5 Types of Friends Every Man Needs

by Jeremy Anderberg on September 26, 2013 · 77 comments

in Friendship, Relationships & Family

friends



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What’s this?

How many friends does a man really need? It’s not uncommon on Facebook to have hundreds of “friends.” But if we’re honest, only a mere fraction of those are people we’d consider spending time with. Luckily for us, there has actually been a bit of research into this very question.

Evolutionary biologist and author Robin Dunbar argues that the average human can sustain about 150 friendships. Now, that term is used quite loosely to “refer to those people with whom you have a personalized relationship, one that is reciprocal and based around general obligations of trust and reciprocity.” A “personalized relationship” can mean many things — from your neighbor, to your regular bus driver, to your spouse.

So within that 150, there are circles of more intimate relationships. The furthest it breaks down is to the category of an “inner circle of intimate friends.” And that number? Five. The average human has (or should have) five close friends with whom they can connect with on a regular basis. It can vary by one or two, but five seems to be that sweetspot. This is especially true if your various friends fulfill different roles in your life.

Friends make life easier for each other. Their strengths and talents balance your weaknesses and gaps in ability. And you do the same for them. For this reason, a well-rounded group of friends, with different kinds of guys in it, can truly enrich your life. If you have good buddies of any sort, count yourself lucky. If your posse includes the following 5 archetypes, consider yourself truly fortunate.

The Mentor

chess

There comes a time (probably many times) in a man’s life where he just needs to talk to another guy and get some advice. Whether he’s a peer who’s beyond his years in wisdom, or an older gentleman you met at church, you need someone you can turn to when the goin’ gets tough.

Our spouse or significant other often takes on this role, but what happens when it’s our relationship that’s causing some trouble? Or when it’s specifically a dude issue? There are things in life that only guys experience, and times in life that only another fella can speak to.

Besides doling out advice when needed, the mentor is also someone who can give you constructive criticism when he sees something not going so well in your life. Perhaps you’ve gained a bit of hubris with your new promotion, or he catches you flirting with the barista who is very much not your girlfriend. Many a man will shrink from confrontation, but the mentor brings it up, because he ultimately wants you to be a better man.

The mentor may not always be your favorite fellow in the world, but he’s as necessary, if not more so, than anyone else on this list. He can be a guiding hand through the crazy and often confusing world we live in.

Where to find the mentor: dad, uncles, church/religious organizations, fraternal organizations (Freemasons, Knights of Columbus, Elks Lodge, etc.).

The Wingman/Bachelor

mentor

This friend is one who serves different purposes, depending on your stage in life.

When you’re single, this is the friend who acts as your “wingman.” Not necessarily in the way the label is often used in popular culture – as the guy who distracts a woman’s friend so you can make a move on her. Rather here we’re defining the wingman more broadly as the buddy who gives you confidence when interacting with the opposite sex. Two is always better than one, especially in social settings, and the wingman is adept at making any outing go smoother and feel less stressful. Often gregarious and charismatic, the wingman takes the pressure off of you to strike up conversations, as he is able to draw people over and put them at ease. In group settings, he makes you feel comfortable and lets others know about your positive traits, so you don’t have to mention them yourself and risk coming off as smug. When you want to break off to go talk to a cute girl, he’s the one who pumps you up to do it. The wingman is also the guy who restores your lost confidence after a breakup and gives you the kick in the rear you need in order to get off the couch and back into the dating scene.

Then, when you get hitched, this is the buddy who remains the perennial bachelor – the guy who stays away from the altar longer than anyone else in your group of friends. In this role, he’s the one who doesn’t let you forget about the interests and friends you had before you got married. It can be hard to get that much-needed guy time in once you’ve settled down. It’s even harder when all your friends also have significant others, and even kids; things need to be planned out weeks in advance and childcare needs to be arranged…it can end up being a major headache. So when you need someone at the drop of a dime to just hang out with and watch the football game, the bachelor is your go-to. He’s the one who convinces you to do a mud run with him or take a little road trip to see your favorite band. He provides a needed shot of undomesticated masculine energy to your life.

Where to find the single guy/wingman: college, work, the local watering hole.

The Handyman

Carpenter hammering a nail

I’m using the relatively narrow term of handyman here to convey the guy in your life who just seems to know everything about everything. He can help you with home improvement projects, he can tell you how to grill the perfect steak, and he can even give you tips for negotiating on that car you’re looking at buying. He’s similar to the mentor, but instead of waxing philosophical, the handyman gives you practical tips that can be implemented right now.

Beyond just helping you with projects, the real benefit of the handyman is that he can teach you all these things he knows. Instead of letting him re-tile the bathroom floor, insist that you do it with his guidance, so that you can be a handyman friend in the future.

