A Brief Guide to Female Friends

26 flavors of sisterhood that you may be familiar with

1. Friends who are inexplicable to your partner. And that's OK.

2. Friends who mystify you as to whether or not they really want to be your friend because they're never, ever available for real-life coffee but send you long, cozy emails and always comment on your Facebook updates. But evidently they never want to lay eyes on you again. Eventually, the feeling is mutual.

3. Friends who just get you.

4. Friends with rules. Too many rules.

5. Friends who are only there for you when you are up, and disappear when you're down.

6. Friends who shock you with their generosity and kindness.

7. Friends who disappear for reasons you still don't understand.

8. Friends you know you need to divorce but you're too lazy/busy to get around to it.

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9. Friends who admire you so much they want to be you, which is fun at first, but soon you want to run screaming from the room.

10. Friends who dumped you years ago for reasons shrouded in mystery, but by the great oceans of circumstance and mutual friends, you are tossed into their social-circle salad several times a year, resulting in mutual bullshit displays of brittle, fake affection.

11. The friend you adore for her wit—her soaring wit! Is there anything she can say that is not saucy, divine and hilarious, and also cutting-edge and timely? But you turn around laughing and find you are bleeding ever so slightly—hmm, because frankly, she's also vicious—until one day she slices a little too deep and you finally see the light. You resolve: No more friendships based solely on the laughter meter. (Something you figured out with boyfriends years ago.)

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12. Friends who are inexplicable to other friends. They wonder: How can you be friends with her? She's such a phony, so pretentious, ugh. How can you be friends with me, the ultimate friend, and like HER too? OMG, am I a phony?

13. Friends you introduce to other friends and then you don't hear from either of them again. They've run off into the sunset with each other. At some level you knew this would happen, and it's OK.

14. Friends who think they know you but really have no idea. Which is weirdly fine.

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15. Friends you trash to your husband or partner but secretly you think they're cool.

16. Friends who tell you the truth about yourself with so much love it doesn't even hurt ... that much.

17. Friends who remind you about the good parts of yourself, which are the first things you forget.

18. Friends you know you can trust with every deep, dark secret in your heart.

19. Friends you know are clinically insane but it doesn't really bother you. You love them anyway, because you, too, are bonkers in ways even you don't entirely understand.

20. Friends you love and adore and don't even secretly wish would—if they were up for the Nobel Prize—not win it.

21. The friend who changes her mind constantly about what she wants to do with her life. But, whatever, you're used to it by now and it's not like you have a handle on things either.

22. Friends with qualities you aspire to but realize you will never have. Alas, you will always be yourself, no matter where you go.

23. Friends who are the first you call if your world falls apart.

24. Friends who you realize a little too late you should have stayed in touch with.

25. Friends you wish you'd been a better friend to.

26. Friends who actually demonstrate what real friendship should be.

Tags: friendship