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Friendship Made Easy in your 50s

It took 7 train stops

Published 3 months ago • 2 min read

My 95-year-old grandmother had been admitted to the hospital the night before with a heart attack.

I was on my way to meet my son there.

The plan was simple: I'd text him when I was en route so he'd leave school, and we'd arrive together so he wouldn't get lost in a sea of wards.

Only I'd left my phone at home - which also happens to be my wallet. (Nice one, Janey. Turn up empty-handed)!

I needed to borrow a phone asap to avoid any further fiasco, but the fear of asking a stranger and risking rejection in my vulnerable state left me anxious.

I've never been one to ask for help.

If I were asking on behalf of someone else, it wouldn't have been an issue. The rejection wouldn't feel personal.

But asking for myself? That's a different story.

Fear of rejection often paralyzes us.

In friendship, it stops us from extending invitations, reconnecting with old friends, or going along to meetups.

This fear never really goes away; instead, you learn to overcome it, armed with evidence from past experiences that stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to positive outcomes.

I recently learned a technique around rejection; although it was on selling, it also applies to friendship.

If you actively seek the 'no's and celebrate them, you stop wasting time with those who aren't meant to be in your life, inching closer to those who are and who say yes.

Expecting rejection prepares you for rejection. You develop resilience (or thick skin) so that rejection starts to lose its sting.

So over the next seven train stops, I gave myself a big girl pep talk to muster up the courage, reframing any potential 'no' as a celebratory notch on the rejection pole.

I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

I approached the one person most likely to help – a female station attendant I'd spied a few cars down. (That was deliberate. If she did say no, I could slink back and nurse my embarrassment out of sight).

To my relief, she was incredibly kind.

She happily dialled my son's number and handed me her flash new iPhone.

And just like that, my original plan was back on track.

Son found, Nana found. Happy ending.

In friendship, there will always be the risk of rejection (as with any relationship). And more often than not, the fear is all in your head.

Sometimes, you've just got to take a leap, especially when the pain of doing nothing outweighs the pain of doing something.

And there are many leaps of faith required at our stage in life.

Whether making new friends, exploring new interests, or starting afresh, each leap comes with its own fears and uncertainties.

I've learned that taking a leap can lead to the most fulfilling experiences and personal growth.

You have to risk something to gain something, and regardless of the outcome, celebrate your efforts.

I gave myself an 'A' for effort, even though, in reality, it wasn't that hard.

Having faced this fear, I won't fret so much the next time I need to ask to use someone's phone. It's lost its sting - although I'm not in a hurry to repeat the experience.

My Nana is back in the hospital again, this time with COVID, and you can bet I won't be leaving my phone at home any time soon!

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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