Over 50s Lifestyle Tell Us About..

Why Age-Gap Friendships are a vital part of Ageing Well

February 15, 2024

It’s time for this month’s Tell Us About…. a link up hosted by some lovely ladies (including me) from all over the world. You can see who they are at the end of the post and I encourage you to visit their blogs and check out what they have written for this month’s prompt.

Each month one of the members selects a topic/prompt and this month it is Tell Us About……Friends and Friendship This month’s prompt was suggested by the lovely Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper and as usual I’m trying to think outside of the box with my contribution to the prompt.

Why Age-Gap Friendships are a part of Ageing Well

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 and I adore my friends who are of my generation. We have loads in common, we laugh and have fun together and we get each other.

But……

Friendship has no age barrier

However there are many benefits to looking past the number and discovering new friendships that have no age barrier. Some time ago, I 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.

I also have a treasured friendship with my cousin who, although in her 80s has always and continues to be my mentor and an inspiration to me. We share not only family ties, as my cousin, she is the last link to my Mum as both Mum and Dad regarded her as more of a daughter than a niece. We have always been close although she is 17 years older than I am.

Carole, is an intelligent woman who is interested in politics, art, reading and life in general. She regularly attends literary lunches and outings with friends as well as travelling when she can. I value our friendship and our conversations despite not living in the same state as each other. I’ve learned so much from her.

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

  • 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.

Until next time….

Sue Loncaric

Tell Us About….Contributors


Gail from Is This Mutton It’s not always easy making friends in later life. Gail from Is This Mutton has some ideas on how to find your next BFF.  Find her post at  https://www.isthismutton.com 

Deb from Deb’s World (Australia) – For this month’s lovely prompt of Friends and Friendship, Debbie is sharing a story from a few years ago, all about friendship and making lifelong friends in the world of blogging.  Find her post at https://www.debs-world.com

Suzy from The Grey Brunette (Brit living in Portugal) – Suzy shares stories of friendships over her 48 years, from childhood buddies like Emma to global connections, each one leaving a unique mark on her life.   Find her post at www.thegreybrunette.com/tell-us-about-friends-and-friendships

Marsha, from Marsha In the Middle  – Marsha wrote about her golden friends in a post in 2022.  She has used parts of that post to talk about the definition of friends and friendship.   Find her post at https://marshainthemiddle.com/ .

Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper – Penny looks back at friends she had during her childhood and reflects on how friendships change over the years. She notes how important her current friends are and how we all communicate now as opposed to the past.  Find her post at https://frugalfashionshopper.co.uk/

Mary Katherine from MK’s Adventures –Mary Katherine reflects on long-friendship gold, friendships lost, and new friendships at midlife. Find her post herehttps://mksadventure.com/

Australian blogger Jill from Grownup Glamour I have explored the changing nature of friendships throughout our lives and the importance of friends as we age. Find her post at https://grown-upglamour.com

Women Living Well After 50

Living Life Your Way

28 Comments

  • Reply Retirement Reflections February 15, 2024 at 06:36

    Hi, Sue – This is a great post that poses wonderful questions. Most of my friends are within my own age group. I’m not sure why, it has just worked out that way. One thing I loved about working internationally, and about long Camino hikes, is that I am surrounded by a variety of ages, cultures and languages. I agree with you that this variety offers many benefits.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 15, 2024 at 16:57

      Hi Donna, you would really interact with all age groups when hiking the Camino. x

  • Reply marsha57 February 15, 2024 at 08:06

    My best friend is just enough younger than I am to almost be my daughter. And, one of my other good friends is the same age as my mom would have been. They both make me laugh, challenge my thinking, and are a part of my history. I love all the points you make about age gap friendships. I’m going to have to actively look for those kinds of relationships as I do exactly as you say…I stick to people my age because it just seems to make sense…though I now realize it doesn’t!

    Thanks for another beautifully written post, Sue

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 15, 2024 at 16:58

      Hi Marsha, it is wonderful that you have a best friend so much younger than you. It’s great to give them your wisdom and perspective as well as getting their ideas on life. x

  • Reply leannelc February 15, 2024 at 10:36

    Hi Sue – I’ve become very close to a friend who is 15 years younger than me. She’s a calm and thoughtful person, an old soul, and I learn more from her than I do from friends of my own age. I think friendship comes from like mindedness and heart connection – age is often irrelevant. I’m glad you’ve found the same with your cousin. x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 15, 2024 at 16:59

      Age can be irrelevant, Leanne and I’m so pleased you’ve found a close friend who you can impart your wisdom to and in return keep up to date with her perspectives. x

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee February 15, 2024 at 11:00

    Honestly, I love this! When I was in my 20’s, I had some froens in their 40’s – they’d come on group weekends away or out to bands – some of my friends would find it a little odd but they seemed to have fun and join in so why not? I see now, I’d LOVE some much younger friends to do fun things with. You get to an age where it just becomes dinners or restaurants/bars and that can be a little limiting, as lovely as it is to catch up. Interesetingly, some of these friends are still my go-to for weird concerts or art shows (festival of Sydney etc) so age is no barrier to broad interests. Because of my youngest child, I’m friends with a group of people almost 5-7 years younger than me and they’re very much a ‘yes’crew for fun….#TellUsAbout

    • Reply Jennifer Jones February 15, 2024 at 14:46

      Hi Sue there is so much to think about in your post and I loved reading it and reflecting. I do have close friends of my own age whose friendships I value. I’ve always managed to have younger friends also, mainly due to fitness. Most of my friends of my age aren’t interested at all. I have a younger group of friends from age 40-52 plus me. We’ve become very close over the years, meet up regularly and talk about anything and everything. Age is no barrier to us and they are as interested in anything I have to say as I am in them. Great post Sue!

