Pals, bros, homies, comrades – call them what you will, chances are your mates are a crucial corner of your life. An oasis of no-pressure, dependable friendship in an otherwise difficult world. But, if you think you love all of your mates equally, think again. Highly rigorous, scientific research has revealed that there are 5 types of mate that every bloke needs to get along in life, each very different from the last.
If you don't feel that your circle of chums is complete, chances are you're missing out on one of these fine specimens in your collection...
1. The Wingman
We're not talking about the sleazy type of wingman here, we're talking about that mate who's the ideal bloke to have around in social situations. He sparks up conversations, he distracts that pretty girl's friend while you make your move, he gives you the confidence to go get 'em and, if your best lines come to nothing, he's there with commiserations and another pint. Good lad.
2. The Handy Man
This is an increasingly rare type of pal, but that only makes him more valuable. There comes a time in every modern man's life when he needs a mate who's good at the practical stuff. Whether you want to find out if your plumber is ripping you off, or you need someone with some hands-on expertise to help you tile your bathroom, this guy is the boss. Feed him beer and a good meal and you'll get more than your money's worth – just make sure you don't take advantage. Too many favours and you'll end up with a labourer rather than a mate.
3. The Fitness Guru
If motivation isn't your strong point but pizzas are, you need this dude on rotation in your friendship circle. He bullies you into runs, he signs you up for triathlons, he got you a great deal at your local gym and he won't take no for an answer. On the surface, you probably hate this guy. He's in disturbingly good shape and most activities with him result in pain, but deep down, you know he's good for you.
4. The Workmate
They know what you do, they understand how you roll, they gets the ins and outs of your professional life and they're as contemptuous of your MD as you are. This person is an essential mate. From liquid lunches to late night deadlines, they've got your back and they make the daily grind bearable by just shooting the breeze.
Part of the beauty of this friendship is that there are fewer expectations and commitments. You're not going to be involved in their wedding, you're not going to be their shoulder to cry on and you don't need to bare your soul to this pal. But don't underestimate them because they're a colleague. Your workmate is an essential member of your crew.
5. The Mentor
The concept of “a mentor” seems a bit old-fashioned these days. Yet, having someone you look up to in your life is really important. He may be an older, grittier bloke, or someone who's got an outlook you really admire. Either way, this should be a man you respect. Whether you need direct advice, constructive criticism or a friendly word in your ear when you're being a Grade A pleb, this is the mate you can rely on to keep you on track.
Which mates are most important in your life? How many of your close pals are colleagues? Do you have a friend you consider a “mentor”? Get chummy in the comments section below.