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Do friendships change with age?

(52 Posts)
NainFron Wed 17-Jul-19 08:16:55

Last night, DH and I went out with an old friend whom we'd not seen in a while. It was a pleasant enough evening, but we're not in a huge rush to repeat the experience, mainly because of (minor) irritating personality traits that have not softened with age!
This morning, we were discussing how we used to have frequent dinner parties with various other friends too, but have now fallen out of the habit of doing so. We don't miss it - I'd rather go to a restaurant these days.
Have your frienships changed? Do you have more or fewer friends? Have uou noticed changes in other people?

Harris27 Wed 17-Jul-19 08:26:25

Yes change happens. As we go through the years different things happen to us that we share with old friends but sometimes our lives go in different directions and we have to walk away from old friendships that don't feel the same. It's just life.

M0nica Wed 17-Jul-19 08:36:24

I tink looking back we can see how friends have drifted in and out of our lives.

People who were close friends when our children were small, have now drifted out of our lives because we have all moved and apart from our children we didn't have much in common. The same with people who were friends when we worked etc.

However, I think, like most of us, we have a small group of friends, who we have known since childhood, who are like family, we know each other, our relations and children. With these we tolerate some irritating habits, because our friendship is so deep and so close and intertwined that separating from them would be impossible.

And lets face it we too have our irritating habits that are getting worse!

sodapop Wed 17-Jul-19 08:47:26

People do tend to come and go in our lives but as MOnica said there are one or two enduring friendships. As we now live in France we have found that friends of our own age want to travel less, we feel the same way. Technology helps us keep in touch but its not quite the same as meeting up.
Absolutely no irritating habits here - ha smile

Sara65 Wed 17-Jul-19 08:54:15

Agree with M0nica

We’ve had friends over the years that we’ve seen lots of, and then for various reasons we’ve drifted apart. I was part of a very close group of parents at one time, when one of my children was very involved in a sport that took up a lot of time, we all knew each other, and each other’s children really well, and were quite close, we all vowed to keep in touch when school ended, did we? No! I had lunch a couple of times with a friend, and even that fizzled out. But some friends, whatever the circumstances, are friends for life

Urmstongran Wed 17-Jul-19 09:59:33

Thinking about the people in my life over the years - Whether they ‘were there for a reason, a season or a lifetime’

And when they are gone, I’m thankful for the gifts I received from them when they were here—for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Willow500 Wed 17-Jul-19 10:29:43

Yes relationships change. Our closest friends from way back when we were first married and who we spent holidays and weekends away with rarely see us. We moved away and they got on with their lives - nothing wrong - we just have totally different circumstances now.

We've had other friends over the years who have come and gone and some who have resurfaced in recent times. It's all part of life's rich tapestry.

henetha Wed 17-Jul-19 10:59:28

I've been lucky in having some lovely long friendships,, most of whom have now died.. Except one who I still see now and then, not often. She seems somehow different these days and the closeness we had is simply not there.
I've made new friends where I now live and a couple of them are lovely, but it's not the same as those who knew the old me in my younger life.

Pantglas1 Wed 17-Jul-19 11:20:11

I think everything changes with age!

Friendships, bodies, likes, dislikes, work, families, homes, gardens, communities, countries, politics, religion, climate - you name it.

perhaps we should be asking What hasn’t changed with age?

EllanVannin Wed 17-Jul-19 12:04:14

Sadly my closest friends are no longer here but age and the years never changed us at all as we were the same from 1960 up until their deaths, one of them 2 years ago, the other 18 months ago and a 3rd last year. To be honest when they all went I was left wondering at the time if it would be me next as we'd been so close.
I've possibly changed since, personally because I know they'll never be replaced so I'm not as sociable as I could be---------maybe I don't want to be ?

