From the risk-taker to the over-sharer, there are eight personalities every woman needs in her life to help her stay sane.
This coming weekend thousands of Kenyan ladies will be meeting up with their best girlfriends. Atleast one in three women will ditch their smartphones and TV watching (well, alright, perhaps after the El Quado le sis or whatever that soap opera is called) and head out with their girlies.
All too often we only catch up with our besties over the Facebook timeline or in 140 characters. Half of us confess to socializing more online than in real life. Here are the eight types of friends every girl needs.
You’ve known her for years, probably since childhood, and your parents have the albums stuffed full of embarrassing photos to prove it. You’ve slept in the same bed more times than you’ve shared with some boyfriends, and she loves nothing more than to regale your newer friends with tales of your teenage goth phase and the catastrophic drinking snails game.
You know her so well that entire hung-over afternoons can be spent communicating in grunts in front of a box set. She loves your mum, fancies your brother, tolerated your first boyfriend’s innate dullness and pulled on a sparkly paper hat at your family’s Christmas bash without complaining. Occasional years can pass without you getting the chance to spend time together, but when you do it’s like you’ve never been apart.
The Core opposite
Every girl needs a friend who is nothing like her. As in utterly absolutely core opposite. These can be based on cultural, religious, practical or spiritual differences, but there should be at least a degree of opposition. It may seem strange to champion such a seemingly incompatible friendship, and I’m not asking you to buddy up with your nemesis, but this girl is one of the most valuable friends in helping to develop and cement your own views and values.
She is an excellent reflection of the conflicting views others hold in comparison to your own ingrained ideas – whether she’s the stoic calm to your incensed hysteria, or the bouncy fun-lover to your negative cynic. Learn from her and become a better, more open person.
The over-sharer is a walking, talking reminder that some things are better left unsaid. Schooled by the sassy no-nonsense of Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones as a teenager, she believes it’s women’s god-given right to have it all – and woe betide any other female who dares to disagree. She insists on frank, unreserved discussions about everything from salaries to sex, inevitably causing tension amongst your more conservative friends. She’s a controversial choice, but spending time with her leaves you feeling strangely liberated.
You can’t help but admire her unashamed sense of self, and her tenacious ambition to succeed in everything – from her career and immaculate personal appearance to her multiple relationships. You may not be brazen enough to ask for a pay rise quite as pointedly as she does, but her achievements are testament to the adage some things really are worth trying.
The gossip is fun, sassy and knows everything and everything before it even happens. She’ll always try (and succeed) in sneaking you in to the most lavish event in town, is endlessly generous to a fault and is the one most likely to brighten up your idle Tuesday with an email reading “Omg. Last night. Spill. NOW”. She went to an all-girls school and introduces you to all of her classmates (who she’s still bffs with); Mercy, Shiko, Njeri, Amina, Milly, Faith, Sally and Collette. With her iPhone, BlackBerry and various tablets in her expensive handbag at all times, you know when she hasn’t been seen on Whatsapp for longer than 12 hours to call the police. The gossip loves to talk, a habit which has got her into trouble more than once
Sometimes, we all need to be told when we’re being ridiculous. The straight-talker listens patiently to your woes and suggests insightful advice, but isn’t afraid to give you a metaphorical slap back to reality when you continue to wallow in your own misery. She’s probably a bit older than you, and someone you’ve met in the past few years. She’s the one who marches you to block the calls from your menace of an ex-boyfriend, refuses to get drawn into the petty war between you and a colleague and bluntly tells you when you’re obsessing over nothing. She is the voice of reason; walking the thin line between cruel and kind.
Sometimes you’ll huff that’s she cynical, but she’s only imparting advice to defuse situations she’s been in herself. What she has to say might not be what you want to hear, but one day you’ll realise it was what you needed to hear.
The risk-taker was a teenage rebel, and has the pierced nose and stretched ears to prove it. She might not spend her holidays hopping from festival to festival around Nairobi any more after attaining a high-powered job in the City (her parents are still reeling), but she still knows how to have a good time. She’s philosophical, analytical and a flawless assessor of risks. She jolts you out of your easy routine and into impromptu girl gateaways, thinking it’s a good idea to crash a Mingle party (it wasn’t) and turning that quiet few drinks after studies into an agonizing 24 hour bender. You might not always be in the right state of mind for her antics, but life around her is never, ever boring.
Somewhat self explanatorily, the mumis like a surrogate for when your shower has packed in, there’s no food in the house and everything just seems too much to cope with on a dreary Saturday afternoon. The has been baking since she was seven, makes the perfect cup of tea and loves nothing more than an excuse to have everyone around (at a sensible hour, and as long as you remember to remove your shoes). A perpetual mother-in-training, she loves nothing more than to fuss after her friends and plan fun activities for them. Her comforting neuroses are like being welcomed back home when your own mum is too far away.
The ‘not boyfriend’ boy friend
Billy Crystal as Harry Burns in When Harry Met Sally … once said that men and women could never be friends “because the sex part always gets in the way”. Whilst that age-old debate continues to rage, there’s no doubting the importance of a good male friend.
You and your ‘not boyfriend’ boy friend will always get mistaken for a couple, but men’s handy ability to compartmentalize their lives and general refusal to sweat the small stuff can help girls to realize a lot of the things we worry about really are utterly trivial. Any gruff words of comfort he gives you are often the most touching, and any compliments paid are meant in utmost sincerity, as the way you two interact is free from the intrinsic complications of a relationship
Likewise, every man should have a close female friend to advise him on his latest romantic endeavours and how to avoid any pitfalls.