Listen. Listen. Listen.
I’m a collector of friends. I still count many friends from grade school, high school and college as part of my everyday life. Then add friends from my 20s and 30s and now…new friends still in my 40s. Making new friends can take time, but like most good things in life, it’s worth it. One laugh, or a good cry, with a bestie can help ease the stress of work, life and love. Time suspends and you can find yourself and your strength through the eyes of someone who sees you as you are….perhaps better than you do. Someone once told me that your oldest friend is a mirror to your true self.
In honor of friends, a collection of 40-somethings’ “what I know now” insights on friendship:
“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 and let them in. No one can read minds.” – 40-something, NYC
“Be forgiving of your friends because people change from 20 to 40 to 60. If you want to keep your friends you need to let them grow and change. Forgive them for the mistakes you think they make…that they don’t see as mistakes…yet. An “I told you so” goes a long way…in creating resentment.” – 40-something, Cleveland, OH
“Just be there 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.” – 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 drops what they are doing to help 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 and different problems. They are no better or no worse off than you are.” – 40-something, California