This is perhaps one of the more valuable types of friends there are. Be careful to not take advantage of the handyman, as he can easily end up just doing work with you and for you, instead of having some casual hang out times as well. Also, if he does do some work for you, or even just helps out, make sure you thank him somehow. Feed him dinner or take him out for some beers as a way to say, “I really appreciate your help, and it’s important to me that I don’t take advantage of all that you’re doing for me.” A manly thank you note could also be a nice touch.

Where to find the handyman: your neighborhood, a hardware store, hacker spaces

The Fitness Buff

weight

The fitness buff may be our least favorite of friends. He can run marathons with ease. He can bike a hundred miles without breaking a sweat. He trains for Ironman triathlons like it’s his job, and he even enjoys it. The worst part of it all? He loves to invite you along. And he won’t stop inviting you until you say yes.

The fitness buff’s entreaties to come on a marathon bike ride with him may sometimes annoy when we’re feeling lazy. But he also provides a much needed dose of inspiration in our lives. He’s the guy who makes sure we get off the couch. Even if we constantly refuse his insistent invitations, his example motivates us to hit the gym on our own, if for nothing else than so we can join him with a modicum of confidence.

At some point, you do need to say yes to your fitness friend. If not for yourself, than at least for the sake of your friendship. Besides, what’s a man who says no to an opportunity to better himself? Your friend will (hopefully) understand your potentially lesser abilities and slow down to meet your pace, whatever that may be. If not, you’ll need to speak up, contrary to what your competitive spirit may be trying to tell you. Pushing yourself too hard is sometimes just as bad as not doing anything.

You may not like him, but at some point you’ll thank your fitness friend for challenging you to get out and do something physical when you wanted to sit on your bean bag chair and eat chips.

Where to find the fitness buff: the gym, intramural leagues, races, the streets and trails (look for the guy in running shorts who isn’t sweating)

The Work Pal

work

Most men spend at least 40 hours at the office each week, and it’s often more when you factor in lunch, overtime, and all those times you show up early because you’re a man who wants to get things done. That ends up being almost half of your waking hours in a week, and sometimes more. To that end, you need a pal at the office you can shoot the breeze with. You don’t want to eat every lunch alone every day.

The beauty about the work pal is that you can lower your expectations a little bit. This isn’t to sound harsh, but he doesn’t need to be your best friend for the rest of your life, he just needs to help you get through the week. And if you happen to hit if off, you can always take the friendship out of the office.

This type of friendship can be tricky to navigate because it’s very dependent on your job. You may have solitary environs, or perhaps work for a company in which you don’t really like anybody (in which case, should you really be there?). Navigating the hierarchy of the business world can be thorny as well; you can’t often really be friends with your boss in an office setting. They give performance reviews, may have to discipline you, decide on your raises/promotions, etc.; in my opinion, it’s best to not really try and be buddy-buddy with your boss, and stick to the hierarchy that’s in place.

Try to find someone who’s in a similar position as you, or if they’re higher up, hopefully in a different department. You don’t have to be best friends, but finding someone for those water cooler chats makes the work week go by much more enjoyably, especially if you don’t particularly love your job.

Where to find the work pal: the office, a co-op and/or your local coffee shop if you work from home or are self-employed.

Do you have a few or all of these types of friends in you life? Do you have a friend who embodies several of them? Tell us about your buddies in the comments!

{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andrew Barclay September 26, 2013 at 4:24 pm

I think I need 5 friends before I can begin to assign roles, no?

2 Gregory T September 26, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Sadly, I have none of these, but am all of these to a group of guys. I would classify my group as “drinking buddies.” Maybe I’m a bit too detached.

3 Brady M. September 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm

I read this article af first thinking “Which one am I?”, then came to the conclusion that we can fulfill different roles for different people. (ie: ‘handyman’ for the neighborhood, ‘work-pal’ for the office)

I’ll also mention that a ‘mentor buddy’ doesn’t need to be the same guy your whole life. Try opening up to more than one person, it gives great third party perspectives on decisions and situations that could effect others.

4 Dan September 26, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Fun post. I have a friend who is both a mentor and a handyman in my life. Which is lucky for me, because the thing I most need mentoring in is being handy!

5 Inigo September 26, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Hmm, the wingman and the fitness buff are one and the same person in my circle. Now, where exactly does one find a handyman? We all seem to just google issues (like hanging a big screen on a wall).

6 Johnathon September 26, 2013 at 6:16 pm

While reading this, I was mentally categorizing my closest buds, and came to the conclusion that all 3 of my closest buds and I embodied characteristics of each of the friend types.

