Got friends? Of course you do. There are your work friends, parents of your kids’ friend, your neighbors, college buddies, friends of your spouse and your Facebook friends. Don’t forget about friends from social groups and friends that you’ve known for so long that you feel like you knew them before you were born. So why add more friends to the list? Here are 3 reasons to gather new friends in midlife.
By midlife, you begin to sense a need for simplicity and often seek to eliminate what feels like it drags you down. As a result, it becomes increasingly more important to enjoy real connections with others. You lose your patience for those who are too needy and for those who always seem to take more than they give. There’s a sense of wanting to surround yourself with friends who add value to your life. In addition, there’s just less time to waste. Who has time for toxic friendships?
At some point, you start looking at all your friends and decide there’s a group that you really could see less of and be okay with that. Probably other friends will drop off your radar when you change jobs, your kids become adults or life takes you in a new direction. You look around and discover yourself well into midlife and wonder just who’s left to spend quality time with.
Let’s look at 3 reasons to gather new friends in midlife:
#1: You Can’t Rely On The Workplace For Friends Anymore
Midlife is the time people often begin to drift away from the workplace. Maybe it’s you choosing to leave for new opportunities or maybe others are leaving for health reasons or retirement. Regardless of why things change, you’ll discover the workplace just doesn’t feel like the best source anymore for creating friendships.
When you’re beginning your career, you often bond with coworkers. Because everything is new and different and you share a lot in common. By midlife, you no longer view work as the center of your universe. You have other interests and life commitments. You spend enough time at your job and it doesn’t feel as rewarding to spend your downtime on work-related conversations anymore.
Workplace friends are great. And while you’re working, it’s wonderful to know you have a tribe you can rely on. As work takes on less importance in your life, it’s a signal to look for friends outside of work and who have other interests similar to yours.
#2: You Need Support For Your Midlife Transition
Just where did the time go? Seems like just yesterday you were a care-free young adult and now you’re middle aged. What happened? It feels like everything is rushing by and moving way too fast. Guess what? Everyone feels like that. When you’re a kid, you can’t get old fast enough. Now, you can’t stay young fast enough.
Reading about this and gaining an understanding this feeling is universal is definitely helpful. But being able to share these thoughts with others is far more beneficial. Having friends to talk with about midlife transitions offers emotional benefits. Knowing it’s not just you and sharing what it feels like, is a huge stress reliever.
The solution is to make connections and have conversations about what you’re going through. So put yourself in situations where you can find new friends who are also experiencing the angst of midlife and you’ll feel both supported and encouraged.
#3: You Have New Interests To Pursue
By midlife, you begin to appreciate the value of having a variety of interests. You can see your family changing and know that as your kids become adults, they don’t want all your attention anymore. As much as you like working, you want more time for yourself so you can explore and do new things.
It’s time to begin investigating and pursuing the things you’ve put on hold for much of your adult life. You’ve dedicated time to career and family. Now it’s time to think about yourself. Doesn’t it sound wonderful to begin exploring new interests?
When you’re considering doing something new, it’s easy to postpone it or put it off until the “time is right.” Let’s face it, there’s anxiety associated with doing new things. And it’s easy to make excuses and put off getting started. You might need a little push to move forward. Look for some new friends who share your interests and you’ll find motivation to get out there and get involved.
Finally, old friends are great. Therefore, make sure you honor the existing relationships that continue adding value to your life. However, recognize there’s merit in developing new friendships as you enter middle age. Make it a priority to gather new friends in midlife and connect with others who share your various interests.