Illustration for the article titled How to Choose the Best Kind of Friend for You according to AristotlePhoto: FrimuFilms (Shutterstock)

Aristotle was very astute about topics that are still urgent in modern times: friends of usefulness, pleasure and mutual admiration still exist, as well as the respective styles of friendship that one might encounter in the course of a relationship. You can filter Aristotle’s concept through the lens of modern psychology to better understand what kind of friends you have in your life and which ones best suit your needs for fulfilling relationships.

What types of friendships are there?

A team of German psychologists gave Aristotle a better performance in 2013 and divided the different ones Types of friendships in four categories. Scientists Martina Miche, Oliver Huxhold, and Nan L. Stevens studied the relationships of nearly 2,000 adults between the ages of 40 and 85 and found that there are four different patterns that define adult friendships.

These types of friendship are:

  • Demanding type of friendship: These are the closest types of relationships. As the researchers wrote: “Friends were irreplaceable and clearly distinguishable from acquaintances. These people usually did not make new friends in late adulthood, but kept their friends for a lifetime. “
  • Independent friendship style: People “are content to have a few people around for friendly interactions. Independent people shied away from building close or lasting friendships and let the circumstances determine their friendships. “
  • Selective Acquiring Friendship Style: People “constantly striving to make new friends in the course of their lives. Your friends can be long-time confidants as well as distant acquaintances. ”
  • Unconditionally acquiring friendship style: Unlike selectively working friends, these relationships tend to have fewer emotional ties. This subsection usually has the largest circle of friends. How Psychology today puts it this way: “Overall, this group is more about sociability than about emotional support.”

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This is more of an instinctive tendency than conscious behavior. By becoming more aware of your friends’ tendencies, you can learn to communicate better with them and also how to mitigate certain expectations that you may have.

This is how you understand your friends’ style

Sometimes it is easy for friends to let you down, especially when you want a certain type of relationship that they may not be able to deliver. Most likely, most people want the sophisticated style of friendship, in which some close-knit people share some sort of unwavering bond. However, these are relationships that are only forged over time, and if you have some – or even one – of these devoted friendships, you will likely recognize them again. These are people who can advise you personally and with whom you prefer open moments. You probably won’t want more than a few of these types of friends – how many people are you willing to share your harshest feelings with?

The more independent types are likely a little more comfortable with their own loneliness – maybe they only show up every now and then when they crave a human connection. Even if you have a strong relationship with this type of person, forged over several years, you may not be able to rely on them for a consistent presence in your life. Perhaps they don’t have the emotional range to be heart-to-heart, and that’s fine – that type of friend takes care of your relationship but may not be able to remain a permanent part of your life due to their own withdrawn disposition.

Since most of us are not academic researchers, we tend to use different words for our friendships. Colloquially speaking, the people who fall into the working style of friendship are what one might call an acquaintance. Maybe this person is a great buddy, or you share a sense of humor and a few common interests, but there isn’t much else besides those loose connections. With that in mind, don’t look for this type of person for emotional support or even to help out when you need a friendly favor – like moving a couch.

How to choose the best friend for you

Choosing the best type of friend to rely on in different situations starts with understanding what type of friends you have. These categories aren’t so much a blueprint for creating friendly bonds with someone as they are clues to help you understand your current friends so that you can match their strengths with what you want (and from you can expect). And understanding the depth of these relationships, in addition to their limitations, will help you get the most out of your friends.