I count myself among good companions.

7 The Pencilneck September 26, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I’m 45 and my best friends from high school are still my best friends, even if we only see each other once a year or two. One’s still a bachelor, one’s a know it all (though that’s me too), one’s doing Got His Act Together, (the one-to-aspire-to), one’s Barney to my Fred, and a couple are lovable trainwrecks. My mentors I picked up in my early 20′s and are notably worlds removed from my other friends – which I consider an added benefit…
I’m a lucky fella…

8 Casey September 26, 2013 at 7:49 pm

I gave it some good thought and realized that I indeed have bros in each of these categories. Fortunate, I am.

9 josh_k September 26, 2013 at 8:10 pm

I am fortunate to have a couple of great mentor figures in my life – men who are examples in both moral/philosophical/religious ways and who are also good for practical advice about marriage and work and life in general. I am also glad that I get on well with the guys I work with. As far as the handyman figure, my Dad has always fulfilled that role and has taught me many things. What I find I most need is that wingman figure. I had one when I was single, but we both got married within a short time and got busy with education and just sort of drifted apart.

Thanks for the thought provoking article!

10 Steve September 26, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Here’s another. Let’s call him, “The Rock.” No matter what happens, he is there for you. If you turn up at his door at 3:00 AM with no warning because everything in your life disappeared and you had no place else to go, he would welcome you instantly and with no questions until the dust settled.

11 jerry September 26, 2013 at 8:21 pm

I am all of these to other men> I don’t know if I am or they are fortunate. I like to be myself and being with others restricts that in me and I then become uncomfortable. My liaisons are short and sweet.

12 Doug September 26, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Being in college, I crack up because I have thought about this many times, and I can immediately determine who is who from this article.

13 Nathan Magnuson September 26, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Great topic and post. Also, check out Tom Rath’s (Gallup) book Vital Friends. It really made a tremendous amount of sense.

14 Samuel September 26, 2013 at 9:20 pm

A very nice article.i’ve shared with all my friends.

15 Robert September 26, 2013 at 9:21 pm

I’m the gym guy, wingman, and mentor. The gym guys inspire :) As do wingmen, lol.

16 guido fawkes September 26, 2013 at 10:23 pm

sadly i dont have friends like these. I wish i had them, or at least i have a chance to meet them.
You are lucky one , if you have these kind of friends.
Also, I recoqnised myself in first 4

17 William O. B'Livion September 26, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Why’s Mr. Handyman pounding on a bent nail?

18 Damian September 26, 2013 at 10:37 pm

I think there is one archetype which Is as neccesary as those 5
The one that shares your same passion/s, and with whom you can talk hours about a subject that you really like without boring him (and vice-versa).
This is also the kind of friend you can start a project or a band with. I might even say you should have 1 of these friends per interest you have.

19 Jarrod CL September 26, 2013 at 11:59 pm

It would be nice, sometimes, to have that many friends. Most of the people in my age group are off having kids…my total exposure to them now is seeing occasional “Likes” on Facebook…that, and I get invited to kids parties, which is awkward, as I’m usually the only one there without a kid running around. Which is cool that they still think of me, but…

Is this common? Whenever I try and organise catching up, they usually only have an hour or so to spare, even if organised well in advance. I don’t think I’ve changed that much, so, I don’t think they’re avoiding me. I think they’ve just shifted priorities.

Any advice? Are there groups (bearing in mind I’m not religious (no freemasons or Church) and the Atheist groups I’ve attended have been, shall we say, a touch single minded) that are worth checking out that people have had a good experience with?

20 Vinnie D. September 27, 2013 at 1:41 am

I think you can break it down into a 5 man band. It makes a solid team and a good band of friends.

The face man/ The funny guy: He’s the one who can always keep the humor, do the smooth talking, and holds the group together.

The lancer/ the Jerk: He’s the guy you sometimes want to punch, but you know he has your back. The type who doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear.

The smart guy: He’s the guy the entire group knows (but might not like to admit) is just plain smarter than the rest in technical terms. Maybe not the best at social interaction, but he knows things, and has skills he’s glad to lend.

The big guy/ The rock: The dependable one. He may or may not actually be athletic, but he’ll always help you move, he’ll be there when you need him, if you show up at his door at one in the morning he has a couch for you no questions asked. When you need to “borrow” some money, you know he’s not even expecting it back, but will gladly “Lend” it to you because he’s sparing that last bit of your pride, and if you find yourself stranded three states away, he’ll put on his coat, ask the address, and be on the road before he hangs up.

