FRIENDS IN OUR MID-LIFE AND OLDER YEARS
Why is it harder at this stage in life?
I hope you are well and your year is going well? Can you believe that we’re almost half way through 2023! I hope the year is going as you would wish and your goals and ambitions for the year are progressing.
One of the goals I have for this year is to focus more on my friends. It’s very easy to get caught up in the everyday and to neglect maintaining our friendships. After all, they are the ones that are there when things go pear-shaped, aren’t they?
For this very reason, on my 45 Not Out Facebook Community Group, I’ve decided that all my posts for this week will be on the theme of friends - the good stuff and the bad stuff too.
If you’d like to be part of the 45 Not Out Facebook group, you can ask to join here It’s a closed group with women just like you so what happens in the group stays in the group. Alongside loads of supportive and inclusive posts from those fab women who are already part of the group. It would be great to have you along…
WHAT DO FRIENDSHIPS LOOK LIKE IN OUR MID/OLDER YEARS?
I’ve pondered on this a while, and it’s fair to say that friendships take on a very different mode once we either “partner” up or have children. When we’re single, we have loads of time to spend with friends, and, quite truthfully, they are a total necessity to get us through the curve ball times in life.
But once we bring another being into our lives (partner or children etc) things change totally. Because that other being quite rightly subconsciously demands a part of us, then we have less to give to our friends and the friendships weaken slightly.
It’s highly likely that, if our friends are a similar age to us, then they’re having the exact same demands on their time and care, and so the need for close, strong friendships isn’t as necessary.
But then, as you pass through all the various stages in life, and, especially in the case of empty nesters, you regain the time you had as a singleton but your friendships aren’t there as they once were.
But, because we’re older and more experienced, that experience has made us more reliant. And because we’re aren’t the needy twenty/thirty somethings with their tight group of friends, we find we stick with a couple or two of close friends instead.
Added to which, given all the various stages of life that we’ve been through, it’s highly likely our outlook on life will have changed and we need to find other friends who share our views.
It can be difficult navigating this stage in life. I know I’m going through this a bit and it’s made sit up and realise that I need to take my friend situation a bit more seriously and make time for it.
It’s for that reason I volunteered at a local music festival near me last year - Bluedot - to help me widen my circle of friends. I have to to say it did just that with knobs on, and I’m delighted to be going back as a volunteer this July and looking forward to hooking up with some of fab volunteers I did shifts with last year, alongside meeting some fab new ones.
It’s not easy to put yourself out there and I know I felt very self conscious about volunteering and speaking to perfect strangers. But, you know what, once I’d spoken to people and broken the ice, I found most people were in the same situation as me. They wanted to find people who they “synched” with and with whom they could go and see the odd performer with, so they wouldn’t be a Billy no mates at gigs, whilst at the festival. And once the festival was done, then continue to keep in contact with and enjoy extending the friendship.
I hope this helps. As I mentioned earlier, navigating re-visiting the friend situation at this stage in life can be tricky. But the solution is taking a huge gulp of breath, step into social situations that you enjoy, smile and speak to people. If my experience is anything to go by, you will probably find they’re there for exactly the very same reason as you.
I wish you well in finding your new BFF’s and revelling in their company.
Take care and see you in fortnight