Life has a funny way of reminding us that we’re not invincible. That we need others. That there’s strength in numbers.
In fact, it’s during life’s peaks and valleys that we’re often reminded of the depth and strength of our tribe. The trusted few who share in whatever life throws our way, however large or small.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about friendship lately. Friends that have come and gone. How my expectations of friendship have changed over the years. The kind of friend I am to others.
The bottom line? Friendship evolves as we age.
1. We have less time to devote to friendships—and want to make the time we do have count!
As we enter that “middle age” in our lives, we have more demands on our time, and often it’s our friendships that take the back seat to everything else going on in our lives. For example, it’s easier to put off catching up with a friend than it is to skip your child’s soccer game or a business trip.
2. We have higher expectations in terms of friendships—for ourselves and others.
We also have a better sense of who we are than we did in our 20’s and early 30’s, and begin to decide who—and what—is important in our lives and make a greater effort to hold onto those things. We invest more time and energy on those things, and less on casual friendships or acquaintances.
3. We have less tolerance for pretenses and nonsense—period.
We have less tolerance for unreliable or fair weather friends. Particularly for women, we want friends who will be there to provide support during the tough times, not just the good ones. When the friendship feels lopsided or one-directional, or when there isn’t adequate investment, those friendships begin to fade away.
4. We tend to meet new friends through other relationships and commitments.
We’re also more likely to make new friends due to other kinds of relationships—as with co-workers, or parents of our children’s friends—because it’s easier to make friends when we’re already spending a lot of time together.
5. We focus our time on fewer, better friendships.
It’s normal to see changes in our core friend groups and even see them grow smaller and more concentrated as we age. After all, you’re investing in better quality relationships!
The people who you surround yourself with have a profound effect on your life. Invest in friendships that inspire you, who push you outside of your comfort zone, that hold you accountable, and make you feel like you belong. Most of all, who allow you to be YOU.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. What are the biggest changes you’ve seen to your friendships as you’ve grown older?
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