The Pushy Friend
Everybody knows a shameless schmoozer who never waits patiently in line or buys anything at list price, but always tries to charm the salesperson or maitre d' into giving them a special deal -- and usually gets it. A lot of us look down on those people because secretly we wish we could get away with it. I know if I tried to sneak a hotel clerk a tip for a room upgrade, somehow I would do it wrong and he would shout, "ARE YOU TRYING TO BRIBE ME?" and I would run away in shame. While these people manage to get away with it every time.
I used to be bitter about that and tell myself that I looked down on them because they were trying to "cheat the system" and that I never did things like that because I was too honest, not because I was terrible at it. That's until I met some friends like that. "Oh, you're in a standard room?" they would ask. "That's ridiculous. I'll take care of this."
Via Starwood Hotels
There's a fine line between always asking for more because "it couldn't hurt to ask," and badgering people to the point of obnoxiousness, and a person who is willing to walk that line is a great friend to have. Especially at work.
If you get on the good side of your boss or someone else high up the ladder, they'll go to bat for you. In many places, your job advancement depends on a combination of doing a good job and office politics, and since most of us hate office politics or suck at it, or both, having a smooth-talking champion to advance your cause is a real gift. Now, I usually suggest getting on the good side of your boss by doing a good job and making his job easier, but blow jobs and brown-nosing would also work if you want to play it that way.
The Friend Who Can Find Deals
This is the kind of friend you can miss out on discovering if you make the wrong choice in a minor moral dilemma. They often reveal themselves during an innocent group conversation when you mention a vacation you went on and they ask you how much you spent, then react by saying, "Oh no, that was way too much. You should have checked Kayak first. I saw fares for $400 less last week."
You have a choice here. You can get pissed off at someone butting in and Monday-morning quarterbacking you and making you look like a chump, or you can check this person out and see if you have a genuine Deal Finder on your hands.
To find out for sure, you just put them under a bright light and ask them to price products. Or maybe just hang out and get to know them.
This is the kind of person who thinks of comparison shopping as a recreational sport. You might think it is a tedious chore, going from store to store, and website to website, reading fine print, trying to figure out which coupons stack, and following every Twitter update on Black Friday deals. But for this person, it is literally like a game. When they get a new gadget, they are less excited about the gadget itself than about the fact that they "scored" in getting it for 60 percent off.
"I'm not even sure how this works but I won it for $10 in an auction."
The illegal variation of this is the person who's always able to find you pirated software, or electronics goods that "fell off the back of a truck." It might not be as good of an idea to take their deals, but it's the same personality type with slightly less scruples. My parents' neighbors are like this, and are always giving my parents a bunch of pirated DVDs unsolicited, because I guess it gives them a chance to talk about how they totally beat the system.
You can ask your friend to find a deal for you, or you can just absorb some of the tips they'll be happy to drop in conversation, and learn valuable lessons about how store-bought HDMI cables are a scam or that you actually don't save money buying a 20-pack of certain items at Costco.
I guess it might be more convenient if you actually need 200 cans of tomato sauce.
You can miss out on so many wonderful tidbits in life if you're too busy worrying about people making you look like a knucklehead.
The Friend With (Job) Benefits
I think the sex version of "friends with benefits" is overrated. I'd rather have a friend who works at Adobe. Because Adobe employees can get any Adobe software package for $25, and if I get Photoshop CS5 Extended (list price $1000) from them, I've saved $975, which I can use on a pretty decent prostitute, or many, many hours of a more dubious prostitute.
I think this picture is appropriate again.
Aside from the tons of places you'd like to have a friend "on the inside" for discounts, friends with service jobs, like doctors or lawyers, can also come in handy. Consider that you have to pay $200 to a lawyer just to ask him what he thinks about something, and you can see how handy it would be to have a friend who can save you the money and tell you that you have no case, or maybe just read through your house-buying documents or job contract for you. If you're in the creative industry, maybe they can help you set things up properly so you won't get your work stolen, and can solidly sue the pants off of someone if it happens.
When I bought my house, it happened to be from a friend of a friend of my parents, and she also happened to be a professional realtor, which meant she was able to hook me up with home inspectors, a title company, a loan agent, an insurance agent and make up a schedule for the whole thing, so I just had to show up when I was supposed to and sign papers. A year later, it looks like the right amount of money has gone out of my bank account so I think it's safe to say I haven't been cheated. If you've ever bought a house, you know what a hassle it is to track down all that shit, so you see why my mom has been badgering me to write this lady a thank-you card for the past two months. (I just put it in the mailbox, OK?)
Other great professions for friends to have include chef, tax accountant, Apple employee and assassin.
Well, that guy won't cut you off twice.