The heart: We all know it’s true. In any circle of friends there’s that one who you know is holding you all together. You wouldn’t be friends if not for that one friend. The peacemaker when egos get in the way, and the one who is doing the heavy lifting in making sure you don’t drift apart.

Don’t be surprised if you don’t fall under any one category. We all shift roles as need be, and in different circles, may have different roles.

21 Sagar Behere September 27, 2013 at 2:26 am

Another category of friend I have in my life is ‘The Intellectual’. With this person, I can discuss good books, poems, Art, wines, delicious recipes, deep thoughts, movies, drama, opera, ballet…the finer things in life. Too often, you are interested in these things, but even very good buddies of yours are not.. perhaps because they are simply not interested, perhaps because they don’t consider them manly enough. It’s good to have an intellectual friend, if you are one too.

Where to find him: Your local Mensa gathering? ;-)

22 Rob Roy September 27, 2013 at 4:35 am

I used to have many friends but with passing years I’ve “sorted out” and I’ve sorted out my facebook friend lost (I have about 110 friends on facebook which isn’t that many in the facbook community) but only a handfull of ‘real’ friends. And actually I don’t want to have more. I’ve had the chance, I got to know new people but I haven’t put any effort to keep up that relationships so I stick with my ‘old’ buddies.

One of mine is about 8 years older, used to be my Boxing trainer and is one of my best friends now. Someone I still look up to and he’s the one teaching me.

The other one is very good buddy I know from kindergarden, we play a lot of videogames, go to the cinema a lot and have the same liking in TV shows and movies.

The third one I know from my first school class 18 years ago. He’s my ‘technical’ buddy. Everything about very technical PC stuff, science like physics or movies; he’s my buddy for that.

The handyman is my dad. He know’s everything about crafting anything. From cars to home/garden/yard improvement he do everything by himself.

And there used to be good collegue with the same weird humour like me but after he quit I don’t hear anything from him.

There aren’t that many but those few I wouldn’t miss and I can count on when the earth is going to hell.

23 Brian September 27, 2013 at 5:20 am

I have not had 5 good friends since I was in the military.I have been all these since and enjoy all roles,and like many men out there I still need to get my five friends again.

24 Ed September 27, 2013 at 5:54 am

friendship rituals seem to be so unpredictable today, maybe we manage to meet one evening evey TWO weeks. we usually regress, poke fun at each other or talk about politics or football.

If I spot such ”archetypes” they are usually outside the ring of friends..they pop up amongst some clients at work or through family connections…i guess many others find them online…strange world

25 Erik September 27, 2013 at 6:00 am

Wow, this is exactly the circle of friends I had in my high school plus a few years after. After marriage and kids and moving halfway across the country things are different. We don’t really keep up with each other, but after reading this I’m inspired to get out some paper and write each of them a letter. If nothing else than just to say hello.
Thanks Jeremy

26 J Wilson September 27, 2013 at 6:06 am

Crap, I don’t think I’m any of these archetypes to my own friends. Now what?

27 Jim A September 27, 2013 at 6:23 am

This is one of the most thought-provoking articles I have read lately. I recognize myself in some of the categories, except handyman, and I don’t have a handyman friend. Looks like I’ve got some work to do.

28 The Parson September 27, 2013 at 6:51 am

C.S.Lewis wrote a chapter on friendship in his classic work THE FOUR LOVES, which points out the difference between a “friend” and an “acquaintance.” Someone show it to the “evolutionary biologist.”
Great column. I’ll pass it on!

29 Andrew September 27, 2013 at 6:57 am

Great post!

I feel that many times, one person can play multiple roles. Who’s to say that the fitness buff can’t also be your wingman? Juxtapose to this, YOU can be each of these friend types for others as well. In my experience, I have been each of these types, at one point or another, in my life. Being a well-rounded friend–and individual–is paramount to living a manly life and can make you the handyman, who is also the bachelor…etc.

All things aside, I would like to interject one more thing. Having these friends may be paramount or optimal for a man’s life, however, do not feel that you HAVE to have these friends this very second. This is where shallow friendships can fester and ultimately fizzle out. Choose quality and, like all things, have patience. Remember that your friends say as much about your character as your actions.

Best regards,
A

30 Emmanuel M'M September 27, 2013 at 7:19 am

I have a close circle of friends but I think the roles overlap. And I am not sure what role I fulfill in their lives.

Food for thought right there

31 bgh September 27, 2013 at 7:21 am

Where I come from one of the top classifications of “friend” is “Hunting Buddy”.

Once, one of my “Hunting Buddies” was in ICU and prohibited from seeing non-family visitors. When the charge nurse inquired about my relation to the patient, I told her that I was his hunting buddy and she let me right in.

