10 types of people you should be surrounding yourself with in life

I’m pretty sure you’ve come across the old saying, “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.”

And the even older one – “Birds of the same feather flock together.”

So, in that light, what does your circle say about you? 

Are they people who lift you up and inspire you to be a better person? 

I certainly hope so. Because the people you surround yourself with make a real impact on the quality of your life. Heck, they could even change your life’s trajectory! 

Here are 10 types of people you should actively seek out to make your life more beautiful. 

And if you have the good fortune to already have them, well then, make sure to keep them! 

1) The Encourager

Let’s start with the cheerleaders in your life. These are the people who are always there to uplift you and keep believing in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself. 

I’ve been so lucky to have a number of encouragers in my life – from my grandma to my sister to my closest friends – and I just can’t take for granted how generous they are with their support. 

Whenever I succeed at something, I don’t feel any trace of envy or snide remarks. No sense of being fake happy for me. Their enthusiasm and support for me are so genuine

As a teacher, I know just how important it is to have at least one encourager in your life. In fact, I see it in my own students, how encouraging words seem to push them to do better, much more than any threat of punishment can. 

So believe me when I say that surrounding yourself with encouragers could make a difference in how quickly you can achieve your goals

2) The Optimist

Just like encouragers, optimists know the power of the words that come out of their mouths. 

Let’s say you didn’t get the position for a job you applied for. There are two ways someone could respond: 

  • “It’s definitely a bummer that you didn’t get this one. But I truly believe it’s for the best. There’s probably something else out there that’s a perfect fit for you. Your skills and experiences are valuable, and the right job is waiting for you just around the corner. Keep your chin up!”
  • “That’s rough, and honestly, it’s pretty unfair you didn’t get it. The job market is brutal, and sometimes it feels like no matter what you do, it’s never enough. I wish things were easier, but it looks like this is just how it goes nowadays.”

Which one would make you feel better about the situation? Probably A, right? 

That’s the optimist speaking. 

The other one’s a pessimist, and while what they may say may be true and sympathetic, it’s also kind of dire and cynical. Maybe even a little bitter. 

What they say is valid, but still, it’s not exactly the thing you need to hear at such a time. 

If you have an optimist in your life – a rational optimist (to distinguish them from the toxic optimist) – then you’ll always have good vibes to draw from whenever you need it! 

3) The Truth-Teller

As with everything else in life, you need to have balance when it comes to the people in your life. 

So, as important as it is to have someone to keep your spirits up, make sure to have someone who can tell it like it is, too. 

A truth-teller.

However, this is not to be confused with the pessimist, whom I’ve mentioned above. 

A truth-teller is not a naysayer whose entire worldview is negative and has kind of a defeatist mindset. 

They simply have more of an objective eye, which is useful for when you’re deep into your feelings and can’t see straight. 

I know that I appreciated the truth-tellers in my life when I was stuck in a toxic relationship

It was hard to hear the ugly truth about my unhealthy relationship patterns then, but it was instrumental in waking me up and addressing what needed to be addressed. 

4) The Realist

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Speaking of optimists and pessimists brings me to talk about the middle child on this worldview spectrum – the realists.

Like truth-tellers (who are more often than not, realists themselves), realists can see things as they are. 

As someone with big dreams and flights of fancy, I sometimes need someone to pull me back to earth and remind me of what’s practical and what’s not. 

Maybe you’re one too, in which case, look around and thank your realist friends – they need to know what a grounding force they are in your life! 

5) The Adventurer

Equally, send the adventurers in your life an appreciative message. They’re the ones who add spice to your days. 

Personally, that’s what I rely on my adventurous friends for. As a creature of habit, I tend to stick to a routine that gets the job done indeed, but can also make my days feel monotonous after a while. 

So when I’m looking to shake things up, all I have to do is call my “Spice Girls”, as I like to call them. I can always count on them to pull me out of a rut and experience new things way outside my comfort zone. 

Some things I’ve done with such friends of mine are, to name a few: a sequioa treetop adventure, go on an unplanned beach trip (and go skinny-dipping on top of that!), and indoor sky-diving. 

Yep, little scaredy cat me did all of those, thanks to my brave friends who knew how to let their hair down. 

6) The Intellectual

Of course, if you want an even more exciting life, you can’t go without intellectual friends. You need them to keep you on your toes, brain cells-wise! 

It might sound counterintuitive to equate intellectuals with excitement, but that’s exactly what I feel when I’m with my friends who love hashing complex topics out. 

You know why? Because I get pushed out of the sometimes-stultifying zone of small talk and superficiality, and I get to hear diverse perspectives. Anything that sparks your brain and gets you thinking in other ways is exciting, isn’t it? 

In other words, I grow. It’s precisely why I always aim to not be the smartest person in the room! 

7) The Empath

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How about those times when you need a shoulder to cry on? Who do you call? 

(Not the Ghostbusters, unless you’re into that.)

Here’s where the empaths shine – they’re the friends who will sit and listen while you cry your heart out or rant in rage over the person who did you dirty. 

Empathetic friends are pretty special, in that they provide the safe space we need when we’re at our most vulnerable. No judging, no preaching, just a pure and simple comforting presence. 

I hope that every single person in the world has at least one empathetic person in their life. Sometimes just one is all it takes to feel seen and heard. 

8) The Comedian

Alright, now we get to the funny ones. I can’t count how many times I’ve been pulled out of a funk by a friend who knew how to make me laugh. 

In fact, the comedians in our circle can do more than just make us laugh. They can make the stress and burdens we carry so much lighter. And in my experience, they do give us a fresh perspective. 

Like, sure, it’s terrible how my ex cheated on me, but hey, as my funny friend put it, “At least you don’t have to run your fingers through all that gunk in his hair anymore!” 

A different perspective, indeed! 

9) The Inspirer

Next up are the role-model friends. Just like I like having friends who are smarter than me, I like surrounding myself with people who are better than me in other ways. 

For example, I have a friend who volunteers at a soup kitchen every weekend. 

Another friend goes to a nursing home to chat and play with the residents there. 

Yet another one is a great role model just by virtue of being confident yet humble. 

What I love most about inspirers is that they actually DO. They don’t just dream or talk big words. They truly walk the talk and make you want to ditch your own excuses for not doing better in life. 

10) The Loyal Confidant

Lastly, we get to the ride-or-die friends. The ones who’ll help you roll up a dead body in a carpet and dig a hole in the ground to bury it, as they say. 

Whatever secrets you tell them, you can be sure they’ll take it with them to the grave. 

Not only that, but they’re so loyal that if you ever catch them talking about you to other people, they’d be saying only nice things. Isn’t that the best kind of talking-behind-your-back? 

Final thoughts

When it comes to friendships and relationships, I’ve always believed that there’s rarely one person who can give us everything we need to grow. Nor can we be that one person for everything either. 

So, it always pays to have a diverse group who bring their unique gifts to your life and make you a better person. 

But if you happen to have a unicorn who’s a blend of all the types on this list…man, aren’t you born under a lucky star? I hope you can be the same kind of unicorn for them, too – or at least aim to be! 

Picture of Roselle Umlas

Roselle Umlas

I am a freelance writer with a lifelong interest in helping people become more reflective and self-aware so that they can communicate better and enjoy meaningful relationships.

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