25 In Personal

Making Friendships at Midlife

Is making friendships at Midlife much different than other times of our life? I was thinking about this after coming home from the Influencers at Midlife Conference. Many of the topics we discussed were of importance to us in this stage in life, and I think this question is something I would love to hear your answers to myself!

Friends Growing Up

I had a best friend in elementary school and up through high school. My girlfriend and I were practically inseparable, like sisters. We loved to sing, dance, makeup choreographed songs to Barry Manilow ( our 4th grad hero!) and just loved being in each other’s company. I think of those days and how important it was for me to enjoy her presence and all of the fun and good times we had.  We would dance on “the boat” and make up fake names if guys we were interested in, came up to approach us.

She had a bunk bed and we would stay up for hours talking. Mr Bill  was on the tv. We both had roles in the HMS Pinafore. I could tell my friend anything and we would go out and do things all throughout my school years. On the fashion front, I remember dressing in some crazy combinations of clothes, both her and I making home made signs that read “Beep if you like us!”… now, that wouldn’t happen today.!

.I do miss that type of friendship, but know, as we age, that friendships do change. They can grow, or circumstances in life can alter the course of things in life. She had married and moved away, so we lost touch. but It did make me think those were special times.

Now, this quote is so true. If you can’t be yourself with a friend, who are you? This is the epitome of friendship being connected to someone as they are. Now, Jim, probably had some peyote when he said that but he was right! 🙂 My hubby is my best friend. My little shih tzu pups are my buddies, but they listen to mommy no matter what!

As I get older, I often wonder how people that are either no longer employed, due to health, or are retired, no longer in the workplace, make friendships? In college, I was at the Music School. Lots of people to hang out with, friendships formed over blues and jazz music.

After college, I joined ECP where I met my husband and made friends through the Explorers Club of Pittsburgh, through outdoor activity.

Working at home can have its challenges, where I need to make time for the people I have met, the friends I have developed over the years.

Making friends

I can honestly say I have made some wonderful friends through blogging, even if I haven’t met some in person, I have gotten to know them through the blog and beyond through correspondence. I look forward to spending time with some ladies outside the “blogosphere”.

When I became sick with EDS and severe pain 10 years ago, there weren’t many people on my radar. Sickness can do that with people. I needed to take time to myself to be functional and in less, pain, so that was my priority.

Often, I do think we seek out people who with have things in common, but also find people that can let us be ourselves and grow as a person. Do you find joining clubs or groups as a way of making friends at this age? Do you have a few close friends you enjoy spending time with that value you and your company?

From a health standpoint, social interactions are crucial as we get older. The NIH Center on Aging discusses the benefits of friendships and social interaction in lessening blood pressure, depression, loneliness and in lessening the chances for diseases like Alzheimer’s and some cancers. People with better friendships and social relationships have shown that they continue to learn and may have a longer life.

I would love to hear your thoughts on making friends at Midlife

Dying for a fashion post, have a look at one of my posts from last year at this time, along with a post from a few years back with a Valentine’s Day look. 

Have a wonderful weekend!
jess xx

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25 Comments

  • Reply
    Bojana Krienke
    February 4, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    It is so vastly different. I am in a progression that allows me to meet so many people and as a rwsulri make new friends. It’s interesting how we make friends as we age. As a young mom I sought-after other new moms and couple friends. As a teacher I looked for colleagues to learn alongside. As someone who is trying to diacodisher own voice and creativity, now I seek people who can mentor me and encourage. So different chapters also seek different perspectives, but all my friends are special and critical to my growth and happiness. Great prompt to think about.

    bosbodaciousblog.blogspot.ca

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      February 7, 2019 at 10:46 am

      What a great way to think of things. It really changes as we experience life differently as we grow. xx

  • Reply
    Cheryl Tucker
    February 1, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    Awe its such a sad thought to think we have more trouble finding friends as we age. I think of all my neighbors and even acquaintances as my friends. I don’t think you have to have long term deep relationships but be able to help others when you can, laugh with others at every turn ( I even find myself laughing with check out ladies at the stores) and reach out when you see need. Story: One day I saw a young mother standing in a long line to check out her purchases and she was holding her items and her bably. I saw she was having trouble so I offered to hold her stuff so she could hold her baby. Before I knew it others jumped in. The lady next in line let her move to the front and she got done and out right away. It was no big deal but it got others to see and reach out and we all wanted to help. We were being friends to a stranger. To me these are the things that define friendship. Wonderful post!
    Peace!
    Cheryl