It didn’t matter that this gentleman was 45 years my senior… he and I had shared time in the woods together for 22 years and had all kinds of fun.

32 me September 27, 2013 at 7:46 am

LOL @ William O. B’Livion!

@Jarrod CL, I hear ya. I had a couple really good and close friends that fulfilled a lot of these roles. After school, we all drifted apart mostly and as years have gone by I look back and see our lives have drifted in such different ways…It’s unbelievable! Despite my efforts to keep in touch with one that I was really close with for years, he never seems to find the time either…I think he’s just too busy trying to keep his head above the water supporting his family and I’ve changed over the years too since we last hooked up for a beer…Maybe it’s his way of breaking up with me LOL. I don’t take it too personally but having lost these friends, I haven’t found many to fill their places (mostly because I don’t get out much and do much but I think in time that will change as my family grows and we have more time and availability to do such).

So I’d suggest to get involved in some sort of activity or club or something that interests you or volunteer somewhere and meet up with people that you may otherwise not meet at an activity you enjoy (like-minded people and the whole opposites attract thing and whatnot).

I honestly think there are a lot more guys out there that don’t have close friends and wish they did then what you’d ever expect.

33 Blair September 27, 2013 at 7:53 am

My dad serves more as the handyman than the mentor, which has been immensely helpful now that I own a house.

34 Okierover September 27, 2013 at 7:58 am

I am blessed by all of these.

35 Dan M September 27, 2013 at 9:30 am

Luckily I have the mentor and handyman in one, my dad has always been knowledgeable about all sorts of things and it has fascinated me to the point where I have been building myself to be a jack of all trades. Which in turn has made me the handy man of my group of friends along with my IT experience that I’ve picked up working for my mom’s IT firm for 5 years so far.

The one of these that I’m really lacking is a fitness buff, I’ve been working on losing weight, and so far I’ve lost about 50 lbs in the last 5 months, which is great but I can feel my motivation slipping away, if I could find other people that go to the gym at 11PM I’d have one by now!

36 Dermot Bree September 27, 2013 at 10:13 am

An interesting thing I’ve noticed: reading artofmanliness seems to equip you to be a sort of a jack of all trades between these 5 friends, which I find interesting. Here’s a question: what do you call the guy who isn’t any of these friends, in other words, you? What is the rest of their motivation to have you in the group since you don’t serve a purpose in the same way they do?

37 Matthew Kuehlhorn September 27, 2013 at 10:15 am

Great article. I love archetypes in general and I agree–these are important ones to have.

I see them in my life though some of these folks are across the country.

38 Ben G September 27, 2013 at 10:35 am

Back in school I had each of these, and was in turn each of these for someone else (except maybe the gym guy!). My best friend Nathan was my wing man, and I was his, on many adventures spanning several cities, states, and countries. Helping another friend build an 1800 sq ft garage was a bit like the blind leading the blind, but it got built, and looks darn good, if I do say so myself. I’ve had several mentors but then lost that vital kind of friendship when I moved a few months ago. Recently though I’ve started going to a diner owned by a guy in my church. We have coffee a few times a week and solve the world’s problems. He’s older than me by about 17 years (I’m 24) but we have a lot of respect for each other, and he’s helping me become closer to being the man I want to be. I’ve been blessed.

Of these I think the wingman and the mentor are the most important. It’s good to know how to fix things, but there’s some things that can’t be fixed with a hammer or saw. And that’s where the wing man and mentor come in. For the stuff that matters the most, my wingman Nate and mentor John are my go-to guys.

39 Brady M September 27, 2013 at 12:32 pm

I feel like most comments are trying to comparmentalize each archetype to themself or friends. (we men are masters at compartmentalizing) But perhaps this is like ‘the 5 love languages’ where everybody is a bit of each, but are particularly strong (or heaven forbid, sensitive) in certain aspects. (a pie chart could help visualize this)

Example, I can fulfill ‘handyman’ role everyday, but am often found as the eternally single wingman or workpal. (depends on whose company I am in) Also, I am a lucky man to have a father who is a mentor, but also MY handyman; but would consider him a fitness buff if pigs flew.

What’s your bromantic language?

40 Zack September 27, 2013 at 5:12 pm

I can’t say that I have any friends that fill these categories. Frankly put, I have no bros. And at 30, I am probably beyond the appropriate age to acquire such friends. I had friends in college but after I was married, we started to drift apart. And I haven’t had time to make friends

41 Greg G September 27, 2013 at 5:56 pm

This was an interesting post. One surprising discovery of mine after graduating from college was that my circle of friends contracted noticeably. It’s hard to find time for them away from my job, wife, and daughter. And they’re scattered all over the country. It’s much different that high school, college, or graduate school. I do have three friends who fall into these categories (mentor, handyman, and work buddy), though, so I think that I am lucky.

