Pal. Buddy. Bro. Mate. They're all jocular names for our male acquaintances, with each word suggesting a different kind of relationship from casual to deep. Sure, every guy needs a best friend, but every guy also needs friends for different situations. Here are five friends every guy needs.
Going drinking at a bar? Heading to a party? You need to take the dude with you. The dude is a jovial, outgoing backslapper. Yes, he's likely to be a bit superficial, and, if you're a more serious person, you might find it hard to get along with him. However, he will love to chat with everyone in a social setting. He'll speak to the woman you're apprehensive about and entertain your co-workers with wild stories about partying with you.
Caveats: It's easy for the dude to get on everyone's nerves. That's why you don't hang out with the dude all the time. So if you really want to impress someone in a social setting, limit his or her exposure to the dude, as well.
Mentors are not always our friends. There's usually an age difference and a lifestyle difference that keeps mentors and mentees from becoming traditional-style friends. However, you can get close to your mentor and develop a relationship that's more brotherly and less father-and-son. You hang out with this person to learn, but, as a friend, the mentor may reveal more of his secrets. Also, in talking with him as a friend, you may learn about his background in a way that tells you even more about how he got where he is today.
Caveats: With a mentor, you want to keep a relatively serious kind of relationship. You can make your mentor your friend, but don't get blitzed while hanging out with him.
The friend who is a girl
Every guy needs a female friend. This is the woman you go to when your significant other is acting out. She dispenses advice on a proper birthday present for your girlfriend. She makes you organic black bean soup.
Caveats: A platonic friendship with a woman is a minefield of disasters. You can overstep the bounds of friendship and veer into sketchy territory, possibly entering into a romantic relationship. You don't want to do that, especially if you've known the woman for years. Why? Because you've known her for years. She knows your romantic history, your foibles, faults and one-night stands. She knows you have no idea how to pick out a good birthday present for a woman. All of this will come back to haunt you.
The made man
You need a friend who has connections. He can get you last-minute seats to the game or knows someone who can. He knows a good mechanic and can get you a cheap rate. And he doesn't ask anything in return.
Caveats: He hasn't asked anything in return -- yet. But he will. Be prepared to come up big with a favor for this friend, like offering up a kidney. Otherwise, he may or may not introduce you to his martial-arts friend, who will encourage you to repay the made man's kindness if you refuse him.
The best friend
This is the man you've known for years. He may have been the only living human being to see you shed tears. He knows how much you really love women's gymnastics. He's offered sterling advice, introduced you to great opportunities and may have introduced you to your wife. And you've done the same for him.
Caveats: Having a long-term best-friend relationship is like a marriage. It requires work. Sure, it's easier to maintain, and you won't be fighting over who took out the trash last (unless your best friend is also your roommate, which makes you a miracle worker). Still, you have to work to maintain a high-level interpersonal relationship. You and your best friend really desire contact with each other, so you must maintain it. Take slights lightly. If you argue, make up quickly. You don't want to lose your best friend.