Friends

friends-logo-wikiWhen I was young (just a few years back) I hung around with a group of friends. It was a lot like the “Friends” TV show except we didn’t live in an apartment in NYC and we were all women. Maybe it was more like “Sex in the City” without all the sex. (Yes there were shoe fetishes.)

It was a fun time and they are some of my “good old days.” We traveled and partied. (Yes I was a party animal!)

Things change. Marriage. Relocations. Divorce. Stuff.

As I age finding good friends is harder.

When you are younger you are more tolerant of people’s wonkiness (technical term). As you age, you don’t have time for it. Don’t want to listen to someone else’s stupid (anything other than my view) politics or dietary restrictions. Operations are of interest if there are shared symptoms.

After you retire you don’t have the pool of people you meet through work or your trade. It gets more difficult to find shared interests.

Some people are your dining friends. What you have in common is that you like to eat similar things. We have steak friends, pizza friends and a very small group of adventurous friends (the beloved husband and I are barely in that group ourselves).

Some friends are there when you initiate but never reciprocate.

I have my exercise buddies but it’s limited to the time at the gym. We don’t have other stuff in common (not joining any knitting group – no offense to anyone who is in one but I have two left needles).

Finding traveling friends is difficult. People have health stuff. Some of it is minor some isn’t. You have to match up interests and health issues (or maybe there’s an app for that!).

Old friends die and spouses move or move on without you. Older friends become family centered – more so than they were 20 years ago when the kids were in college and there were no grandkids. More time for them, less time for you.

When my mother was older, she lamented that most of her friends were gone. She had one good friend who was slightly ditzy. They shared some interesting experiences until my mother needed to be on an oxygen machine. In those days oxygen machines were not portable but the size of an ottoman. That ended the bus and airplane trips. It did not stop short day trips. (She could be without it for a while.)

When I asked her when her “good old days” were, she always said when my Dad was alive and the kids were young. I know she had many good times after my Dad’s death but perhaps they didn’t measure up.

I always hope that the good old days are now because tomorrow may bring more health issues or deaths or whatever.

How do you find besties now (post children and post work)?

 

61 thoughts on “Friends

  1. I am 29, so most of my friends are through work. My best friends are really my sister, husband, mum and dad though. I am told I am a very family oriented 20 something and have been for a while.
    When I first moved to Toronto, I made all of my friends here through twitter!

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  2. Sadly for us, I think they have become more of acquaintances. Even with age, we find that were still quite busy. The good friends we do have all seem to be moving to other locations. I wonder if that’s because… nah can’t be… I’m lovable! 😀

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  3. I just finished sending off my Christmas cards to seventy or eighty long-distance friends. Old friends from high school or college, friends from the first days of our marriage, friends from the eighteen years when we lived in the Philippines and the three years when we lived in Vanuatu. Some relatives.

    My husband was better at making friends than I am. We used to have parties and go to parties. Now throwing a party seems like too much trouble, although going to a party would be fun.

    I still have some old high school friends that I have lunch with a few times a year. I have some friends in my neighborhood. (Friends within walking distance are so much easier.) The ladies in my critique group are dear friends. But I’m too much of an introvert to have lots of friends or spend a lot of time socializing. And yes, it is harder as we get older and start over–especially, for me, since my gregarious husband died.

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  4. I think you meet different kinds of friends at different stages of life. When the kids were young, I met friends and neighbors because our kids went to school or played together. When we were active politically, I met people in the community who also had political interests. As a community newcomer, I met others in a welcome club. I have a lot of friends now who are writers and journalists, have similar interests. I also have joined a church and we do things with church friends. I have many online “friends” but I only count people I know personally as friends. I’ve met some of them at conferences, etc., but most I’ve not. I think as you age you do not meet as many people “naturally” and have to reach out, join, or create opportunities to meet people. I’ve been thinking I might join the local senior center and see if I can meet some folks there. They seem to have activities I would like, like trips and art classes.

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  5. I’ve found friends at the craft guild where I volunteer and the author’s group and at the Church we joined a few years ago. I have some old friends but some of them have disappointed me in the past few years. I was thinking about that last night and I wonder if I expect to much of people in the way of loyalty. Maybe I need to lower the bar? Oh, and I forgot – I’ve met some really nice people, like you, blogging. Have a lovely weekend. Clare

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    • I’ve met more people blogging in the past five years than around town. I made a good friend at the gym but we rarely get together outside of the gym. I tried volunteering at our local animal shelter (with great trepidation! Fear of bringing home every adorable stray lurks in my head) but at the time, they didn’t need any. I am still connected to some work friends and truly enjoy them. I lost some old friends either through death or moving out of state. I also had one friend come between me and another friend (triangular friendships are hard) so I understand your comments on loyalty. I’m happy but worry if I move, it may be me, my husband and the cats! Ummm….I’m an introvert too. That doesn’t help.

