Which Friend Groups are Right for You? We have Ours.

We always say each of us has friends for different reasons and have written about this in blogs and in our last book, Not Dead Yet. As we all know, friendships come in a variety of choices like food groups. So, we analyzed who most of us like to hang with and how to categorize them in a humorous way. These are ours: 

Flatterers. They tell you what you want to hear. This friend is a balm to our ego. “That skirt that’s up to your bikini line, looks fab. Love it.” They approach you. Check you out. They complement you on your home and your taste, your makeup—"your camel eyes are sparkling. I like your shiny black hair. You have arms like a tennis player. You are so tall and shapely.”  We like being plied with praise. Swoon on.

Good Cooks. They feed us. Chicken soup when we’re ill with maybe a matzoh ball. Lemon bars and a fabulous chocolate cake when one of us is having company or a birthday. They make great chicken pot pie with all white meat and brisket steeped in a good expensive Cabernet Sauvignon even though the wine costs three times what the brisket is worth. What are good friends for? Food and filling our stomachs and hearts!

Theater/Concert Goers/Movies. You can go to the movies, an opera or a concert and then play Siskel and Ebert.  You never scream or correct. Cringing and facial twitches are allowed. Afterall, it’s an opinion and who can argue with that…wink, wink. And then you can comment on all the awards’ ceremonies and whether the winners were deserved choices.

Techies. You are not one. You can call this friend in a panic: my computer won’t turn on. They rush over or try to guide you virtually. They commiserate when you let it slip in frustration that you cannot find the cursor: come on, how hard can that be? When finished, you know less than when you started you are so confused. But you have bonded over your anxiety, and you hold no grudge when they rap your knuckles with their phone while assuring you that it’s supposed to hurt so you remember to keep in mind that she’s doing it for your own good. Some have even said, “technology is your friend.” We don’t believe that but oh well. 

Transportation buddies. This is at a premium in New York City. They can drive you to colonoscopies or The Hamptons. They might even let you borrow the car to pick up a big grocery order. And if you get the car stuck on a guardrail, as a good friend they say, “No worries. It’s yours if you can fix it and move it. So, get going, bub.”

On the same page: You think collectively. Even in your dreams, you have the same dreams, many of which are fear of getting sick or not passing the exam or having a mean editor mark up an entire article. Yes, those still haunt us. To avoid Covid again, you agree to wash your hands compulsively at synchronized times of day and to wear masks like twins in grocery stores, retail outlets and rallies and marches where you tramp around and never really feel you accomplished much of anything yet invariably catch a virus. Then you can get well together. And complain as you do about whose sickness was worse?  

Have a good sense of direction. They know how to get from point A to B, a talent you do not have. They are the equivalent of a friendly directional app because the apps on our phones don’t always work. And if you go from A to B, they know how to get back. We don’t know matter how hard we try.

Love your pets. Your friend is visiting. Your Golden Retriever greets them and jumps on her new pantyhose leaving a large run. She smiles. “No big deal, I have more Spanx at home.” Your friend sits down and your dog jumps on their lap, licks them on the mouth, rolls around on her black cashmere coat leaving visible dog hairs and gnaws on her pointer finger. (You should not have pointed at the dog). You apologize. “It’s okay,” she says, “I love the attention.” They understand you like your pets more than many people. Woof! Woof!   

Have your back even in perpetuity: No one will say a bad word about you to them, even after you’re gone. And this friend assures you not to worry about your final wishes when the end does come. They will follow your desire to be cremated or given a grave-side burial without the elaborateness of a church or synagogue funeral. They will offer the perfect eulogy and only point out your good points even when you can’t hear what’s said. They really mean it when they say, R.I.P.

Allow you to complain. “Oy, I got my vaccine. My arm hurt a bit; I couldn’t move it. I went to bed feeling under the weather. The next morning, I woke up with a headache, a fever and muscle aches that lasted for three days. Even worse, I need a follow up shot with similar results. I was sick for two days with this fluey thing again. It was unpleasant especially because I have a herniated disc and my left foot is going numb.” Phew. (She runs to her computer after you’re gone and orders the best ear plugs money can buy.) But she let you go on and on. 

