5 Types of Friends Every Man Needs

In order to survive, it is important for a man to have friends that aren’t going anywhere. These are the five types of friends every guy needs in his life: family, close peers, acquaintances with hidden benefits, enemies and women.

“5 Types of Friends Every Man Needs” is a blog post that discusses the five different types of friends a man should have. These are interpersonal communication, family, friends with benefits, friends who are like family and mentors.

Vintage group of friends young men posing for photo.

According to Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary scientist and author, the typical person can maintain roughly 150 stable social interactions. Now, the term “refers to those people with whom you have a personalized relationship, one that is reciprocal and based around general obligations of trust and reciprocity,” as well as “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” may refer to a variety of people, from your next-door neighbor to your frequent bus driver to your spouse. 

There are rings of more close ties within the 150. It reduces down to the notion of a “inner circle of close friends” at its most basic level. And what about that number? Five. The typical person has (or should have) five close friends with whom he can regularly communicate. It may vary by a factor of one or two, but five appears to be the magic number. This is particularly true if your buddies play a variety of responsibilities in your life.

Friends make each other’s lives simpler. Your deficiencies and gaps in ability are balanced by their strengths and skills. You, on the other hand, do the same for them. As a result, having a diverse circle of friends with various types of men may actually improve your life. Count yourself fortunate if you have any kind of decent friends. Consider yourself exceptionally lucky if your posse contains the following five archetypes.

The Guide

Vintage young men playing chess.

A man’s life will come to a point (probably several times) when he just needs to speak to another guy and seek some advise. You need someone to lean on when things go rough, whether it’s a peer with knowledge beyond his years or an elderly gentleman you met at church.

Our spouse or significant other often fills this function, but what if our connection is the source of the problem? Or when it’s a dude-specific issue? There are certain things that only men go through in life, and there are times when only another dude can understand.

A mentor is someone who, in addition to giving you advise when you need it, can also offer you constructive criticism when something in your life isn’t going so well. Perhaps your recent position has given you a little of arrogance, or he’s seen you flirting with the barista who isn’t your girlfriend. Many men avoid conflict, but the mentor brings it up because he wants you to be a better guy in the end.

The mentor may not always be your favorite person in the planet, but he is just as important as, if not more important than, everyone else on this list. He can be a guiding hand in this wild, often perplexing world we live in.

Fathers, uncles, churches/religious groups, fraternal organizations are all good places to look for a mentor (Freemasons, Knights of Columbus, Elks Lodge, etc.).

The Bachelor/Wingman

Vintage men on motorcycle with side car.

Depending on your stage of life, this buddy fulfills a variety of functions.

This is the buddy who serves as your “wingman” while you’re single. Not in the manner that the term is often used in popular culture – as the guy who distracts a woman’s friend so that you may make a pass on her. Rather, we’re using the term “wingman” to refer to a friend who gives you confidence while dealing with people of the other sex. It’s usually better to have two than one, particularly in social situations, and the wingman can make any event go more smoothly and seem less stressful. The wingman, who is often boisterous and charming, relieves you of the burden of striking up discussions by drawing people over and putting them at ease. In group situations, he helps you feel at ease and informs people about your great qualities, so you don’t have to brag about them and risk coming off as arrogant. He’s the one who encourages you to go chat to a pretty female when you want to take a break. After a breakup, the wingman is also the person who restores your lost confidence and gives you the nudge you need to get off the couch and back into the dating world.


When you get married, this is the friend who remains the perpetual bachelor — the person who avoids the altar for longer than anybody else in your circle of friends. He’s the one who makes sure you don’t forget about your hobbies and buddies before you were married in this capacity. Once you’ve settled down, it might be difficult to get some much-needed man time in. It’s much more difficult when all of your pals have significant others, if not children; plans must be made weeks in advance, and childcare must be arranged…it can be a real hassle. So if you need someone to hang out with and watch the game on the spur of the moment, the bachelor is your man. He’s the one that persuades you to join him in a mud run or go on a road trip to see your favorite band. He injects some much-needed undomesticated male energy into your existence.

College, work, and the neighborhood drinking hole are all good places to look for a single guy/wingman.

The Mechanic

Vintage carpenter hammering a nail.