42 CD September 27, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Most of my pals are dipshyts, and I love them.

43 cr September 27, 2013 at 9:45 pm

yes, friends are like the food groups, some are comfort foods, some are really nutritious

44 John C September 28, 2013 at 4:32 am

Must be nice. In the Marine Corps friends come and go every few months, and I havent been home in two years.

45 Alex DuBos September 28, 2013 at 11:45 pm

I think being a good man encompasses a bit of every one of those types of friends a guy needs and lets people become more rounded and whole when they can recognize what type of friends they are for other people.

46 Jim September 29, 2013 at 7:22 pm

This is a good list. One thing I would add to this list is the “successful friend”. Having a friend who has been very successful in something similar to what you do is a fantastic motivator!

47 Chris September 29, 2013 at 9:42 pm

I’ve been thinking about this same thing as in the past 3 years I’ve gotten married and had a kid. A man needs certain types of friends to fulfill his needs and maintain a balanced life. For me a “sports” friend is pretty crucial. A little different from a fitness friend. Need someone to play sports with, and someone to talk about/watch sports with.

48 Dan September 30, 2013 at 1:04 am

I think I would be better to be all of the 5 than rely on 5 other men.

49 JB October 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm

I actually find it difficult to make friends with guys. Truthfully I’ve got one close male friend and we’ve been like brothers for year. He doesn’t fall into any of these categories – he is more my goofing off friend. Soon as we are around each other we revert to 10 year olds.

Outside of that I have my gym buddies (I’m the fitness guy but the hell if I’m running a marathon – I’m more of a boxer) and a couple guys at work I talk to. Does anyone else have this difficulty connecting with other guys?

50 JGW October 4, 2013 at 10:11 am

I agree with the article and some of the suggested additions. IMHO , an issue for many of us is when we marry and take “real ” jobs our connections shift from our friends to our spouse and work. This serves some very well, but leaves others feeling disconnected.

51 Andy D October 5, 2013 at 6:32 am

I agree with Steve, about “The Rock” having both been one and needed one. It is extremely important that men gather all of these characters in their lives and keep them. I have been lucky enough to have all six and by times been most of them. To Brad, Evan, Colin, Dave, Greg, Blaine, Scott & Chris. (Yeah I know I am lucky to have 7 to call on.)
Cheers to you all

52 Matt C October 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm

I have to say that i’m lucky to have all of these and be some of these to people, but i am lacking a handyman, me, my dad, my best friend(who i consider a brother), and a close family friend are a lot of things, but we are practical monkeys with wrenches when it comes to fixing things

53 Nicholas M October 6, 2013 at 8:07 pm

After reading this and pondering on it for quite some time, I find I really don’t have friends in these categories except maybe The Work Pal. And then I find that I myself is one of theses to some one or another, besides The Fitness Buff. Therefore I can’t seem to wonder if I’m to secluded or if I am just not that lucky. Now don’t get me, wrong my buddies and I are very close. Just not the stereotypical gang of friends you often see on television, I suppose. This lack of strength in my companionship is somewhat concerning. I fear as I and my peers grow ever more elder we will drift apart, if you will.
Now considering I’m only fourteen, I understand I will have several more platonic relationships in my life, but it is a threatening though. That is that the people you’ve always known will not always be at your side. This is indeed a thought that I shall keep in mined. It will take me a vast amount of time to truly comprehend it.

54 Andrew October 12, 2013 at 10:36 am

Intro to the article pretty much summed up the greatness of Google+ with it’s ‘circles’.

I’m fortunate enough to have a lot of close friends, male and female. I’d even say the females outweigh the boys by a couple.
Strictly speaking of the guys, most of them slot into each, or multiple, of these categories. As I feel I do. I am very much the bachelor role no matter if I’m with the guys I went to middle school + high school with, or the guys I slugged through University with. Almost to the point that some have built me up past my actual ability, haha.
Next most dominate role I play, which is more frequent than the wingman, and I feel more valuable is the handyman. Need car advice of any form? Yup, I’m the go to. Want a deck or shed built, or even need help with taxes, I’m there. Have an obscure question? I may not have the exact answer, but I certainly have input and know where to point you (i.e. Google!).
I’m no fitness buff, an amateur with mini home gym sure. My one buddy is a crack-pot, he lives and breathes the gym, CrossFit is his cult. And it has been that way with him for near a decade. Where as I usually workout daily, 20min run, work through muscle groups via free weights and whatever active things I find myself doing each week. I’m no muscle head (5’8″ 158lbs, ~9% body fat) but I sustain faint abs and one of my friends (female) has a fascination with my triceps lol. But I think that’s what is good for this role as a friend, I’m not intimidating to go for a run or gym with, or join my Tough Mudder team. I’m also not into heavy supplementing, I use whey isolate, a good well rounded mens multi vitamin, and fish oil. Most importantly I eat healthy and stay conscience about food intake, I don’t count calaries, but I’m not about to go to McDonalds or consider a day as a “cheat day”. People ask my advice about things here and there and I can give them down to earth and realistic advice.
The mentor. Based on these other roles, they sort of fold into the mentor. If someone is looking for life advice, I’m not the best to turn to, I can provide support and encouragement, but that’s where it ends. My own life is scattered enough.

