Bad News Betty: She’s cool, rebellious and dark. She appeals to that part of our psyche that wishes that we were more cool, rebellious and dark. She smokes, she drinks, she curses and she most definitely does not give a f**k what society thinks of her. If we were living in the movie Grease–she’d be Rizzo…and we’d love her (even if we were secretly a little scared of her.) The problem with friends like Bad News Betty is that the bad girl antics that so intrigue us, can also rub off on us in ways that are not so appealing. Maybe it’s Betty who enticed you to smoke your first cigarette back in junior high (which eventually led to a pack a day habit that you had to work so hard to overcome) or maybe it was Betty who convinced you that you were okay to drive home after a night of partying which led to you getting a DUI that cost you your job and reputation. The deviant behavior that Bad News Betty types exhibit is often the result of deeper seated, unresolved emotional issues that most of us (unless we are trained counselors) are not qualified to diagnose and treat. So, whether it’s the fourth grade Betty who convinces you that it’s cool to shoplift a candy bar from the corner store, the college aged Betty who tells you that a line of coke will give you more energy to study for your physics final or the forty-something Betty who tries to seduce your husband (while pretending to be your friend)–these girls really are bad news and our lives (and reputations) will be far more FabYOUlous if we keep them at a safe distance.
Surface Level Sally: Friends like Sally are fun and always up for a good time. They’ll bring the wine…and the gossip. They’re funny and charming and we genuinely enjoy their company. Most of us have a handful of Sallies in our lives at any given time. They’re the gals that we’ll meet for after work cocktails or join for a quick dash to the mall for a dose of retail therapy. They are not however the friends that we call when our world falls apart. They look good and feel good on the surface, but, as enjoyable as the friendship might be–there is little depth or substance to the relationship. This doesn’t mean that we should cut ties with the Sallies in our lives however; we just need to recognize the role that they fill and not expect much more out of the relationship. Keep your friendship light and fun with Sally; there’s nothing wrong with that and it can serve an important function…we all need someone who can be counted upon to bring the wine.
Rainy Day Rhonda: No matter how sunny it might be, we’ve all had (or currently have) that one friend who seems to have a perpetual dark cloud following her around. You know who we’re talking about here–it’s the friend who never feels good, hates her job, can’t find a decent relationship because all of the good guys are already taken…yadda yadda yadda. Her mood is always sullen and her outlook is never rosy. Why then do we allow these “glass half empty” girls into our circle of friends? Wouldn’t we be happier without them? Sometimes these friends appeal to the inner part of our psyche that longs to rescue people, but other times we keep these friends around because they make our lives seem so much better by comparison. Unfortunately, neither of these reasons is especially healthy when it comes to our own emotional health; we can’t rescue those who don’t really want to be rescued and using these individuals as a way to prop up our own egos is just, well…icky. In order to not get drawn into Rhonda’s vortex of misery, it is important that we have the self fortitude to establish firm boundaries with our own time and energy so that we don’t get drawn under that dark and depressing cloud with her.
Cheerleader Chelsea: Two, Four, Six, Eight, who do we appreciate? Chelsea, Chelsea, YAY Chelsea! She might not actually have a short skirt or pair of pom poms (though we’d be willing to bet that she did when she was in high school) but Chelsea always has a smile on her face and a word of encouragement for anyone that is fortunate enough to be in her circle of friends. Chelsea is an optimist and as such, she is able to see the best in people and shine the spotlight on those positive qualities. She believes in you and encourages you to go for your dreams. She’ll rally behind you as you strive to make positive change in your life and she’ll help pick you up when you stumble. Chelsea cares for you and genuinely wants nothing but good things for you. She might seem a bit “Pollyannaish” at times, but when push comes to shove–her cheerful attitude and unfailing belief in your potential can serve as a huge boost that helps to propel you toward your FabYOUlous future.
Soul Sister Susan: Who knows you better than you know yourself? Who can sense (before you even say a word) how you are feeling? Who knows the darkest, most shameful secrets about you and yet loves you anyhow? Susan does. Susan is more than just a friend, she feels instead almost like an extension of your own being. You might not be sisters by birth but you are most definitely sisters by choice. Susan will support you, fight for you, give to you and love you no matter what. She does these things freely and without expectation of reciprocation because she knows that you’d do the same for her (and you would). Susan’s come into our lives rarely, but when they do come, they stay. You may be separated by miles, but that won’t sever the ties between you and your Susan. Susan will make the effort to keep the relationship alive and vital. One of the best things about having a Susan in your life is the fact that Susan loves you enough to be real with you. She’ll give you hard truths when they are warranted and call you on your BS when you deserve it. She will not however, turn her back on you, give up on you or forget about you. As women, we may not have a lot of Susans in our lives but if we have only one we are FabYOUlously blessed.
As we think about the types of friendships that we experience throughout our lifetimes, it is also important to think about what kind of friend we are to others. Each type of friend that we encounter comes into our life for a specific reason–some are blessings while some are lessons…all however are valuable. What kinds of friends do you currently have in your life? How are they helping to shape you into the FabYOUlous person that you long to be?