I’m using the somewhat restricted word “handyman” to describe the person in your life who appears to know all there is to know about everything. He can assist you with home repair tasks, show you how to cook the perfect steak, and even offer you advice on how to negotiate on that automobile you want to purchase. He’s like the mentor, but instead of waxing philosophical, the handyman provides you actionable advice that you can use right away.

Aside from assisting you with jobs, the main advantage of hiring a handyman is that he can teach you all he knows. Rather than allowing him to re-tile the bathroom floor, insist on doing it yourself with his help so you can be a handyman buddy in the future.

This is maybe one of the most useful kinds of friends. Be cautious not to take advantage of the handyman, since he may wind up just doing work with and for you, rather than spending time with you on a more informal basis. Also, if he performs any job for you or just assists you, be sure to thank him in some way. “I really appreciate your help, and it’s important to me that I don’t take advantage of everything you’re doing for me,” feed him dinner or take him out for a few beers as a way to say, “I really appreciate your help, and it’s important to me that I don’t take advantage of everything you’re doing for me.” A macho thank you message would also be appropriate.

Your neighborhood, a hardware shop, and hacker spaces are all good places to look for a handyman.

The Fitness Fanatic

Vintage man deadlifting huge barbell in gym.

Perhaps our least favorite of pals is the fitness fanatic. He is capable of running marathons with ease. He can ride his bike for a hundred miles and not break a sweat. He prepares for Ironman triathlons as if it were his profession, and he loves it. What’s the worst aspect about it all? He enjoys inviting you to join him. And he’ll keep inviting you until you accept.


When we’re feeling lethargic, the fitness buff’s invitations to join him on a long bike ride might irritate us. But he also supplies us with a much-needed dose of motivation. He’s the one who makes us get up from the sofa. Even if we repeatedly decline his persistent invites, his example inspires us to go to the gym on our own, if only so we may join him with some confidence.

You’ll have to say yes to your workout pal at some time. If not for yourself, then at the very least for your friendship’s sake. After all, what kind of guy refuses a chance to improve himself? Your companion will (ideally) recognize your possible limitations and will slow down to match your speed, whatever it is. If you don’t, you’ll have to speak out, despite what your competitive spirit may be telling you. Pushing oneself too hard might be just as harmful as doing nothing at all.

You may not like him now, but you’ll appreciate your fitness buddy afterwards for encouraging you to go out and do something active instead of sitting in your bean bag chair eating chips.

The gym, intramural leagues, races, the streets and trails (look for the man in running shorts who isn’t sweating) are all good places to look for the fitness fanatic.

The Work Buddy

Vintage businessman leaning back in desk chair at work.

Most guys work at least 40 hours a week, and it’s frequently more when you include lunch, overtime, and all those times you arrive early because you’re a man who likes to get things done. This amounts to over half of your awake hours in a week, if not more. To that aim, you’ll need a coworker with whom you can joke around. You don’t want to dine alone every day for lunch.

The benefit of using a work companion is that you may decrease your expectations. This isn’t meant to be cruel, but he doesn’t have to be your closest buddy for the rest of your life; all he has to do is get you through the week. And if you hit it off at work, you can always continue the friendship outside.

Because it is so reliant on your employment, this form of relationship may be difficult to negotiate. You may live in a lonely environment or work for a firm where you don’t much care about anybody (in which case, should you really be there?). Navigating the corporate world’s hierarchy may be difficult as well; you can’t always be friends with your boss in an office environment. They offer performance assessments, may have to reprimand you, determine your raises/promotions, and so on; in my opinion, it’s better not to attempt to be buddies with your boss and keep to the established hierarchy.


Look for someone in a comparable position to you, or if they’re higher up, someone in a different area. You don’t have to be best friends, but having someone to talk to at the water cooler helps the work week go by faster, especially if you don’t like your job.

If you work from home or are self-employed, look for a work companion in the workplace, a co-op, or your local coffee shop.

Do you have any, or all, of the following categories of friends in your life? Do you know someone who exemplifies all of them? In the comments, tell us about your pals!



“Three types of friendship” is the most important type of friendship. It’s the type that will stand by you through thick and thin. The other two types are “friendship for survival,” where you need each other to survive, and “friendship for love.” Reference: three types of friendship.

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