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      February 2, 2019 at 10:31 am

      HI Cheryl
      Thanks so much too for this point of view. That was a wonderful story, I really like hearing about people helping others even if they don’t know there. My neighbor and I are good friends and we hang out when we can, I do like how you wrote that every relationship doesn’t need to be long term. xx

  • Reply
    Mary The Pouting Pensioner
    February 1, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Sensitively written, Jess. Yes, I’ve been picking up on research about companionship in the later years and the health benefits. I quickly became aware in retirement that a lot of the daily chatting stops, and I did become a little fearful of social interaction for a while. I think it’s important to talk at every opportunity we have as we age, even just chat when out shopping I engage with everyone I can, without becoming too weird! Blogging is another source of communication and friendship
    building, which helps me now that I’m out of the work place. Thanks for writing this piece.
    Hugs, Mary x.
    thepoutingpensioner.blogspot.com

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      February 2, 2019 at 10:26 am

      Mary, thank you! You sound like me when I am out and about. My hubby says I could talk to anyone, and I do find it easy talking to most people. I do think the same wit h blogging as a social interaction that is helpful in addition to making lovely friends. So glad you enjoyed it! xx

  • Reply
    Kimberly Malkiewicz
    February 1, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    Hey, Jess! I wanted to remember to say congratulations on being featured at You Look Fab this week! I pretty much meet friends at church or Bible study, it’s kind of like dating, you have to get together to see if you “click”. I do get together with my hygienist, too LOL, we just got along really well over the years.

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      February 2, 2019 at 10:23 am

      Thanks so much Kim! It was a wonderful artcile they did. So true! My hair stylist and I have become closer friends just getting to know esch other throughout the years. 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    Natty Gal
    February 1, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    Very interesting read. Much like you, my husband and I both work from home. We also don’t have kids so never really did the whole “parents of your kid’s friends” things. I agree that both blogging and special interest groups can be a great way to find those with common interest. Sights like Meetup.com can be intimidating, because they involve real-life interaction, but also are a good way of finding others with like minded interest. Great post as I think it’s something a lot of middle and older aged people struggle with.

  • Reply
    Amy Christensen
    February 1, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Jess, I think it is more difficult to make friends as we age, often, those of us with families are busy with our kids, grandkids, and so on. For many years, my hubby and I were actively involved in our church and had many friends there. Unfortunately, after a difficulty occurred involving one of our daughters we left that church and since then haven’t gotten back to a church home. I have tried to keep connected with some of the ladies from there, but life is busy and the timing doesn’t always work out. My hubby and I like to do things together, so that helps and we have a group of friends we hang out with that one of the local bookstores, so we usually see them once a week. This is an interesting topic and you did a great job covering it. Thanks for sharing. – Amy
    http://stylingrannymama.com/

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      February 2, 2019 at 10:20 am

      Thank you for popping by! You sound similar to us Amy! Yes, circumstances do change things and like you said, timing in life doesn’t always work out. xx

  • Reply
    Shelly Jo Janac
    February 1, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    I wholeheartedly believe friendship is so important to our emotional and even physical health. One of the hardest hurdles I had to overcome at some point was to not take it personal if I was the one always doing the planning and reaching out…it is my nature and it isn’t for some. My Mamaw is still going strong at 92 and I know being in assisted living and having plenty of social interaction has been key.

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      February 2, 2019 at 10:17 am

      Hi Shelly!
      I know what you mean. I am the same, one who reaches out. That is a good way to thinhk about it. That is wonderful about your Mamaw. My mom is by herself now and she is often out with friends keeping busy and socializing. xx

  • Reply
    thisblondesshoppingbag
    February 1, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Friendships and social interactions are so important! I think I took so much of that for granted when I word outside of the home. It’s funny how I have fallen off the radar of so many people since i don’t see them daily. But I have had the pleasure of bonding with so many women through blogging and those connections are precious to me! One day you and I will meet IRL and share a bottle of wine!
    xo,
    Kellyann

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      February 1, 2019 at 12:28 pm

      Yes, they are friend! I know what you mean, when I taught, the tough part was that many of the ladies I worked with we would get together at times. I had several circumstances where the ladies started a family, and since we don’t have kids, there was a difference of lifstyle that changed the friendship. I enjoy talking to ladies here, it is a highlight for me and YES! we will meet and share that wine.! xx Happy weekend !

