Service of Making Friends When You’re of a Certain Age

April 18th, 2022

Categories: Blessing, Bravery, Courage, Death, Friends, Friendship


Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

You get to a certain age and you don’t expect to make new friends. When you do it’s a blessing. I have been so blessed.

One of my late-in-life friends died last week. She was extraordinarily generous of her time and treasure, ready to advise or cheer and support, often with creative surprises or thoughtful counsel. She was a courageous woman who suffered for years without telling anyone until she admitted the excruciating pain of an unrelenting many years-long headache. She nevertheless attended events, fund-raised and encouraged her friends, always asking about their families and work; wanting to know what books they were reading, movies or TV series she shouldn’t miss. Four of us spoke weekly for years which, especially during the pandemic, was healing for all.

She had access to the best medical care in the world and after agonizing tests and procedures always said that what was wrong with her “isn’t fatal, thank goodness, don’t worry” and when asked said that she was feeling a little better. I am convinced that her determination to stay alive was driven by her wish to see her beloved grandchildren and adored sons as long as possible. Her voice smiled when she mentioned them. Her willpower kept her on earth as long as it did. We are grateful.

Even though I hadn’t known this friend as long as some, I intensely mourn the loss, miss her and am thankful that I knew her. I trust you have been as lucky as I am to have found precious new friends throughout your life.


Image by Isa KARAKUS from Pixabay

13 Responses to “Service of Making Friends When You’re of a Certain Age”

  1. Helen Said:

    Well making new friends is my specialty. Current count is 17! My husband is jealous of the skill. I’ve explained that smile and say hello is a great start. I also play the parrot card. Especially in line at the supermarket. Apples, grapes and peppers are usually for Georgie. I’ll say something like…all this healthy produce isn’t for me it’s for Georgie my parrot! I always have a picture of Georgie in my wallet and he’s very handsome. Sometimes we exchange phone numbers and voila. I have two parties a year to celebrate my girls and one guy. Spring…that’s Sunday April 24 and one in fall. There’s a theme…I hand make all the invites. There’s a theme and decorate appropriately and games and prizes and food and fun! That’s part of the secret to keeping those wonderful people in my life! Good friends are like diamonds. Precious and rare and if you have some please treat them with care….

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Helen,

    Wow! My poor friends aren’t treated as royally! Bet you have fun planning the celebrations!

  3. Hank Goldman Said:

    So grateful to have YOU!!!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Hank,

    Awwwwwww gosh. Likewise!

  5. Martha Takayama Said:

    I have been fortunate with regard to friendships in later years. First and foremost is resuming a very close, dear and important friendship. I found my closest college friend with a different last name while looking through my husband’s daughter’s high school alumni bulletin. This led to my contacting her and restoring a most wonderful friendship. Another example is a delightful, brilliant woman who was recommended to me as a lawyer by a friend’s daughter who had worked with her on a non-profit historical project. She is not only incredibly competent, but we have many interests in common ranging from similar background experiences, tastes, interests and humor. She has become a dear friend. One other example is a woman from the island of Dominica whom I met attending a a benefit. We found that we have many interests in common and although we haven’t the opportunity to see each other often due to Covid and her travel, we have become very close. At her invitation I am part of Living Hope Group, which meets on Zoom. It is a therapeutic group, a source of self-help, wisdom, comfort, spiritual and emotional support. I am boundlessly grateful for all these friendships.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martha,

    You put yourself out there and show interest in others, their lives and backgrounds. I think that’s a key to attracting good friends at a certain age in addition to luck.The pandemic sure put a whammy on meeting new people!

  7. BC Said:

    In my experience, friends change over time by educational status (high school, college, grad school ). The next big change is with
    marriage and living in different locations, plus work experience. We have many opportunities to make friends over a life time. I still have a best friend from the fourth grade! We talk regularly, and we are close like sisters. Many of my best friends have left this earth, and I miss them. In the twilight years, I have enjoyed making new friends in our retirement community. As we get older, the crowd thins, and we must adjust and make new friends.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    BC,

    That’s true. As you change jobs some friends stay with you and others you lose track of. Social media helps. Holiday messages too. I dislike reunions and have a tendency to hide in my world which doesn’t help.

  9. lucrezia Said:

    I started out w/a treatise about the American downsizing of the elderly. A total waste of time since marginalizing others is a part of this society’s fabric. That’s not stopping me, and hopefully others, from rejecting the unfortunate concept that being old means being cut off — segregation at its best!

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    If there were a way to capture and put to use the smarts, experience and insight of some 65+ and tweak the intelligence with the latest technology some businesses and organizations might avoid making the same old mistakes and, to their surprise benefit!

  11. Francine Ryan Said:

    Friends made after a woman is no longer very young become sisters of your heart. There is no reason to be friends with someone unless there is true enjoyment of their company, their intellect and the sparkle that comes when you can just laugh together over the absurdity of so much life throws at us. It was never all about Berenice – because she genuinely cared for the miseries and triumphs of all of us. I will miss her until we meet again.

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Francine,

    As will I.

  13. Eileen Dover Said:

    I have had similar kindred friendships. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss.

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