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  6. I have a best friend from grade school and we email. But I haven’t seen her in ages. Like Nancy I would have to say that CH is my best friend now and always has been. I have never had gal pals that I had a lets hang together all the time and shop and go to lunch relationship. Not since high school anyway. I guess I have preferred CH as a friend. I find that maintaining a friendship with a gal takes a whole lot of patience and a whole lot of keeping my mouth shut and a bit of diplomacy. Gal pal friendships are a lot of work! This is an interesting post Kate. I could say so much more and I bet I could learn so much more.

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    • I hear you. I had a really good friend from my working days. We had a falling out which I later found out was instigated by another “friend.” We were in our 50s. I thought that sort of thing was left behind in high school. I haven’t seen her since although to be fair we were already living in different states.

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  7. Well, I will say that I’m guilty. I keep in touch with some friends via email, but even those nearby I rarely see. I used to entertain a lot — loved to cook. But now I don’t know ahead of time if I’ll be able to do it, and so I don’t make much of an effort to contact people. It should be enough to just call and say hello — no need to bribe with a barbecue! But still,

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    • I know. We used to do more entertaining too. Then I noticed that it wasn’t reciprocated in any way. Now those folks are my “dining” friends mostly (if I initiate the contact). I still get together with some. Facebook has helped me keep in touch (sort of).

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  8. I feel so fortunate to have so many long-term friends in my life. Maybe it’s because I live in a place (SoCal) that people don’t often move away from after they retire – sometimes they might to find a cheaper place to live, but not one with better weather. I’m involved with various activities and interact with new people all the time but it’s very difficult for me to move those interactions beyond simple pleasantries. If I had to start over, I think I would struggle. I am thankful for the friends that I have, the connected neighborhood I live in, and that I enjoy hanging out with my husband. I love our blogging community too!

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  9. Interesting post, Kate. It’s very true that the older I get become more tolerant or understanding of people but friendships are a different story. Maybe it’s the idea of close quarters for more than an hour that makes it difficult..:)
    The good old days….that’s a very different conversation..:)

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  10. I have worked from home now for nearly 9 years (which for me is longer than I worked in an office environment now). So my colleagues are my cats. Eek! That is definitely one aspect of going to an office that I miss — an easy way to make friends. Thank goodness I am an independent person or I probably would’ve found a different job years ago!

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  11. I’ve been blessed to have good friends everywhere I’ve lived, and I’ve retrieved some through the internet. Several high school and college friends reconnected on line. Most are not writers. I lost my two best friends in England because they quit writing. My close friends in New York were people who went to the same church. Now in NC we have wonderful neighbors. The one who moved away was a bestie. The blogging community is rich in opportunities for friendship. I’m really ejoying getting to know some marvelous people. I suspect I have more in common with bloggers than local people.

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  12. BFF is my only “bestie” at the moment.

    We had great friends wherever we lived, but they are too far away from us for casual impromptu get-togethers. Same problem with our siblings, nieces, and nephews ~ fun when we get-together, but gatherings are infrequent. We do have a wedding coming up in a few weeks which give us a chance to see 9 of our 10 nieces and nephews AND all of my siblings. Yay!

    Our street here is very social (with pot luck dinners or cocktail parties twice a month), and the larger community holds Happy Hours and Pizza & Game nights twice a month. We’ve made “friends,” but conversations (for the most part) are rather superficial. I’ve also made some new Bridge buddies . . . but most are much older than me (because most people my age are still working, not playing Bridge mid-day). Same for the folks at Water Aerobics. We have lots of laughs while fooling around in the pool . . . but no real “connection.”

    It was so much easier in high school & college when we’d have impromptu parties at the house every Friday night with the same cast of characters. I’m still in touch with a few, but they live 1000 miles away and don’t want to fly down to Florida for pizza and beer and classic tunes every week.

    My blogging buddies are great, and I’ve had a chance to meet up with several which is fun, but none live around the corner. I keep hoping a few more will decide to “retire” to Florida!

    Most of the time, BFF and I are OK with the status quo as it stands since we enjoy hanging out together at home and at local events. But it would be nice to have a few other “besties” close by.

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    • Sounds a lot like my story only I do have family close by. The attraction for a retirement community for me is the ability to meet others. It was much easier when I worked. Fortunately my husband and I really like each other. 🙂

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  13. Janis at Retirementally Challenged wrote a post recently somewhat similar to this, and it’s still ringing in my ears (as good writing should do). Perhaps because I’ve moved so much in my life, I’m finding that so many of my friendships have been temporary. Intense and close for a long period, but then they fritter away — as you suggest because of life changes on both ends (death of a partner, etc.). You definitely have to work at relationships in order to keep them. Great post, Kate.