  • Reply
    Jodie
    February 1, 2019 at 9:05 am

    They say that our social life is one way to stay healthy. And I do believe it.
    I’ve been lucky to continue to make friends in adulthood. It helped when I was working to have many wonderful patients become friends. And now that I joined a book club, I’ve made some new ones that way.
    Yet blogging has really produced some wonderful connections…who knew??
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      February 1, 2019 at 12:26 pm

      Hi Jodie, thanks for commenting. The book club, and I know your kniting club is a great way to meet people and become friends with people youhave something in common with. Yes, blogging has been a wonderful way to get to know people. I hope we meet in real life sometime too! xx

  • Reply
    Lisa D
    February 1, 2019 at 7:54 am

    Wow, this makes so much since. I was just thinking these things the other day when My daughters boyfriend mentioned haveing a big cookout this summer and told us to bring some of our friends. Me and my husband just looked at each other and laughed. We do not have any friends. Well, I mean we do have people we call friends but like you said, people move and lives change. Me and him are best friends. We stopped hanging out with other “couple” friends years ago when we realized we could not afford to go the places they wanted to go and simply could not keep up with them, so we all drifted apart as they found new hang out friends. Sometime we will get asked out to dinner or drinks but my husand never wants to go. This actually depresses me at times. I wish we both had other best friends to hang around and talk too. Ill be 50 in May and he just turnd 59. The age gap could be the culprit.
    Lisa

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      February 1, 2019 at 12:25 pm

      Hi Lisa
      Thanks so much for your comment. I know what you mean about our friends as a couple. We do many things together, but there are times I want to chat to a girlfriend. ( especially when husband’s eyes glaze over when I talk abut fashion) ! hehe. We do go to a local place- The Cottage which is almost like a family or friends house, and all sit and chat. It is a social environment I look forward to. xx

  • Reply
    Kathy Lyff
    February 1, 2019 at 6:24 am

    Hi. I’m in my late 60s now and actually have made more friends since retiring than when I was working. This has happened because I’ve been able to do so much more with my time. So I joined a friendship group for ladies over 50. Volunteered to do community gardening with a wonderfully friendly group, and most recently started volunteering at our local library. If anyone is worried about retiring and being lonely I thoroughly recommend the Red Hat Society, which was started in the US but is now worldwide (certainly in anglophone countries). Also volunteer in your community – it helps you and other people. Best wishes, Kathy

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      February 1, 2019 at 12:23 pm

      Hello Kathy, that you so much for leaving a comment. You sound very similar to my mom, as she is retired and loves books, the library and gardening. These are great ways to make freidnships and meet others too. I am considering volunteer work at the shelter, as I love dogs and care about animals. Thank you for the info on the Red Hat Society as well! Great ideas and suggestions. Because of my condition, it is tricky as I don’t always feel well, but I can get out and choose how to meet others. Have a wonderful weekend xx

  • Reply
    mysideof50
    February 1, 2019 at 5:46 am

    Jess – 2019 is my year to get out from behind the computer and phone to make new friends and reconnect with old ones IN PERSON. I love blogging and the new friends I have made, but after 3 years I found I needed to make more of an effort to get back out in the world more. Keeping up with old friends and making new ones.

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      February 1, 2019 at 12:18 pm

      Hi Cathy! that is a good attitude. I tend to do alot with my hubby, but enjoy going out with some of the friends I make. I do think it is important to get out, join in things or perhaps volunteer. I love going out and talking to people, it refreshes me! xx

  • Reply
    karendianearabella
    February 1, 2019 at 1:25 am

    I am in my 60’s, most of the people I count as good friends I met in my 50’s. My unique situation is these are friends acquired as a couple, now that I am a widow I long to make a single friend but that has not happened in the 5 years since I have been widowed. I keep being friendly though as I have high hopes, of meeting a kindred spirit.

    • Reply
      Jess Jannenga
      February 1, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      Hello Karen. thank you for sharing. I understand. My mom is by herself and we are greatful that she has her friends to socialize with and count on. All you can do is continue to be yourself, and the friendship will come along. Have a great weekend. xx

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