Not all friendships are created equal. What you think of as a circle of friends is more like a pyramid of stacked disks; the broad base is populated with random folks from your Facebook feed, FINOs (Friends In Name Only), garbage friends, energy vampires and the people you know from improv class. At the top of the stack are the scarce few ride-or-die peeps who know your darkest secrets and are always there to fetch you from LAX any time of day or night.
The strength of every bond in between can be gauged by figuring out exactly what you’re willing to do for (or tolerate from) your friends. And if you live in L.A. long enough, you’ll realize there are very specific L.A. ways to rank the relative power of these relationships. So take a look below and see where your friends (or you for that matter) fit on the spectrum of L.A. friendships.
The list of 21 highly debatable types of friends is arranged in ascending order starting with the lowest-level, least-special types of friendships and ending with the best — and unicorn-rare — sort of friend you could hope to have in the City of Angels. Did we get the order wrong? Miss a specific type of friendship you know deeply? Talk about it with your friends!
21. The friend who invites you to see their stand-up comedy set but forgets to mention there’s a two-drink minimum.
20. The friend who says they’re down to meet up for happy hour anywhere any time — as long as it doesn’t involve crossing the 405 Freeway or rush hour.
19. The friend who neglects to mention you’ve got spinach in your teeth while snapping a selfie in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s “Urban Light” installation and then tags your Instagram post with #greentooth.
18. The friend who lets you use their extra parking spot in Koreatown — even when you’re not visiting them.
17. The friend who loans you their Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ screeners.
16. The friend who totally hates hiking but is still always down to hike Fryman Canyon with you anyway.
15. The friend who takes you to your first Hollywood Bowl “Sound of Music” singalong.
14. The friend who will brave the parking lot at the Grove to meet you at the Cheesecake Factory.
13. The friend who sits in the movie theater until they can take an iPhone photo of your name in the end credits even if it’s located somewhere below caterer and before the disclaimer.
12. The friend who calls you with Dodger tickets they can’t use.
11. The friend who passes along that ultimate L.A. street parking hack (the one about the yellow loading zone in evenings and on Sundays).
10. The friend who will brave the lines at Howlin’ Ray’s and to bring you a hot chicken sandwich.
9. The friend who helps you run lines the night before your audition for a Verizon commercial.
8. The friend who makes you their plus one when they win the Hollywood Pantages Broadway in Hollywood lottery.
7. The friend who says “Go ahead and use my pool whenever you want — here’s a gate key.”
6. The friend who is your last-minute dog walker when an Uber shift unexpectedly has you driving people to south Orange County.
5. The friend who will cross the L.A. Marathon route — more than once — to meet you for Sunday brunch.
4. The friend who drives your kid to baseball practice in Simi Valley because you work in El Segundo.
3. The friend who just gave you their last guest pass to the Magic Castle.
2. The friend who is always there to talk you down from a bad trip after you thought taking all those shrooms and wandering around Joshua Tree was a good idea.
1. The friend who will pick you up at LAX on a Sunday — no questions asked.
This story is part of a limited series exploring friendship in Los Angeles, from the superficial to the fulfilling.