Episode 66 | (00:00):
Hey there, friend. Today we're talking about getting clarity and new perspective on your midlife friendships, whether you're going out there and making new friends, or whether you're rekindling a previous platonic relationship.
Maybe you lost track of each other. Maybe it was a life event. Maybe someone moved away. Maybe it was the pandemic, right? Let's blame the pandemic on everything. That's just my thought in general. What do you say? ;)
So let's move forward. I can't wait to tell you what these are because I really do think they're going to help you as you're getting out there and rekindling or making new friends. You ready? All right, me too. Let's do this!
Hey there, Easy Ager. Ooh, today we're talking about friendships. I can't wait to dive into this. But before I do that, I wanted to read you a five-star rating and review received from KADavidsson. This person says:
"I love Michelle's upbeat personality and her great ideas for discovering what your next chapter will look like. I am retiring from teaching at the end of this school year and am searching for what's next. Thank you, Michelle, for your insight and encouragement."
Well, thank you, KADavisson. I'm so happy you're enjoying the show, and I'm even happier that you, my friend, are going to be retiring soon. How fun is that?
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Today we're talking about midlife platonic relationships, also known as friendships. I cannot tell you how many conversations I have had in the past couple of months, so many women who were talking about how much harder it is to make friends in midlife than it was when we were younger.
And to a certain extent, I agree with that. I don't know if it feels more difficult now because we're more mature. We know who we are, we know what we want, we know what we don't want.
Or maybe we've just hit an age where we don't put up with as much as we did when we were younger. Maybe that's part of it. The reality is that it doesn't feel as easy as it used to be, but it's definitely doable.
It may just require a little thought and reflection on where you're coming from and where you want to be at this moment.
I would love to tell you that there's a quick, easy way to magically create lifelong friendships. But alas, there is not. It's the same old-fashioned way you've always done it.
It's about meeting people, seeing what you have in common, seeing if you enjoy their company and if you want to hang out with them. That's what it is. That's how friendships are formed.
While I can't give you the quick, easy way to make friends I can, however, give you three things to think about as you're getting out there and meeting those new people.
These three ideas will give you new perspective and help you figure out how to make those lasting friendships that matter, friendships that are meaningful. You can create friendships that can last for the rest of your life.
First, recognize that there are different types of friendships. Some are friendships of proximity. Maybe you hang out with a colleague at work and you say, "Hey, you want to grab some lunch?
Then you move it to happy hour and then maybe you have an extra ticket for the symphony and you invite that person. These are proximity, environment-based friendships.
Some friendships are friendships of activity. You have the same interests. Maybe you met at a book club or an art gallery or a bowling league,.
And some are friendships with simply a strong affinity. These are the people you meet and immediately feel you have a connection with. You feel like you're similar. You feel like you understand them, and that draws you closer together.
For example, I met my best friend Hilary during an activity, and we had a strong affinity toward each other.
We met in a writing class. We had both just moved to San Antonio, and we had a lot in common. We had marketing and communications backgrounds. We were both writers, and we both loved the arts.
So we started off in the standard way, "Let's have coffee" or "Let's break bread together." We would do lunch or dinner together occasionally, and that moved into gallery openings and going to the theater together.
This friendship evolved over the years, and then I moved away. Yet we kept in touch by phone quite regularly and then, the pandemic. But it felt like during the pandemic, we talked even more by phone and by Zoom calls.
Now we occasionally see each other in-person, but we do spontaneously call each other on a regular basis. It feels like it's been five minutes, then I look up and it's been an hour and 15 minutes or an hour and a half.
Clearly we cannot get off the phone in under an hour and I think that's because when we talk, it feels like time disappears. Our conversations are so rich and honest and real, and we are both fully present in that moment.
It's just refreshing and energizing, and that's what I want in my life. That's what I want more of in my life. What about you?
