Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Friendships and Ageism

Duncan and I have quite a few friends turning 40 in the coming months.  The older I get the more I appreciate having friends of all different ages.

I'm in my thirties and I have friends in their twenties and friends in their forties.  I have a few close female friends who are in their late thirties, about eight or nine years older than myself.  The older we all get, the less age matters.  Well, it does to me.

Why do I get on so well with women older than me?  It's because when we're together, age doesn't factor into the friendship.  We're friends because we get on well, we share worldviews and interests.  We're all adults, we've all reached maturity of sorts.  Some of us are married with kids, some aren't.  It would be naive to say different life stages don't impact on friendships, but age certainly doesn't.

I can't be friends with someone who treats me like a kid.  I don't want to treat my friends who are in their twenties like they are immature kids, because they aren't.  Sometimes older women treat me like I know nothing, like they're my mum or auntie and can boss me around.  I can't be friends with those people.  I need respect to be friends with someone.

It's great having friends the same age, who you went to school with, who you grew up with.  Those are special friendships with special memories.  But, even when they're older, many women tend to gravitate towards other women of the same age.  Maybe instead of being instantly drawn to the fellow 41-year-old first-time mum, try striking up a conversation with the 21-year-old first-time mum.  You might find that the 20 year age gap means nothing now you are both in the same boat as first-time mums.  Try befriending women 7-10 years younger (or older) than yourself.  You're not 15 and they're not seven anymore.  You're both adults.

It might just be the start of a treasured friendship.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

I have friends of all ages and I love it. It's great having people further along the journey (especially of mothering). I hope that younger mothers appreciate me too. Just this week I've been able to help someone a bit younger with little kids who didn't want to bother her same-age friends (she has depression and anxiety). She didn't feel like she was imposing on me but didn't want to ask people who had similar aged kids for help.