55 Michael October 12, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Every guys needs a great dog

56 Paul Weitres October 15, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Thanks to this article I can assing some of my friends to this list. It may not be exactly the same as above, but still it helped me to define those guys.
Let me introduce them :)

The Mentor, and the Handyman in one, my true friend. I know him sicne primary school. He has always been an introvert type. Almost every action he did was verry practical and wise. I wasn’t catching everything he said at the beggining, but after some time I always gave him a right. His phylosophical and practical advices caused verry positive changes in my life. He is also a verry skilled handyman. He is capable to reapair almost everything, and if he can’t, he will find a book, or webpage where it’s written how to do it. He also recommended me this webpage. Sometimes I think he is a mysterious genius.I have known him for about 13 years and he never dissapointed me.

The Wingman, and i’d say a good friend. I don’t know him that verry long as the one above. His personality is verry complicated for someone who sees him every day and doesn’t know him personally because of his narcissism.
In everyday life he is verry open, funny and sarcastic person. I always feel more comfortable and less stressed in his presence. He has that aura of positivity I cannot explain. He doesn’t have problems with talking to girls, which I always had. He knew that, so one day he met a nice girl, and through him we accidently met each other. Well it all looked like coincidence, but we both knew it was staged. Thats a one example of his unique personality.

I hope you enjoyed a bit of my friends which inspire me the most.

Again, thanks to the author of this article for the oportunity to share and classify some of my friends.

57 Landon October 16, 2013 at 12:14 am

I’m so glad that I’ve got most of this crew in my home town, albeit I’m only in high school. I’ve got Jake the Snake as my go to wingman as of right now. Noah as my fitness guru. And one of my older friends Ben is the Mentor, even though he is states away from me. My work buddy are just those guys at school. But I seem to have a lack of handy man… I’ll keep an eye out for that handyman!

58 Jody October 17, 2013 at 10:26 pm

I see alot of comments on not having these friends, not being able to find them, or friends period. Frankly, there people out there. You must GO out there to meet them. Look around for hang outs, events, stores, any place that has something to do with a hobby or activity that you like. Don’t be afraid to comment on what’s going on to initiate a conversation. Acquaintances can become friends, but only if you meet them first. I am fortunate to have my five. Yet they rotate and change by subject. I am often the handy one, but I fulfill the other 4half roles aswell, based on the relationship and the situation. Those of you that don’t think you fit, don’t be so literal. You know that guy that bugs into going to the bar with him? He’s both the fitness guy And the wingman. Got you to say yes and got you to say hey to that cute blonde.

59 Joe October 20, 2013 at 6:59 pm

My best bud would be the first three for sure. I can’t thank the guy enough for helping me get out of a reclusive funk and back out in the world again.
I’m nearly 30 years old and it’s like I’ve found my long lost brother we are so much alike. He’s made me realize how shitty most of my “friends” were in the past.

60 Damian B. October 31, 2013 at 11:55 am

I look at this list and I see myself as the Mentor because I am not afraid of giving my opinion on bettering my friends and tend to lead by example, I am confident and calmly collective.

61 Jesper November 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm

I’m the handyman for some of my less handy friends, and im the mentor for one of my younger friends. My favorite friend ‘type’ is my work pal. I work as a forester/lumberjack and some days it sucks. But then he cracks some jokes during lunch and makes my day a little brighter.

62 Shane November 3, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Oh no … I bet I’m the gym buff …

63 Roger November 16, 2013 at 12:19 am

I guess I’m like all of them…..but I do have a few buds that are all of them too!
My mentor right now is my work bud.
I work with a 70 yr old trumpeter as his assistant as Band Director.

Im a 33 yr old saxophonist and music teacher.

We both play professionally as well with a lot of the same groups. We have known each other for a few years and finally got an opportunity to make a career change and was hired as his assistant. Its been great so far.