These are just a few examples of the types of friendships that exist, and we all have them in one capacity or another. But it's important to understand that maybe that's why you're not BFFs with every friend you have.
And you know what? That's okay. You don't have to be if you have a proximity or an activity friendship with someone.
So the first thing is, consider the type of friendship that you have. The second thing is to recognize that people come to friendships with different levels of commitment and different ideas of what commitment looks like.
You start a new midlife platonic relationship and you're all in. You're really excited about this person and are completely committed. You come in at a level 10, but your new friend is only at a level two.
That's when it's important to understand that you are probably going to be frustrated in this platonic relationship because you'll be doing all the calling, you'll be doing all the planning, you're going to be initiating everything.
One-sided friendships are exhausting, especially if you're the one who's more committed. And for some reason, we all get our feelings hurt when the person doesn't respond in the way we want them to.
The key here is to pay attention to what is actually happening in these relationships. If you find yourself getting a little bit frustrated, that probably means it's time to take an honest look at what's going on.
More than likely your commitment level and your expectations are higher than your friend's. I have had this happen to me a number of times throughout my life, this one-sided, platonic relationship.
When I realize it, sometimes I just let the person go. But then again, sometimes I hang onto them because I've realized that this requires me to change, not them. I'm the one who is going to have to make a decision, and I'm the one who is going to have to make a change.
For example, I have a friend whom I love dearly. This woman is wonderful, but we don't talk too frequently because I realized that I was doing all the initiating.
If I didn't call or text, we didn't speak. It wasn't a bad thing or a good thing. It was just the way things were. I was the one who was always reaching out to connect to her.
So I got a little frustrated with this and when I finally took a step back and realized what was happening, I discovered that I wanted this more than she did. I was coming in at a higher level of commitment than she was.
It didn't mean I loved her any less or that she loved me any less. Things were just different. We were coming in at different levels, and I had to make a change.
So I lowered my expectations and my commitment level for this friendship, and now I feel so much better about it. We don't talk as often as we used to but when we do connect, there's something there.
We have a history together. We have some lovely, wonderful talks. Isn't that what we all want? So what if it's less frequent than it used to be? We've been friends since the 1990s, so there's no way I'm going to toss that one out. I'm not going to be throwing this friendship away.
The big thing here is to accept that it looks a little different than it was, but don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
If you still want this person in your life, you are going to have to be the one making the adjustments. You're going to have to be the one figuring out what is acceptable for you and what that looks like for you.
Third, some friendships are only meant to be here for a season or two, so you don't have to hang onto them forever. I met some lovely women when I moved in 2017. We would hang out, we would do things together. We would eat lunch, we'd go for walks.
I truly enjoyed our time together but after a season, it seems like we drifted apart and went our separate ways. And you know what? That's okay.
Give thanks for that friend and that season, and don't fret or worry about it. If you want to talk to her, give her a call to reconnect.
Maybe you're both in a different place to where you can commit more to a friendship now. Who knows? If you liked her, why not give it a shot? I mean, what have you got to lose?
So to recap, there are three things to consider and to hopefully give you some new perspective as you're finding those midlife friendships that will last.
First, understand that there are different types of friendships and that you don't have to be BFFs with every single person you meet. (Oh, good heavens, that just sounds exhausting when I said it.)
Number two, there are different levels of commitment in friendships. So if you're feeling yourself getting frustrated, more than likely it's just the level of commitment that you're coming to the friendship with.
Number three, some friendships are only meant to last for a season or two so be grateful for the time together, enjoy it and who knows? You may come together at a later time.
That's it for today. I hope this gives you a little insight as you're going after those new midlife friendships. Once again, if you are not already an Easy Aging® Insider, or if you would like to leave a five-star rating and review on Apple Podcasts, go to TheEasyAgingShow.com.
You'll find directions on how to leave a review, and you can sign up to be on the email list. I'll see you in the next episode and until then, peace, love and blessings to you and yours. Take care. Bye-bye!