Mid-Life Friendships

 

My amazing circle of girlfriends is an absolute blessing! My friends are always there for me, and I for them, when we need each other to celebrate something great or for support during tough times. Sometimes we need a chat session over breakfast or lunch, and sometimes a few drinks after work hit the spot! I have shared a lot of good times and bad with these special ladies! I can tell them anything, and they will keep it to themselves, and they can trust me to do the same!

However, some of you may not be so fortunate. As you approach your forties and fifties, you may find that your friendships have dwindled away. It’s a big change from the days when you were attending school or raising young children. During those days, surrounded by other students and parents, everyone was eager to get together for study groups and birthday parties. You may feel like you’re on your own now, especially if you’re transitioning through a divorce or packing your kids off to college. The following are just a few tips for staying in touch with old friends and possibly making new ones.

Tips for Old Friendships

1. Mark your schedule. Meeting up with friends is just as important as following up with business clients; pull out your calendar to stay on track.

2. Take a vacation. Video calls and texting long distances are nice, but they can’t match sitting around the table together after dinner; use your personal and business travel to drop in on each other occasionally.

3. Collaborate on a project. Pursue the same activities even while you’re apart. You’ll have plenty to talk about if you’re both taking gourmet cooking classes, learning a new craft, or training for a charity run.

4. Revive former ties. Perhaps you still wonder about a high school or college classmate you haven’t seen in years; take the initiative to be the first to reach out.

Tips for Any Friendship

1. Reveal yourself. No matter your age, friendships develop when we allow others to know us; share more personal information as you become comfortable with each other.

2. Focus on quality. Having a few close friends beats having hundreds of followers on Facebook; concentrate on meaningful interactions instead of arbitrary definitions of popularity.

3. Exchange support. Giving and taking may be the most important sign of a quality friendship. Move into your golden years with a circle of friends who serve as advisors, sounding boards, and cheerleaders.

4. Accept change. At the same time, distinguish between relationships worth sustaining and those that have run their course.

At midlife, you still have plenty of fascinating years ahead, so find your buddies and have fun. With skillful cultivation, many friendships can last a lifetime. Remember, you’re never too old to find new pals!

Be sure to check out my other blog posts on friendship, How Foxie Roxie and PB Became Friends and 5 Indicators of a True Friendship.

Until next time,
Bea

5 Indicators of a True Friendship

You’ve probably realized that friends come and go. In some cases, your interests change as you get older. In other cases, something happens that forces you to part ways with those you once considered friends. At the end of the day, however, you can identify the friendships that have a real foundation.

Identify these truths in your relationships to determine which ones represent true friendship:

1. Friendship withstands disagreements. Anybody you consider a true friend can attest to the fact that disagreements undoubtedly happen, but that person can also confirm that your bond withstands those disagreements.

• True friends know that regardless of the differences or disagreements, the foundation of the relationship still exists.

• A sign of true friendship is when two people continue to live well with each other after a disagreement.

2. Friends keep it real. The beauty about friendship is that there is rarely any pretense. Friends share their vulnerabilities with each other. They trust that their quirks are accepted by each other.

• Your real friends hardly worry about what you think of their actions or behaviors. They know that if there’s one person in the world who understands them, it’s you!

• It’s also safe to say that your real friends avoid sugar-coating anything they’re saying to you. Expect to get their opinion as real as it comes!

3. Confidentiality is respected. When the matter of confidentiality comes up, you can tell a friend by whether your request for confidentiality is respected. True friends acknowledge the importance of maintaining your trust.

• With real friends in your life, you can feel comfortable sharing your deepest secrets. Your secrets will be just as safe with friends as they are when you keep them to yourself.

• Your private space is important to you, and a genuine friend understands that. They know when to step aside and give you the time you need. And they do this without feeling offended.

4. Support is unconditional. It’s true that friends sometimes have different interests and beliefs, but even when viewpoints are different, true friends still offer support to each other.

• Friends usually offer advice to each other, and even when the advice you get is different from what you want to hear, you know it’s coming from a genuine sentiment.

• If you need someone to lean on when you’re going through a rough spot, your real friends instinctively know. They’ll show up when you least expect it and bring loads of hugs with them!

5. Achievements are celebrated. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a true friend who doesn’t celebrate your achievements. The questionable friends may feel envious of your success, but true friends get just as excited as you do about your victories.

• You’ll likely even find a true friend helping you prepare for an upcoming job interview. Even if it’s a success they want for themselves, they’re happy just knowing you stand a good chance of being the victor.

• Sincere friends take the time to congratulate each other. They give gifts, treat each other to dinner, and make other special gestures. They like to show that they care.

 

I know I have been blessed with a few amazing girlfriends who have been by my side during good times and bad; marriage and divorce; death of parents; and many other life experiences! Together we have laughed, cried, shopped, traveled, and talked until we were just down right exhausted. I don’t know what I would have done without my wonderful friends; you know who you are!

Have you identified anybody who embodies a true friend after looking at these indicators? If you have, latch on to that person as long as you can! A genuine friend can be difficult to find. You’ll find great joy when you nurture your friendships.

Commit to being the kind of friend to others as you want them to be to you. Friendship works both ways!

Until next time,
Bea