When you’re cooking for your family, there are five tastes that they will experience with each meal. Of course, you know these flavors are bitter, salty, sour, sweet, and umami. If you were to look in your kitchen cupboards, you would also find that the foods fit nicely into these categories. But what if you applied these descriptions to the kinds of friends you need for a well-rounded life? Seriously, think about it for a moment. Examine each friendship and the personalities each brings to the table.

If you delve deep and consider the situation, you will see that they also fit into these “taste” groups. Having a wide variety of people backing you in life is beneficial, as the various personalities and relationships can add some much-needed perspective to your life.

Having the right mix of friends would be best- a support group that brings so much to your life. The salty person might seem condescending and hard to handle, but their view on life might be just what you need. Yes, when it comes to friends, it’s ironic to say that you need one who’s umami, sweet, sour, salty, and even bitter, but there’s research to back the importance of all these relationships.

Five Types of Friendships You Need in Your Life

Each friend in your inner circle brings something unique to the table. You know the one you can count on to tell you what you want to hear, and you also see the individual who will tell you the cold, hard truth. Here are the five types of friends everyone needs to keep close to them.


1. Sweet Friends

Who doesn’t love a sweet person? This individual doesn’t have a bad thing to say about anyone. They’re kind and agreeable and want to make everyone around them a little bit better.

The sweet person brings something unique to your friendship, as they remind you every day that you need to be kind to others. They help you shield the negative in life. Furthermore, they help you see the bright side even in the worst situations. Their optimistic outlooks refresh being around them, as they always seem to lift your spirits.

You can count on sweet friends to help you no matter how bad you feel. They won’t judge you, try to tell you everything you’re doing wrong, or be too overbearing. They want to live their best life possible and make you a better person around them.

2. The Salty Individual

When you call someone salty, you probably have many negative images that pop into your mind. However, the salty one is sharp and doesn’t let much get by them. Sure, they’re a bit low in the agreeability factor, but they like to keep things honest in the relationship.

They will not pay you lip service by telling you what you want to hear, and they will be brutally honest. Their blunt nature may be off-putting to some folks, but you need it. Since this person understands the motives and actions of others, they bring healthy skepticism along with them.

This individual is fantastic at helping you look out for your best interests, and they’re quick to spot that scammer. Consequently, a study conducted in 2005 found that women are more trusting by nature than men. While trusting is good, it can also get you into some trouble.

The salty person is the one who helps you rip off the blinders and see things. They don’t beat around the bush or pay lip service with niceties; they live their life with realism.

3. The Sour Person

Who wants a friendship with a sour person? Indeed, this is a fair question. This person is often unfriendly towards others and always has a pessimistic outlook. The fact is that this person may have a few negative moods you will contend with. However, they help you feel empathy.

Negative emotions are a part of life, whether you like them or not. A person who’s always sweet and kind may browse past the negative things. While it’s lovely to be with someone who is always super upbeat and sweet, it’s not always realistic in your relationships.

The sour person will help you to keep things in perspective. A study was conducted in 2013 by Kim and Kim for the Journal of Counseling Psychology. They deemed it essential to validate your negative emotions as much as the positive ones.

While no one wants to focus on the negative, you can’t ignore their existence. The study found that those who acknowledged these negative emotions had higher levels of self-esteem. Ironically, they had lower levels of aggression too.

You certainly don’t want to call the sweet person when you want to grovel in your misery for a few minutes. So the sour individual will share in the grief you feel. But more importantly, they will help you move from this spot.


4. The Bitter Buddy

The bitter person will bring out your envious side, which might motivate your success. They walk around with a chip on their shoulder, feeling that the world owes them something. Nothing they have is good enough, and they’re always jealous of everyone and their achievements.

You’re probably thinking, why would you want someone like this as a friend? According to an article in 2012 by San Jose State University, envy can motivate you. It works similarly to peer pressure.

If you have ever raised children, you know that they go through a phase during the teenage years where their hygiene is lackluster. Have you ever gone into a locker room after gym class? However, you can talk about the importance of wearing deodorant, taking a shower, and brushing your teeth until you are blue in the face.

Let just one student tell your child they have an intense aroma, and it will do more to fix the situation than you ever did. It’s because peer pressure can be motivating too. People feel compelled to change when someone else points out the obvious.

The same thing happens with envy. You want to do the same when you see other people striving and thriving. It gives you the drive to be more persistent on those complex tasks. So it’s not wrong to have a bitter person in your inner circle, as they may motivate you to push beyond your current level to something greater.

5. The Umami Friend

Friends are as diverse as the foods you eat, but one person you want is the umami. This savory person is as wonderful as comfort food on a cold winter’s evening. They bring flavorful portions to your plate.

Having the umami person in your life is essential because they help keep you grounded. This person may have a bit of all the other “tastes” all rolled into one. They can sometimes be sour, sweet, and even bitter, but they know how to manage their emotions.

The umami person is often the old soul. It seems like they’ve always been a part of your life, and you don’t want to picture your life without them. The great thing about these individuals is that they address your many needs, especially when you’re middle-aged.

A study conducted in 2018 by Piotrowski found that long-term friends into the middle-aged years are essential. These folks are a vital part of your fabric. They’ve had many experiences with you over the years and can help you organize a coherent narrative of your life.

What they bring to the table is continuity. Since they’ve been with you for so long, they can help you with your sense of self. These friendships are few and far between, but you’re lucky to find an umami person who will stand by your side.

An umami person might be that friend from kindergarten you still talk to. They hang around when things are great, and they’re not going anywhere when the friendship gets tricky.


Final Thoughts on Friends You Need in Life

You can compare your life to a flower garden. The beauty of these gardens is that there’s diversity. What would your garden look like if it only had daisies or marigolds? However, adding the rose and its fragrant bloom changes the garden and makes it more appealing.

Like each flower, your relationships with your friends bring something unique to your life. While some of your friends might have toxic characteristics, it doesn’t mean everything is terrible. Just like a little bit of envy and peer pressure can give you the push you need to be a better person, so can the right friendships. Diversify your inner circle, and you will notice how much you need all these people.