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    • Thanks and Janis was my inspiration. Her post haunted me too. Then some things happened and I had to write. I think with the way we live today, many relationships are temporary. It’s not a conscious thing either. I’ve become distant from friends who move 5 miles away but something else is affecting it too and I may not always understand what it is. I have a great friend from the last state I lived in. We made the effort for 20 years. They travel a lot to see kids and grandkids and they are getting older. We connect by emails but haven’t gotten together in years. I miss sitting in her kitchen drinking tea and solving the problems of the world.

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  14. I am neither post-children nor post- work, so probably not qualified to comment here. But I have often thought that maintaining friendships is harder in the American culture than in others. Maybe because you all work too darn hard or because you move around a lot more. Personally, I think low maintenance friends are the very best – the ones you can call after two months of neglect and they are simply happy to hear from you with no recriminations. No comments like “Oh! You are still alive?! I was wondering!” Just like in relationships with men, it is more important to have common ethics/values and the same idea of what you want from the relationship (“Where do I see us 10 years from now?”) than to have common interests.

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    • Low maintenance is definitely the best. What you say is true but the common interests are the starting point to meet people. From there it grows or doesn’t. I have a few acquaintances who are very similar in the ethics/values department but we don’t have much to talk about because their interests are so different. At my age I rarely worry about relationships down the road.

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  15. Hi, Kate – We moved to a brand new area for our retirement, so we were able to join the local Newcomers’ Club. As all other Newcomer members were also new, this club has been a great way to meet people who are also looking to make friendships. I have also found that joining (yoga, book club, walking group) combined with a bit of risk-taking (I even tried curling) have been very helpful. In addition, I LOVE my on-line friends that I have been making through blogging. That was an incredible benefit of on-line writing that I hadn’t anticipated.
    Donna
    http://www.retirementreflections.com

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    • I love Newcomers’ Club. I joined one when I moved to NJ many years ago and made some long term friends there (still in touch after 20 years away). Sadly that’s not available locally (and I’m no longer a newcomer). It’s an excellent idea if it’s available. On-line friends are a surprise benefit. I’ve had the opportunity to meet one and that didn’t disappoint. You get to know people pretty well through blogs.

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  16. Most of my “friends” are my husband’s friends. I do have one or two special friends from high school and my young adulthood, but they do not live close so seeing them is rare. I, like Ally, make friends online. I have made some friends through my scrapbooking, but not enough to do anything other than go to scrapbooking events. Being an introvert, (something I didn’t realize I was actually) it makes sense that online friends would be easier for me to make.

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  17. I have no school friends at all, just a friend from work 1979-81, an ex boss 1982-89, and a work colleague 1989-2001. MOH is friend who is more like family (1988 to current) though it was his wife and I who got friendly initially through having foreign students. Sadly she died in 2000 from breast cancer, but MOH has kept in touch.
    No friends at all from Lincolnshire now having lost our remaining one earlier in the year, but friends here in the boating and resident community on the marina are numerous. Socialising (ie meals out etc) don’t apply as we can’t entertain here on the boat (other than endless cups of tea on offer) and eating out is too expensive. We get on with everyone, so I guess we have the best of a lot of worlds. And I haven’t even touched on Blogging!

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  18. I always admired my grandmother, who lived to be 90. As old friends dropped away due to health or death she was always able to replace them with new, younger friends. It was because she attended a large church. I know that isn’t for everyone, but it worked for her.

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  19. I find friends online now. People irl are conservative here in this community, preferring to keep non-family members at an arm’s length. I knew that when we moved here, so I’m not complaining. I realize that I’m always an acquaintance, never a bestie. It’s kind of freeing, truth be told.

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    • That’s not unusual. When I moved into my community, there were many people my age. Most have downsized or moved south. Now I live in a community of young people with young children. I rarely see neighbors anymore and I miss it. I find that I know my blogging buddies much better than my next door neighbors.

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  20. Community theater. It’s a family and we come together to create something wonderful and along the way maybe piss each other off a bit and then we hug and it’s OK and then the show is done and we separate for a while. A month or so later…..it’s time again for auditions and the cycle repeats. It’s a family and we love adding new members and exploring and expanding everyone’s talents.

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  21. When I was younger, my mother used to tell me that a person was lucky if they had one true friend in their life. I have friendships that go back to elementary, high school and college, those are the most meaningful. As I’ve gotten older, people come and go in my life. I believe people come into our life for a reason and if it was meant to be a permanent relationship, it will sustain. As you know, some women aren’t always the easiest to get along with. 🙂

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    • You are lucky. I don’t have any close friends from elementary and my bestie from high school died a few years back. Most of my best friends were from my first job but some died, some moved cross country and some have severe limiting health issues. I have seen any in a decade. You are right about people coming and going. Sometimes I work to hang onto someone I enjoy but it doesn’t always last anyway.

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