64 Patrick November 22, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Id like to offer my thoughts on the comments made by men who say they don’t have many strong guy friendships, or haven’t been able to make them since they were younger.

I have several good friendships that date back more than 20 years, one over 30 years (gradeschool). I’ve picked up a friend or two every 5 yrs or so since then (mostly at jobs i’ve had) and i would say my group of close friends is closer to 10 than 5. I’m outgoing and that helps me meet people but to make real friends you have to go a step further. At some point talk about your personal life, ask about theirs etc. My friends and i goof off but we talk about real life stuff as well. Also you need to find ways to stay in touch – in the real world and not via facebook etc. Do fishing trips, poker nights, whatever your into and keep inviting them even if they usually say no because they are busy. Don’t take it personal if they decline. Most of my friends are like me and married raising kids but its a priority for me to keep in touch with them and i typically plan the outings so we can get together. If your kids and theirs are similar in age maybe getting the kids together with you is the only way to make it happen. Be flexible and keep at it i say. I don’t want to one day be an empty-nester with no friends some day.

65 Brandon R. December 4, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Every straight male needs at least one friend who is gay.

66 E.S. December 9, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Good post I have had all of these friends before and right now I am the mentor and the fitness expert. I would even go as far as to say I am the gentlemen of my group. The classy one as I love classical music I paint, write poetry and am a history lover and I smoke a pipe lol. And I have and am the handy man as well.

67 Beemo December 11, 2013 at 3:19 am

This needs a “friend-with-benefits” in the list too xD

68 Daniel December 24, 2013 at 7:19 am

“I want to have good friends, and be a good friend to other people”

Alexandre Bewcock, 3600 AD

69 Gary December 24, 2013 at 10:07 am

I am the Handyman and Mentor. Ive got a Mentor. Sadly I no longer have a fitness friend. Never wanted to do anything except work out. sometimes you just want to watch a movie and have a few drinks…

70 Gabs January 6, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Does anyone have anything to say about female friends? As a female myself, I’ve noticed over the last few years as I’ve matured and entered adulthood I’ve gotten closer and closer to males, oftentimes they assume a brotherly role in my life. And though there are tough times and spats, I feel they add a stability to my life that I find profound and deeply appreciate. They are so accepting and comforting, even protective (sometime overly!) that I can’t really imagine where I would be without them; certainly not in a very good place emotionally.

71 T.C. January 9, 2014 at 8:31 pm

oddly I am 1 of each of these to sombody… 1) one friend asks me often how I handle a senorio. 2) I’ve acted wingman and to a friend in a deep relation goes to my house to escape, 3) handy man Hell I just repainted a fender, built a bike, a deck, fixed desks, fences if my friend broke something they call me. 4) my smoking and fat friends I try to push them to play bball, running, or something else. 5) I go chat and hang with buddies on break.

72 Ian February 9, 2014 at 3:59 pm

I’ve got a fitness buff, who at the same time acts as my mentor, and I sometimes mentor him at the same time. I figure I should have a handy ma, but I already am one.. kinda. I used to have a work buddy, back when I had a job. I am my fitness buff’s wingman, so, I guess all are covered…..

73 James February 18, 2014 at 11:21 am

Great article, Thanks.
My dad was a pastor, and would use biblical principles for everyday life. He often said, every man needs a Paul and a Timothy in his life. Meaning everyone needs a mentor (Paul), and at the same time one needs to be active in mentoring another who is not quite as far along (Timothy). I am trained as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and I work as a professional counselor; so, I am in a mentor role in most of my relationships (friendships included). However, over the past 6-10 years; I have lost all of my mentors. During grad school, my clinical supervisor was a great mentor; but our relationship was a temporary in nature, and it ended when I conclude my studies. My dad and my granddad were lifelong mentors, and godly role models; but they have both passed away. I have so many responsibilities with my family and in my work; it has been very difficult to find time or opportunity to cultivate that kind of relationship with anyone else. I definitely miss having a mentor in my life. I am grateful for the time my mentors invested in me.

74 stuvian March 9, 2014 at 8:33 am

where’s the drinking buddy?

75 Timovone March 15, 2014 at 7:07 am

lacking in the friendship department so i’m just going to try to be all these guys myself. getting there.

76 Michael March 26, 2014 at 7:44 am

I think any close male friend is a good thing. Seems after high school and college we move away and loose contact.

77 Noah April 2, 2014 at 1:13 pm

To be honest, I think these are just sub-categories. You don’t really need those kind of friends in life. It’s very nice to have them, but I think you’ll need friends that will have your back in any kind of situation. The kind of friends you would save from a fire and won’t hesitate to get them.
But that’s just my opinion.

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