      • Reply Sue Loncaric February 15, 2024 at 17:03

        Hi Jen, I love that exercise brings us in touch with people of all ages. I know the young group of women I worked with who were in their late 20s encouraged me to start running with them despite being 50. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 15, 2024 at 17:01

      Hi Lydia, I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post. I’ve not met you or seen you but I always look at you as ‘young and hip’. Younger people like to have fun and the unfortunate thing is as we age we tend to have fun less and less. That is why it is great to be surrounded by fun people regardless of age. Have a lovely week. x

  • Reply Debbie February 15, 2024 at 11:46

    What a lovely thoughtful post Sue! Friends can be any age and you have shared some great examples and the whys of how it works so well. Our local friend groups are mainly my age or older and we enjoy doing lots of things together like bike riding, days out or simply catching up for coffee. Since going to my exercise studio I’ve met lots of younger women who have embraced me into their circle which I enjoy immensely. Your post sums up the variety of friendships and having things in common with others is the mark of true friends regardless of their age. Thanks for sharing this with us xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 15, 2024 at 17:02

      Hi Deb, you and your studio friends remind me of the time I was working with younger women who encouraged me to start running. Age really doesn’t have to be a barrier does it? You can ‘click’ with anyone. x

  • Reply Gail Is This Mutton February 15, 2024 at 21:55

    Lovely thoughtful post Sue. A recent former colleague has become a good friend and she’s 18 years younger. But it’s quite easy to fall into the rut of friends being the same age, we need to seek out the young uns! x

  • Reply Penny February 16, 2024 at 02:21

    Wise words and so true – a lot of my friends are a few years younger than me, a couple are older. I must say I love the younger age friends especially when i get good advice on makeup and clothes from them!

  • Reply Janine February 16, 2024 at 10:14

    This is a great post Sue. I think most of my friends ages vary either up or down by about 10 years. My mum who is 79 has been trying to nurture a wider range of friend groups as many in her age group are becoming frail or sadly dying. She also feels younger friends help her stay in touch with technology and the changes in society, which I agree with. I think it’s also helpful to have friends from different ethnic and social backgrounds too.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 18, 2024 at 16:50

      Thanks Janine! I’m finding that most of my comments are from those who also have Age-Gap Friendships. I completely understand your Mum’s attitude and it is an important point really. Maintaining friendships from all generations will avoid being lonely as we age and peers become frail or die. I like your idea of ethnic and social backgrounds too!

  • Reply Alison February 16, 2024 at 21:11

    Lovely post Sue and another great challenge. Is this the same as the weekend traffic post?

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 18, 2024 at 16:56

      Hi Alison, this is a different link to Weekend Traffic Post. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post and it was certainly lovely reading how the others interpreted the prompt about Friends and Friendship x

  • Reply Paula @ Gracefilled Moments February 17, 2024 at 23:54

    You are so right here. My best friend and I are 10 years apart and you’d think we were friends forever. We’ve had our 10 year friendavarsary in2023. This is such a great message.
    Visiting today from Traffic Jam Reboot #9,10&11

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 18, 2024 at 17:02

      Hi Paula, how lovely to celebrate your 10 year friendaversary. Good friends are like diamonds, aren’t they? x

  • Reply Joanne February 19, 2024 at 05:16

    Oh definitely! I have always had friends from a wide variety of ages around me.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 19, 2024 at 17:52

      It makes life so much more interesting having friends of all ages, doesn’t it, Joanne? Have a lovely week. x

  • Reply mkmiller09393 February 22, 2024 at 02:28

    Thought-provoking wisdom here, Sue! I’m lucky to have these as a benefit of still working. The colleagues on either side of me are 76 and 22, respectively. The Gen Z-er gives us a daily “slang lesson” to keep us current, and we’ve explained to her the mysteries of things like interoffice envelopes and what a “memo” was! I’ve heard that there are more generations working side by side in the workplace today than every in history, and I’m glad to be a part of it! Now looking for what will provide this when I retire…

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 22, 2024 at 12:09

      What a great work environment and it is wonderful we can all learn from different generations. I’m sure you will find your age-gap tribe in retirement too x

  • Reply KymPossible February 23, 2024 at 13:08

    I love this perspective, and I agree that age-gap friendships can definitely be rewarding and beneficial! I consider myself lucky to have some good friends that are a decade of more older and younger than me. My best age-gap friendships are with my Mum and with my daughter and daughters-in-law.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 25, 2024 at 10:34

      Oh I love that your best age-gap friendships are with your Mum, your daughter and DIL. My Mum died in 1985 but I do have a lovely relationship with my daughter. x

  • Reply The Grey Brunette February 23, 2024 at 21:15

    Some of our closest friends are a lot older than my husband and I. We met them when we bought our first apartment, we were in our early twenties and they must’ve been about 50 ish. They owned the apartment right next door to us and used it as a holiday home (they live in England). We used to go on holiday with them, we went to Canada twice, to the Azores, Scotland, Wales, Ireland! We had so much fun, even though we had very little in common. Sadly, his health has deteriorated so much in the past year that they haven’t been able to travel and now he’s bed-bound. We’re really hoping we’ll get to see him before it’s too late. Generally speaking, most of our friends are older than us. It’s only in the past couple of years that we’ve been socialising with a younger crowd, which I always find so odd because I was always the youngest one lol!
    Great post, Sue!
    Hugs
    Suzy xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 25, 2024 at 10:37

      What fun you had Suzy with your neighbours. I hope you get to see him soon and it is sad when age catches up isn’t it? Glad you enjoyed the post, Suzy and have a lovely week! x

    I love hearing from you and your comments are important to me

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.