Friendship Made Easy in your 50s

It's not just you

Published 2 months ago • 2 min read

I observed two young girls who just met become friends on the park swings...

"I have a cat named Whiskers"
"I have a cat too. He's called Snowball."
"Want to draw cats together?"
"Yes! We can make a big picture with both our cats."
"They can be best friends, just like us."

If only making friends was that easy as adults. These days, I can't even fit on the swings.

Why is it so hard to make friends as an adult?

This is a question I see all the time.

It's because once you leave school and enter the real world, places and opportunities to socialise become limited.

Life becomes complicated and busier.

Friends are not as readily available, and you are not as readily available.

And your priorities shift.

Childhood is all about fun and play, something I still long for and had plenty of in the roaring 20s - your tribe years when making friends was still relatively easy.

You enter the workforce or university and meet a bunch of new people, potential new friends who want to go all in and experience what life has to offer together.

I thought, naively, that's how it would always be.

But then you transition from the carefree 20s into your 30s, marked by significant shifts, and life becomes cluttered with all things adult.

It's generally a decade where friendships go to die.

Your friendships are no longer in sync as they diverge on different paths with children, marriage, or careers.

And shared experiences dwindle.

As you enter your 40s, time becomes increasingly consumed by work and family commitments.

And whilst your need for friendship remains, you have little energy left to nurture old friendships, let alone make new ones.

So, by the time you reach your 50s and start to get some time back, you look around to find your friends have disappeared or moved on.

Your circle of friends will naturally shrink, especially if the context that once encouraged those friendships, like work, children, or marriage, changes or disappears.

So it's not just you.

It's hard for everyone to make friends as an adult.

Friendships evolve and change throughout the years because you change - people change.

For children, friendship is like a garden - a mass plot of land where everything grows freely and wildly; seeds (new friends) sprout overnight with little effort, nurtured by the constant sun of playtime and shared experiences.

As adults, our gardens become more like delicate greenhouses, where each new plant (friendship) requires deliberate cultivation, specific conditions, and regular maintenance. The climate inside is controlled (like the structure in our lives) but makes it harder for new plants to take root without our intentional effort and care.

But there is good news.

Now is a great time to make new friends.

At this stage of life, you begin to regain your freedom, have more life experience to share and draw upon, have more self-awareness and are less self-absorbed (hopefully), which can lead to more authentic friendships.

And perhaps by adopting a childlike "I like you, you like me" approach to new friendships, we can make it all a little less complicated.

If the only requirement we ask when meeting someone new is whether the person is nice and friendly - then voila, there's the potential for friendship - no swing required.

It's a place to start in any case.

Until next time...

Janey :)

p.s. There's a new friendship app in town. Thought I'd share it here in case you haven't seen it. It's tailored specifically for the 40+ (singles and couples), and it's free (until December). Give it a whirl and see if it works for you.

Friendship Made Easy in your 50s

Hey! I'm Janey Carr

...a friendship enthusiast helping single women in their 50s build real friendships for deeper connection, by sharing personal experience, curated expert advice, tips and thoughtful, no-fluff stories delivered to your inbox each week.

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