Ageing Well Health & Wellness Wellness Wednesday

The Benefits of Age-Gap Friendships

August 14, 2019
Benefits of Age-Gap Friendships

It’s time for the monthly Wellness Wednesday hosted by Natalie from Natalie the Explorer and Leslie from Once Upon a Time, Happily Ever After. Each month, we can update our health and fitness goals and also have a topic to write about. This month the topic is ‘Friends and Relationships’ which fits very well with my Ageing Well in August theme for Day 10 – ‘Hang Out with people of all ages’.

Friendship has no age barrier

Part of Ageing Well is to stay connected. Most of us know that but who make up your circle of friends? Are they all around the same age as you? Many of us would answer ‘yes’ because we feel that we have more in common with our peers and feel comfortable in this type of friendship. These friendships are certainly valid and cherished.

However there are many benefits to looking past the number and discovering new friendships that have no age barrier. I recently read about ‘Age-Gap Friendship’ and it backed up what I have always thought. I’ve always had friendships and relationships with people from all stages of life. I’ve written before about working with some women, young enough to be my daughters who encouraged me to start running. They didn’t see me as a 50 year old woman, I was just Sue and we had some fun times together. They certainly encouraged and helped me step out of my comfort zone.

Dr. Angharad Rudkin, a chartered psychologist and member of The British Psychological Society, suggests:

“We tend to seek out people who we believe are similar to us – social status, experiences, looks, age,”

“Benefits of age-gap friendships include learning from one another’s experiences, developing empathy for people of different ages and possibly (though I’m not sure of the evidence for this) having a different perspective on life as a result of knowing someone older/younger well.

American clinical psychologist Dr. Andrea Bonior suggests:

“Cross-generational friendships allow us to be ourselves without as many expectations of what our lives are ‘supposed’ to be focused on at any given stage, and they can be among the most meaningful and cherished of relationships.”

Benefits of Age-Gap Friendships

Benefits of Age-Gap Friendships

  • Different Generations bring different experiences, ideas and opportunities
  • Younger friends challenge our thinking and beliefs
  • Older friends can provide life experience and mentor younger friends
  • Younger friends keep you more active
  • You may be introduced to new interests and hobbies
  • Conversations have more variety – whether your friend is younger or older than you, conversations are never dull as they discuss what is happening in their life’s journey.
  • It is easier to stay current – you are introduced to the latest trends and popular culture. This helps you stay in touch and connected with the world. It helps us to stay vital and youthful
  • You aren’t invisible – the friendship is not based on age but respect

Do you think Age-Gap friendships can work? I’d love to hear your thoughts and your experiences.

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  • Reply Erica/Erika August 14, 2019 at 01:19

    Hi Sue, A great topic for this August and for every month of the year. My workplace for almost 25 years often consisted of 3 generations working together. We learned from each other and inspired each other. We also became life long friends. Your quote from Dr. Rudkin says it well. These are still the “most meaningful and cherished relationships.”

    Re: one of the points brought up, I also believe mentoring does not depend on age. We can mentor each other. A great reminder on why I cherish the different friends I have made along the way. I am really enjoy and learning lots from the August series. Thank you for sharing, Sue:)

  • Reply Leslie Susan Clingan August 14, 2019 at 04:40

    Thanks, Sue, for joining us. I can relate to having friends of all ages. Most of them were colleagues at work. As the librarian, I worked with everyone on the faculty and staff rather than with a specific grade level or department. Some of the teachers I worked most closely with were the second grade teachers who ranged in age from mid-20s to late 60s. They each brought something to the grade level and all became treasured friends. I miss that gang of gals.

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee August 14, 2019 at 06:37

    It’s funny, I’ve always had a few friends where I am the ‘young one’ and one of them said to me (about 20 years ago) that you need young friends because your old friends never want to go out and do anything new (which I thought was harsh at the time but I’m hitting that stage now). I often go to concerts by myslef to dance because no one like edm. I need to find myself a gaggle of young music lovers….

  • Reply Theresa Muth August 14, 2019 at 07:39

    I completely agree. One of my best friends is 35 and I’m 56. I enjoy getting different perspectives from people of different ages. I think you can always learn a new perspective.

  • Reply Bree August 14, 2019 at 08:02

    While working I had some really great friendships with younger colleagues. It felt that there was no age gap. We thought the same. As I’m not working anymore I tend to mix with people my own age. I had a wonderful friend he was 21 I was 43, we liked the same movies, same music. This is a great post! ##MLSTL

  • Reply Joanne Tracey August 14, 2019 at 08:09

    I’ve always had friends that are older than me but am now more aware of the number of people in my “circle” who are younger. Interestingly I worry that I’ll be too “old” for them yet when I was their age & friends with people in their 50s (as I am) I never thought of those friends as being old so know logically that I’m worrying needlessly. I love the different perspectives you get from age gaps – it’s invaluable.

