The Five Friends Everybody Needs

The Five Friends Everybody Needs

Last week I had a chance to reconnect with a friend from years back. We stood in the parking lot at Hobby Lobby for only a minute, but by the time we headed our separate ways, we were both laughing.

I remembered all the times we’d shared stories of our sons’ lives – concerns, prayers, and the hope that they would make lifestyle changes. That was 18 years ago. I smile as I look back and realize how much has changed. All except our friendship. It’s as though I just went out to lunch with her yesterday.

Where would we be without faithful friends?

Once in a very blue moon we come across a friend who seems to meet every need of the moment. But truth be told, no one person can be all we need in a friend. It makes a lot more sense to have several friends – strong in one or two qualities – because one person can’t fulfill every friendship function.

If we had five friends, each personality strong in one area, it seems we could consider ourselves exceptionally blessed.images

The Comic – a friend who can help us “lighten up” and laugh at ourselves. If a merry heart is good medicine, there are days we need a large dose of it to keep our spirits up. In the rare times that I feel despondent, I don’t want a sympathizer as much as I need a lighthearted companion and a play date.

The Challenger – Some of us don’t like to be challenged. Ever! But there’s no doubt we need this person in our lives. While it’s true that God’s Word can challenge and the Holy Spirit convicts, sometimes we just need a person who will go toe to toe with us and say, “How much longer are you going to ignore this?” She leads me to recognize the lies I may be listening to and find the truth.

The Coach – Coaching is not the same as challenging. The Coach is a person who is energized by life because she has learned how to live well. That person is usually strong and has overcome many tough situations. I can lean on her and draw strength and wisdom for my own battles. I feel her absence most when I’m in a quandary about what to do next.

The Constant Supporter – this is the loyalist. A friend who will not desert me in my darkest times. When I’m hateful and ugly, she’s still there with a kind word and prayers for my emotional healing. I can trust her with any information – she’s dogged about confidentiality. When I’m sick, she’s at the door with a pot of soup and fresh flowers. A friend who sticks closer than any sister.

The Chance-Taker – Here’s a friend who can nudge me out of the doldrums by daring me to go on a new adventure. It may be a idea about taking a longed-for trip,  decorating my living room or learning to paint. She helps me face my intimidations and fears and be willing to take risks I’d never consider without her.

Hardly a week passes that I don’t thank God for the friendships I’ve experienced over the years. In my lifetime, I’ve lived in nine different cities. In each place there are friends who I’m still in contact with. They become more precious as time passes.

There are friends I’ve lost too. Perhaps they were only for a season. But when I think about what they contributed to my life at the time I know they were sent by God.

I want to be a good friend. I’ve had all five of these people in my own life and I’ve played the role of each of these in someone else’s. I can’t even imagine how bleak the days would be if I thought a friend wouldn’t be around just when I need one.

Just before I put my phone away last night, I heard the little tweet signaling a text message. It was from one of my closest friends. She was encouraging me that as spring comes it’s a reminder that the old season is passing away and something brand new is emerging. She said, “In many ways, your winter walk…is over and you know spring is ready to burst forth. New buds are sprouting here and there. But there are vestiges of winter still clinging to the branches. These are overlapping times, changing seasons. How wonderful it is to look forward to the future with you, my dear friend!”

How beautiful to receive that kind of encouragement just before bedtime. Makes for very sweet dreams.

Might you check the list and see what kind of friend Jesus is calling you to be today? It’s a ministry greater than you can imagine.

…But I have called you friends… ~John 15:15



  1. This is very thought provoking. I have prided myself as having many wonderful friends and being a good friend. But, I could only identify a particular friend for 2 of the categories. Unfortunately, there were many names that came to mind who fit no category. Maybe many I have thought of as friends are just very familiar acquaintances. And even worse, I identified a whole group for whom I am the friend who fills one of those roles without reciprocation. Hmmm! Maybe it is time for me to do some house cleaning.

    • Really love this comment, Greg. I do believe there comes a time that a friendship no longer serves a purpose for either person. It’s sometimes hard to let go just out of habit, but time to do it anyway. You’ve been my good friend and I appreciate you immensely!

  2. I’m over-the-top grateful for our friendship, Cathee. Great piece.

  3. Wow!! You could write s book on friendship. I had just finished a conversation with a friend here in my office who has been one of my sister friends for over 30 years. We sharing how blessed we are, in spite of a few speed bumps. Our hearts and eyes teared up as we recounted blessings. Then I read this and you so captured my thinking and I thought of my dear friends in each of the 5 areas. Now I wonder how I have filled the cap for others. I feel like I won the friendship lottery many years ago and I am living on the interest of the blessing over and over. Cathee, you have taught me so much by our friendship and you are a treasure in my life. Thanks again.

    • You have been a friend extraordinaire to me, Cynde. I could fill a page with the many experiences we’ve shared in our long term 44 year friendship. I love you beyond description. Loved your comments and the story!

  4. Many a friend of mine fits all the areas – often in the one visit. I don’t want to “box” anyone in…we are all evolving and growing and what is one’s inexperience on the grand scale of life, is viewed by another as “experienced”. I often am reminded that I had no clue how I happened to be influencing another – and only years later discovered the depth. It is humbling to think that we have an incredible range of influence all in “ignorant bliss”. Be true to yourself – and categorizing may lead to tending to rely on someone for a particular role that isn’t meant to be. Even when relationships seem to dry up you never know when you or that person needs the rekindling so my motto is to keep the lines open. A tip- referring to friends as “best friend” automatically excludes others as “lesser than” and that certainly doesn’t endear yourself to a potential solid friend – that person will always regard him/herself as not part of the “club / an outsider” and there will be always be a holding back.
    Since moving from South Africa I have made a deliberate effort to thank people for their friendships and to tell them how they have influenced me…the results have been quite amazing.

  5. Thanks for reminding how precious friendships are. How they are a gift from our Heavenly Father. Your writings makes me want to be a better friend to all.

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