain. Good relationships – more than money or fame – are the key to happiness.

The older we get the more friends we need

American researchers have found that we change as we get older. In one respect older adults are like teenagers – what matters most is how many friends we have, whereas in middle age, when we are perhaps busiest, it’s the quality of friendships that counts.

In Australia scientists have shown that those who spend time with close friends live longer and those with the largest number of friends live the longest of all.

Remember, you're not alone in seeking friendship. You may be the new friend someone else if looking for too. Denise Turner, Deeside Branch

That might be hard to believe if you’ve just lost a loved one – a husband, wife or best friend. The truth is, they’re irreplaceable. But it’s often possible to find some of the aspects of support they gave you in others.

It’s worth spending a moment to think about what you want from a friendship. You may find different types of friends help meet different needs. Try this exercise to help think about what you need from friendships.

Line drawing of a pencil Try this exercise

Think about what you need from a friend and how different people might be able to meet different needs – don’t feel you have to find one perfect “super-friend” to tick all your friendship boxes! Can you think of any other friendship needs?

Box with a tick Someone I can go to events with

Box with a tick Someone I can share experiences with, like holidays

Box with a tick Someone I can talk to

Box with a tick Someone to give me a hug

Box with a tick Someone I can call if I’m in trouble

Box with a tick Someone who makes me laugh

Box with a tick Someone who values my company and makes me feel needed

Oddfellows friendship groups

We're always ready to welcome new members to our local Oddfellows friendship groups. You can find your nearest by using our Branch Finder, or use our Events Finder to search for social events and activities happening near to where you live.

Give the Oddfellows a try. There's no obligation to join. Contact us to request your free information pack and local events diary.

Read more advice on making friends and building social confidence in our friendship guides section.