  • Reply Natalie August 14, 2019 at 08:58

    Thanks, Sue, for joining us at Wellness Wednesday link up. Age-gap friendships work well. I have a mix of friends who are older and younger than me. I don’t think about age when it comes to friendship. #MLSTL

  • Reply Jennifer August 14, 2019 at 09:21

    Currently, the friend I spend the most time with is a 30 something blogger who is also a recent transplant to Orlando. We enjoy spending holidays together, get together almost weekly for coffee, and text all the time. Luckily our husbands like each other too! And we adore their children. I’m so glad that she was here in Orlando.

  • Reply Debbie Harris August 14, 2019 at 09:31

    This is a fabulous post and you raise such great points Sue. Friendships of all ages are so beneficial and I agree friendship has no age barrier. Living in a small town as we do, our social life is made up of groups of all ages. We love mixing with everyone and hearing their thoughts and the age differences usually disappear! #mlstl

  • Reply Leanne | August 14, 2019 at 12:09

    Hi Sue – I think most of my friends are in a similar age bracket to me these days, but I certainly count my daughter and DIL as friends and value their input and different world view. I’ve also appreciated the lovely ladies at the Senior Cits who are so friendly and warm – age has no meaning there and I love that they’re so welcoming.
    Thanks for cohosting with me for yet another #MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM xx

  • Reply Jennifer Jones August 14, 2019 at 12:16

    Hi Sue I love this topic. Most of my friends are younger than me. Probably partly because of my interest in fitness. I really never think of age when it com s to friends. I love your quote #MLSTL Sharing

  • Reply Donna August 14, 2019 at 12:23

    Hi, Sue – I completely agree about the benefits of multiple-age friendships. That’s one of the many aspects that we love about the Camino – cross-generational and cross-cultural!

  • Reply Donna McNicol August 14, 2019 at 12:49

    My best friend used to work for me and she was 15 years younger than I. We’ve maintained that friendship since 1982 even though we rarely see each other. But the big surprise was the friendship we made three years ago with the band members working on a cruise ship. They are young enough to be not just our sons, but our grandsons. We so enjoyed our time with them, staying up late, chatting about everything & nothing. They invited us to come back the next year on a different ship and then asked us to do an excursion with them. So we went cave diving and zip-lining in Belize with them. Oh, and I ended up including them all as characters in one of my books set in Hawaii, but set ten years later in their careers. And yes, we are still in touch with them even though most have gone on to different opportunities.

  • Reply Jo August 14, 2019 at 14:17

    What a great subject Sue, and funnily enough Dave and I had this same conversation yesterday. I really enjoy having younger friends because I love being introduced to new ideas and ways of viewing the world from the younger generation, but even so I’m not completely settled with befriending them in case they think I’m an old fuddy duddy! I met up with someone who is 15 years younger than me yesterday and really liked her and hope very much that we can begin a lifelong friendship. #MLSTL and Pinned

  • Reply Min @ Write of the Middle August 14, 2019 at 16:56

    Such a great topic! I have friends of all different ages – most similar age to me give or take 5 years or so either way. However, I have a very good friend who I catch up with every time I’m in Melbourne and she only just turned 40 – so she’s 15 years younger than me. She has a 4 year old daughter. We get along fabulously and our age difference is no barrier at all. xo

  • Reply Candi Randolph August 14, 2019 at 20:24

    Hi Sue, I have always had friendships with people older, and younger, than myself. As you said, we’re all just people. Some have more wrinkles, but there is such wisdom found there. Wonderful post, shared on SM. xo

  • Reply Patricia Doyle August 14, 2019 at 22:55

    Hi Sue, I never really thought of this… I have some friends who are older (10-15 years) and some who are younger (also 10-15 years) , but none that I consider very young … i.e. ones that could be my daughters. Sometimes it is hard to relate to my friends with young kids…especially as I’ve moved into retirement. Nowadays, I’m finding it helpful to gather more friends in that life-stage.

  • Reply Pradeep August 15, 2019 at 17:56

    For me, age really doesn’t matter. It’s what connects that matters.
    I have plenty of friends who are younger to me, and who are older as well.
    Having said that, I like friends who are younger, because they make me feel young!

  • Reply Christie Hawkes August 17, 2019 at 01:56

    I have friendships with people of all ages, and I cherish those relationships. I hadn’t thought about exactly why, but all the benefits you listed ring true. #MLSTL

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