Natalie Southwick
August 30, 2015 6:00 am

Mindy Kaling, voice of our generation, has a special talent for getting right to the heart of things when it comes to life as a Modern Woman, especially concerning the intricacies of BFF life.

In one episode of The Mindy Project, she schools Danny in just how foolish it is to confuse Maggie, her best friend from college, with Gwen, her best friend from college.

“Best friend isn’t a person, Danny,” she explains.

This eloquent explanation should hit home with just about anyone who ever shared those half-heart necklaces with more than one other person. I know when I talk about my friends, I often find myself using phrases like “my high school bestie,” “my college bestie” and “my travel bestie.” Like Mindy says, there isn’t a hierarchy among these people — I don’t have one best bestie, nor a running list of who’s currently in first place, like some Best Friend version of the Bachelorette.

Most women tend not to have just one official best friend. Rather, we have a bunch of people who have all reached that Best Friend tier. The individual friends at that level are going to vary from one person to the next, but it’s a good bet that most of these besties have made the top-tier cut.

This person has known you since before you even had a personality to speak of, and they love you anyway. Though moving for college or jobs means that many of us don’t live close to our childhood friends anymore, your very first bestie will always hold a special place in your heart. You can go long periods of time without seeing or even talking to him or her, but you know they’ll always be there for you — after all, they’ve been there since the beginning.

The High School Best Friend

You may not have shared crayons or learned camp songs together, but if you had to name someone that you’d trust with your life, your high school bestie is likely to be at the top of the list. From homeroom to senior prom, they were with you every awkward, embarrassing, hilarious and life-changing step of the way through the minefield of adolescence. Friends are rarely as vital to your entire existence as they are in high school, and your high school best friend is straight-up irreplaceable.

Not all of us are lucky enough to instantly bond with our freshman year roommates, but most of us do end up making lifelong friends during our college years, no matter where we find them. Whether it’s from pulling all-nighters together in the library, planning coordinated Halloween costumes that nobody else thinks are funny or scheming to steal a week’s worth of cereal from the dining hall, your college bestie will forever be your partner in crime and the keeper of some of your most powerful secrets. There’s a reason so many college friends end up in each other’s weddings — once you’ve made it through early morning orgo together, you’re together for life.

The Work Best Friend

An even-more-platonic version of the work husband/wife/life partner, your work BFF gets you through long meetings and performance review anxiety better than anyone. When you need someone to complain with about the quality of the new office chairs, cover for you when you’re running late or go on a badly-needed coffee run to the cafe across the street, your work bestie is the first (and maybe only) person you call. Just hope your boss isn’t reading all those emails you send each other with links to articles about how to quit in a way that would make Peggy Olsen proud.

The Roommate Best Friend

No matter how much you love your friends, you wouldn’t want to live with all of them. Some friendships are best kept in different zip codes — but with this friend, cohabitation feels natural. You wear the same size shoes, have similar taste in accessories, never steal each other’s food and know how to warn each other when you have a special visitor over. This is the friend that convinces you to stay in a cramped, overpriced apartment for two years longer than you planned to, just because you know you’ll never have as much fun living with anyone else.

The Older Best Friend

Older doesn’t always mean wiser, but it’s always good to have someone around who has already made the stupid mistakes you’re making right about now — and has lived to tell the tale. Your savvy sister could be just a few years older, or practically old enough to be your mother, but either way, she’s the one you go to when you need advice and maybe a few good “when I was your age” stories to go along with it.

The Adventurer Best Friend

Whether you’re the backpacker type or you prefer sticking closer to home, this friend will drop everything for an adventure with you. Who else is going to take your photo atop the Great Wall of China, run alongside you during your first (and maybe only) half marathon or agree to try skydiving with you? Near and far, your adventurous bestie keeps you moving, and you know there’s nobody you’d rather break in your new passport with.

Her sources are a mystery, but this friend knows about every new bar, boutique, coffee shop, yoga studio, and art show in town. She’s always inviting you to some hip spot that uses ingredients you can’t even pronounce or requires a password to get in the door, or adding you as her plus one for the VIP list at a sold-out concert. Without her, you’d probably be spending all your Friday nights on the couch watching Freaks and Geeks for the 20th time (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

The High-Achieving Best Friend

The Tina to your Amy (or vice versa, I don’t know your life), your most successful bestie is the one who always inspires you to do more, and do it better. It’s not a competition — you’re happy to see her succeed, and she’s behind you 100% no matter what you do. You’re just a better person when she’s around, and you love her for that.

The Non-Judgmental Best Friend

There’s often some overlap between this bestie and your high school or college bestie — the person who witnessed you make it through your awkward-braces phase or helped walk you home from that infamous costume party is definitely past the point of judging you. No matter where you met, though, this friend is always ready and willing to listen to your craziest stories, and laugh along with you the whole time.

The Dude Best Friend

This isn’t to say that the other categories can’t include dudes too (of course they can!), but there’s something to be said for the guy that you can always count on to have your back. He gives you insight into the occasionally baffling workings of the male brain, helps finish the last pieces of all-you-can-eat sushi and will honestly tell you if your haircut looks stupid. He’s not invited to girls’ night, but it’s fine, because he wouldn’t want to come and you already have other fun things planned anyway.

(Images via NBC, Giphy, hereherehereherehereherehereherehere, and here.)

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