I still count many friends from high-school and college in my circle. Then there are friends from my 20s and 30 and now…new friendships formed in my 40s. There are three things I have learned about being a good friend: listen, listen, listen.
Then…accept that a friend can be amazing for some things you need, but you can’t expect them to fulfill all your needs! As you get older you realize there are ebbs and flows. When you need them most doesn’t always match up when they have the most time to give. But there will always be space … you just have to let them know you really need it.
For more 40-something perspective on friendship and ”what I know now” read on:
Be forgiving of your friends because people change from 20 to 40 to 60 and if you want to keep those friends you need to keep an open mind and let them grow and change. Forgive them for what you think are mistakes but …they might not think are mistakes. Just be there for them and don’t try to keep them in this little pocket – the way you thought of them when you were 20 and they were 20. We all change and grow… sometimes you don’t realize how different you are, but you see it in other people.” – 40-something, Stamford, Connecticut
Do anything you can to make your friends’ lives better because you never know when you’re going to need them. If you want to be the kind of person for whom a friend would drop things to help you when you are in need…then be the kind of person who is willing drop things and make time for friends. You might think that it’s best to spend your time working and pursuing your career. Yes, it’s important to do that but you have to make time for your friends as well.”– 40-something, Los Angeles, CA
Give without the expectation of receiving. Be there for your friends unconditionally even though they drive you nuts because they’re going through a boy thing or a job thing or a family thing or a health issue.” – 40-something, Cleveland, OH
In Buddhism they encourage you to “Walk in someone else’s shoes”…at least for a moment. Maybe that friend who you think is slighting you has something really shitty going on that you don’t know about. Maybe they feel a little isolated. It all may look different from her point of view. I’m not saying not to stick up for yourself. Just realize that everyone wakes up in a different house, with different circumstances. They are no better or no worse than you are.” – 40-something, Los Angeles, California
What have you learned about friendship at any age? Share your story here