Many people say that you need certain friends for certain phases of your life, or for certain purposes. And indeed, the more I think about it, the more I agree. I don’t mean that you should drop old pals or friendship (s)hop, but simply that every relationship has its place.
The friend who is a great shoulder to cry on may be different than the girl who takes you to the most fun parties in college; the person you turn to for financial or relationship advice may be different than the one at work who makes each 9 to 5 that much more pleasant. All people can’t be all things at once, right?
With this in mind, I also think there’s a case to be made that when it comes to healthy living, having a few carefully placed pals can be a lifesaver.
Here’s six kinds of friends I rely on—in matters from from wellness to the wallet.
The Doctor: Available to soothe your fears during middle-of-the-night freakouts, coaxing you away from the ministrations of Dr. Google. Bonus points if you also have a pediatrician pal—to help diagnose every rash, bump or bruise your little one will inevitably have. Also: Make sure your doctor-friend aptly straddles the line between alarmist and too mellow—you want to be poked and prodded when necessary and left alone when it’s really nothing.
The Kiddie Sleep Expert: I recently availed myself of the savvy of a college pal, Brooke Nalle, a trained sleep coach who runs Sleepy On Hudson. Even if you think Zzzs are totally individual and a bit of a mysterious dark art, a five-minute call with someone outside of your particular bedtime battle can make all the difference in the world. (In my case, it helps that she has three small children of her own, so she can totally identify.)
The Foodie: Don’t dine out without this friend in tow; she can guide you towards the freshest fish, the most tender cuts of meat, the things likely to be tasteless, and items that only appear on the menu for a few fleeting weeks. (i.e. the much-covered ramps of springtime). Related: The chef/home cook. This is especially true for me—I really don’t cook. Friends who do are extra special. (I can’t wait for our week-long getaway this summer with my foodie friend Lauren and her husband Nick. I’m salivating just thinking about it…)
The Derm: Let’s face it. Many of us don’t get our moles checked often enough. But if you spend Friday nights hanging out with your skin doctor best bud or take an annual summer vacation with your sister the dermatologist, it’s the perfect time to have her eye that funky beauty mark. (Not to mention give you a discount on a skin-smoothing peel, perhaps?)
The Green Thumb: Despite having worked at a nursery (the kind with trees and flowers, not babies) as a teenager, I still don’t know a heck of a lot about what plants need shade, which need sun, and all the other insider info for keeping green stuff alive. Now that we’ve moved and have our own rooftop deck, I would love to start a container garden, but fear killing off my first crop. I happen to have a very special gardener “friend”— my mom! She jokingly refers to her large garden, when its in full bloom, as Giverny. I’ll be leaning on her for Miracle Gro, magic tricks, and more.
The Tightwad: Sure, she might not be the most fun to split the bill with, but it’s always helpful to have a friend who spends wisely, so you also can build your wealth, however small or large. In my circle of friends, we actually think of it as “WWMD”? As in, What Would Margot Do? Margot—always using her noggin’ when it comes to spending, saving and everything in between, and able to keep you from going over the edge (err, credit limit) with a sensible chat.