Friendship at 40

Where would any of us be without our friends? Whether you are a person who has one best friend who is like a sister or a brother but even better, or you’re a person who has dozens of friends, or somewhere in between, everyone needs at least one great friend.

Friendships at 40ish are different from friendships at 20-something. For me, one of the key differences is that I have grown to accept the natural ebb/flow of relationships and I don’t fight so hard to keep all of my friends close all of the time. When I was younger, I was a collector of people. I felt responsible for keeping in regular contact with anyone I considered a friend. And then, when friendships faded or changed, I felt like I had failed somehow. But now I realize that there is great truth in the saying that some friends come into our lives for a reason, or for a season, or for a lifetime. And even though it can be sad to realize that a friendship is changing, and that the close bonds you once shared are no longer there, it’s freeing as well to recognize that change is a constant in life. And not all of us are meant to be intimately connected with all of our friends from birth to death.

That said, it can be more of a challenge to maintain those close ties at this stage of life. Many of us are juggling parenting, marriage/partnership, working, caring for aging family members, or even our own health issues, and we lose sight of the importance of staying connected with the very people who can help us to stay sane during these demanding times. Some of us are more gifted at this than others. I have one friend in particular (you know who you are!) who still manages to remember birthdays, and other important dates, and she sends cards and picks up the phone to call on a regular basis, despite the demands of her own life. She’s a treasure and I am grateful that she is patient with me as I am not so good at picking up the phone to return her calls!

So I think the trick at this stage of life is to figure out for ourselves which friends (and family members who are also friends) fill us up, and how to balance our lives in a way that allows us to maintain closeness with those people. What do you do to stay closely connected with the people in your life who fill you up?

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About Tabby

Forty years of fabulous, and counting.

Posted on June 4, 2011, in friends, health. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I’ve gone and liked my own post now. Not on purpose but because there are so many buttons and shiny things around here. And I can’t figure out how to unlike it, so it’s going to have to stay.

  2. Facebook. LOL!

    As a busy introvert I don’t have the time or the energy to have dozens of friends. I usually like to have just a few really close friends. Right now I probably have more “inner circle” friends than ever before. (Thank you Facebook!)

    I have been trying to reach out more and be a better friend as well as widen my social circle. I recently started a local book club and attending a meditation center (although we just sit and meditate silently in each others company, so I am now sure that counts as socializing.)

    A good rule that I have been trying to live by recently is to choose to spend my time with people who add to me. I no longer have time for detractors, frenemies, or relationships motivated only by “ought.” But I am making a point to be open to new people and to look for that “reason,” how I can add to them and they can add to me.

  3. Friendship at 40 is so different. There was so much more drama in my 20’s b/c everything was new. I find that I’m more easy going now, but I’m also more picky as well. If people add to me in some way (I like how you said, “people in your life who fill you up”), then I’ll work on the friendship and I’m more easy going with regards to differences. My hope is that the reverse is also true and that I add to my friends, but they are willing to give me the benefit of the doubt for my foibles.

  4. Maybe they will even love you for your foibles and give you a fancy nickname. 🙂

  5. I’m not quite 40, but quickly approaching. I have a couple of years to work things out, but so far am not a great friend to have. For the first time in my life, however, I have a lot of friends that I treasure deeply, who add to my life, and who make me want to be a better friend. Usually I shut down and enter hermit mode, use my extreme introvertedness as a shield… I think, as I approach 40, things are finally clicking for me. More will be revealed.

  6. Kim, you are my soul sister. When are kids are grown and gone, maybe we can be next door hermits?

  1. Pingback: Where Has the Passion Gone? « 40questions

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