After spending the weekend with friends at an adult tap dance convention, I realized how important friends are after 40. It seems to be more challenging to not just make but to cultivate those friendships in midlife. Maybe it’s because we are being pulled in so many different directions. I feel friendships are so important to improving our lives and our sanity, especially at this age.

We all need different friends for different reasons, but here are four types of friends I believe we all need:

1. The Control Freak

You know hershe always has a planner and is on a schedule. She not only has a to-do list, but she completes it! She is organized and responsible.

Why you need her: She will be the first one there if you ever have a crisis. She won’t wait for you to ask for help, she will swoop in and take control. In all honesty, this is my favorite friend. She has your back.

*Bonus: If you make plans with her she will be the one to track down a restaurant, read reviews, and make the reservations. You just have to show up!

2. The Hot Mess

Unlike the control freak, hot mess never seems to know what is going on. She is the one who is always late, never organized, yet manages to get things done. We can’t help but love a hot-mess friend.

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Why you need her: Hot mess friend will make you feel like you have your life together. She helps you realize you don’t need to have everything in perfect order. She helps you accept and even celebrate your flaws.

*Bonus: She will never judge you for having a messy house or car.

3. The Fun One

This is the friend who will force you to go out with her. She will attend concerts with you and push to the front of the crowd, dragging you with her. She is always ready for fun.

Why you need her: She will pull you out of whatever rut you are in and remind you that you can still have fun, no matter how old you are.

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*Bonus: She’s the one who will convince you to take a personal day and see a matinee with her, thus saving your sanity.

4. The Inappropriate One

She is sometimes loud, and many times inappropriate. You never know what will come out of her mouth. She speaks her mind, no matter what.

Why you need her: She will tell you like it is. She won’t sugar coat it. Sometimes we need to hear the cold, hard truth, and she’s not afraid to give it.

*Bonus: She will make you laugh harder than anyone else. I’m talking pee your pants, big belly laugh.

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Here’s the thing—you don’t necessarily need four different friends. Many women can be two or more of these types. Personally I can be all fourI can be the one to take charge, sometimes be a hot mess, be the friend who gets others out there, or say the most inappropriate things. Just ask my close friends about that last one . . . on second thought, please don’t!

So don’t just go out and look for these friends, BE this type of friend. Believe me, it makes life a lot more manageable. And more fun!

Previously published on the author’s blog

Amy Young

Amy Young is an author, educator, and mother who lives in Austin, Texas. Visit her blog at http://genxmomconfessions.com/