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Friendships in our forties

Adult friendships are hard. Especially when you get older and have more responsibilities, which means less time to dedicate to maintaining them. I recently ended relationships that spanned decades. As I'm trying to process what happened and why, I realized I simply outgrew them and that's ok. People grow and change and not necessarily together.

Now that I'm in my 40s, my priorities are completely different than they were in my 20s and early 30s - as are my expectations. For adult friendships to stand the test of time, I believe 4 things are needed:

  • Mutual Investment: Relationships can be fragile and need tender love and care to grow, but like plants need water AND the sun to grow, friendships can't be one-sided. Ask yourself if you and your friend had a joint account are you both making deposits (giving) or is someone only making withdrawals (taking)?

  • Honest Communication: I'm certainly not perfect, but I'm doing the best I can with the time and energy I have to invest in friendships. If someone has an issue with something I did or said, I expect an honest and direct conversation about it. That's not always easy, but is the mature way to handle conflict. Drama is for youngsters.

  • Respectful Behavior: No gossiping, no lying, no yelling or other childish behaviors. I'm a grown adult so I expect to be treated as such and find myself less tolerant of disrespect. I also want to set a good example for my boys. I'm quick to remove myself from people and situations that threaten my peace.

  • Trust: Self-explanatory really, but trust that your friend always has your best interests at heart. Meaning, they are happy for you in good times (not competitive) and supportive (not absent) in bad times. When you let someone in, you become vunerable to being hurt. It's important to be able to trust that your heart is safe with them.

As a mom, I realize even more now how special it is to have friends whom I love and adore. As I grow apart from a few, and mourn the loss of our once sacred relationships, I realize that it's ok to not hang on to friends who you are no longer compatible with. It's a normal part of life, but difficult, nonetheless.

Every demise of a relationship teaches us valuable lessons that help us better ourselves. And most importantly, it helps us realize the type of people we truly want to surround ourselves with. Life is short, make sure it's filled with people who lift you up, fill up your cup and make your soul happy.


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