New and old friendships after 60 have a unique quality and are incredibly satisfying. Somehow the wisdom of the years has been distilled into a rich filtered concoction where priorities, past and present moments, and the right energy balance results in an appreciation of our friends who are unique to this time in our life.
At this stage of life, our time feels more precious and we value what is good and try to prune what is not. We know who our true friends are, the ones that make us feel wanted and loved and vital and are as willing to listen as they are to share.
But, what works in friendship at this stage has its own special cocktail of behaviors unique to this time in life.
Reflecting on how grateful I am to have friends from my early childhood through high school years, the parenting years and now new friends at this empty nest stage, I realize that the combination of humor, kindness, caring and tolerance are the magical recipe.
So here’s 10 highlights of what works in friendships after 60, and as I wrote this, I know, this list is just a start.
1. Friends after 60 are more tolerant of our forgetting stuff because they know they forget stuff too. A friend in their 60’s hears the story before but does not get impatient with you and look at you like you’re losing it “Yes love, you did tell me about that story you wrote and I did say I read it and loved it and shared the link.”
2. Last night’s smudged make-up is acceptable. My mascara runs no matter what that cosmetic lady says — it is not water proof -it is falsely advertised. I didn’t go swimming last night I went out to dinner. But, once again, this morning, last night’s eye liner was stuck in the corner of my lid. My make-up mirror is never magnified enough. I tried to wipe it all off but I must have missed again. No worries my friend can relate. “Here’s a Q-tip — you’ve got a smudge under your eye, but I love the color of your blouse, you look fabulous.”.
3. Nana photos are ok to share over and over again! We love to look at those adorable grands, our own and our friends and that pleasure is exclusive to our over 60 friend group. The rest of the world barely tolerates us sharing our latest grand baby snaps. “Ooooh, Ahhhhh she is so adorable, so adorable she looks just like you. Can I show you mine.”
4. Compliments about how healthy we look are the best kind of accolades. When we look fit and refreshed or rested, our friends after 60 know what a feat this is. Most of us over 60 do not sleep through the night and no one wants to hear they look tired. Friends after 60 don’t remind us that we look exhausted because they know we are.
5. Truth about what not to buy. Shopping with a friend over 60 is a safe bet.These friends tell you that outfit looks terrible and not to buy it because you won’t like it later and you already bought it last year in another color. You are so grateful.
6. Empathy for medical issues. You’re worried about your MRI, your dental work, your bunion and that friend is not only soothing but is ready to tell you about theirs. We don’t like to spend our entire visits on these topics, but good friends at this age know it goes with the territory.
7. Cancelling is less acceptable after 60. We just don’t have the same excuses we used to for cancelling dates with our friends. Most of us are responsible for only ourselves and after 60, good friends are more reliable because they don’t have that sick kid at home or babysitter who didn’t show up. That friend will put a date on the calendar and keep it because they know time matters. But, if they have to cancel you will understand because you know you are loved (unless it becomes a habit).
8. An invitation to a friend’s house for a home cooked meal after 60 is a big deal. Because we aren’t raising kids, our refridgerators aren’t stocked with food. So, when a friend invites you to dinner you know they had to make a special effort and most likely they are out of practice. After 60, we are never insulted to be invited to a pot luck.
9. Friends after 60 are our cheerleaders. We really love to support each other because we truly are proud of our new accomplishments. I shared some pottery I made in class with some friends and I felt so proud when my friend asked me all about it. It wasn’t even that good. A bunch of us just learned pickle ball and our cheers and pride are sincere as we encourage each other to jump into a new sport at this stage.
10. Friends after 60 are happy to share because they know “It’s just stuff.” So when a friend after 60 shows you the new coat they just bought at TJ Max for $39 and lets you try it on. And, when you fall in love with it, they let you borrow it. And, they even suggest they are going to go out and try to buy you one! But just don’t forget to return the one you borrowed! Friendship has it’s limits.