Loves to eat and drink the same foods. When together, you throw all healthy habits out the window and indulge in nothing but chocolate cookies, salami, doughnuts, fried chicken, Chicago-style pizza, Prosecco, rare cheeseburgers, malts and fries. Fortunately, you’re both on a statin and believe in doing a system cleanse.

Makes you laugh: We’re sick of crabs who lie motionless and wait for funny conversation. We like funny people, not necessarily funny like in sitcoms where they make sarcastic quips. But weird funny. These friends tell good stories, even if you know they are exaggerating or making things up. “Dude. You’re hilarious,” and we laugh uproariously. At the same time, the humor is never mean or sarcastic. That we don’t like.

Speak the same language, English. You have a Spanish friend, but can only count to 20 in that language, a skill we learned on Sesame Street while watching it with our children when they were little. To communicate, you try pantomime or drawing pictures. However, if you don’t have your progressive glasses, you cannot see what they’ve drawn and when using motions to get a point across, all you see is a fuzzy image of someone waving their arms wildly. What does that mean?  Oh, this is too hard.

How to maintain friends? Here are some suggestions we pulled together in a blog we wrote in June 2023 titled, “The Friendship Bond: Tips to Nurture Your Relationships.” They’re still apropos:

  1. Call at least one friend every single day. Call two weekly. It’s your call and check on these folks periodically to be sure they’re alive and okay.
  2. Be present and conscious of where the conversation is going. If it veers too much to the dark side, move the needle back with a clever story or something that the two of you did in the past that was amusing or fun.
  3. Reconsider friendships that are challenging because they’re more often negative. A negative, anxious or depressed friend might need you. Instead of feeding into their sadness, try to offer a different perspective and have them produce options. You care about the person, but you might find your time together less and less appealing if they’re too needy or whiny or expect you to do all the heavy lifting. You are allowed to pull the plug on their friendship lifeline with you. You might want to have a frank discussion first.
  4. Set boundaries for yourself and don’t be too intrusive about their life. If asking a very personal question you might say,” I have something I want to ask you about your husband’s behavior. Is that okay?” If they say “no,” then drop it. Don’t shut down if the friend gets too personal with you as well. Share how you feel, and you might say, “I don’t want to talk about that right now.” Barbara recently told an acquaintance, not what she calls a friend, “I don’t discuss that.” When the person pursued the topic, she was firm, “I really don’t discuss it.” The first time it may feel uncomfortable, second time a bit easier and the third, the charm.
  5. If you are uncomfortable in the relationship, don’t persist and expect it to get better. A friendship is a two-way street and ask yourself what you’re getting out of the relationship. If you feel it’s enough, then persist. But you shouldn’t be the only one reaching out. You can always step back because as the saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and perhaps they’ll step up and do their part, at least in this lifetime.
  6. Friendships cannot be forced. Don’t push yourself on someone who is not that into you. There is nothing wrong with saying to yourself, “This person is not a fit for me.” We do believe in second chances. People may change and evolve, so be open to that possibility.
  7. Bag the criticisms unless asked, “What do you think?”Then, be kind and gentle. Brutal honesty can be unkind.
  8. Never betray a confidence. Keep your mouth shut if it’s not your news to share. Sharing that confidence can mean the death knell of a friendship. You might get a second chance but don’t count on it.
  9. Be authentic. Don’t fake the same interests, exaggerate, boast about yourself; don’t make promises you can’t keep, and never pretend to share your friend’s same views if they are, in fact, diametrically opposed to yours.
  10. Learn to apologize. Enough said. This is crucial in any relationship. Mean it and never add any ifs, ands or buts.

Some friendships need a time out. That’s fine but try to leave the door open for future communication if you can. Focus on what was good, ruminate and then decide which group fits best.



  • Audrey Steuer

    Wonderful, helpful tips!! Thank you.

  • Rena

    Remember The Golden Rule:
    Do unto others as you…
    Have a good day!

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