MawBroonsback Wed 17-Jul-19 13:08:59

Friends for a reason - work colleagues, neighbours
Friends for a season - other mums with babies or young children at the same time as you, or school friends perhaps
Sadly I have found this true

NainFron Wed 17-Jul-19 17:30:46

Thank you all, for your insights. It's reassuring to know that I'm not the only one to notice such changes.

lilypollen Wed 17-Jul-19 18:23:30

They do as we change as we age and I agree with most of the comments made so far. My best girl friend, colleague 47 years ago, has changed though we still have much in common - also know too much about each other to fall out!! Worked together, had children together but now retired she falls in with her DH all the time whereas I'm so lucky with my DH who has no issues with my friends, interests etc. Funnily enough 2 girls who I now count as good friends I have got to know in the past 10 years. My absolute confidant is my gay friend who was a colleague over 40 years ago, has always been there for me. Yes times change.

cornergran Wed 17-Jul-19 18:30:44

We’ve a friend I have known for over 65 years and one Mr C introduced me to 51 years ago, both are more like family than friends. We share our joys and sorrows. Others we were close to over many years we now find we have little in common with and so don’t share our life in the way we did. There is a sort of ebb and flow in friendships. As distance has grown between us and some there has been space for new ones to take. It seems natural to us.

Ellianne Wed 17-Jul-19 19:01:46

Although we have moved a lot, as well as living abroad, we still have several close friends who go back 30 or more years. We tend to pick up where we left off. We share memories and take an interest in each others' activities.
I was thinking only the other day how diverse our friends all are - creative, academic, practical - and how we manage to enjoy the company of every one of them. Maybe true lasting friendships are those where no one stands on ceremony.

Calendargirl Thu 18-Jul-19 07:26:41

How many of us see the people who were our bridesmaids and best man at our weddings for example?
Wedding guests are a prime example of people who a few years later are a distant memory.

BradfordLass72 Thu 18-Jul-19 08:22:56

I'm too much of a loner to make friend - in the sense that's meant here. I get on with lots of people and I'm closer to some than others but friendship as someone of your own ilk and whom you can rely on, come what may, is not really for me.

However, in the metaphorical sense, my door is always open and people certainly do ring me in the middle of the night wanting a shoulder to cry on or a bed for the duration.

I could never bring myself to do that but am more than happy to help if I can.

Jaffacake2 Thu 18-Jul-19 08:42:06

Quite often now I reflect on the friends I have lost over the years. Not through bereavement but because I didn't put in the effort to keep in touch. My bridesmaid was a good friend but when she married I didn't go to her wedding. I had an 18 month old, controlling husband and it was a long way to travel. All excuses really as I should have gone and lost a good mate. I tried a few years later to reach out to her but don't think she ever forgave me. Lots of subsequent friendships have gone similar ways although I still have one long-term friend who will always be my priority . It's sad to reflect back with feelings of guilt.

Anniet Thu 18-Jul-19 10:44:08

Agree with Sara65. Some friends are friends for life whatever the circumstances. Indeed some of these friendships are deeper than ever.

Gingergirl Thu 18-Jul-19 10:55:19

To answer your question, I have about the same number of friends as I did years ago but they aren’t all the same friends. I think as we change, so can our friends, although it’s lovely to have some friends that you’ve known all your life. The tricky bit is to have the courage to let those people go that you now have nothing in common with. I think I’ve just done that with someone and to be honest, all I feel is relief. It can turn into a pretence when you no longer really enjoy each other’s company, although there is sadness there too. Aging is a time of huge change and I don’t think that’s acknowledged in our society, mores the pity.

polnan Thu 18-Jul-19 10:59:05

Everything changes as we get older, we do, they do.. I know I have changed, thank goodness, I think I am a better/nicer person now.

even good friends can have irritations between them, even our loved ones... surely?

Yangste1007 Thu 18-Jul-19 11:04:03

I would love to have more friends. We have fallen out with a lot of people over the years including family, and now I feel quite lonely. Left to my own devices I would attempt to get in touch with friends from years ago, who I miss, but my husband doesn't see the point and makes me feel awkward about it. I had a large circle of friends, some close, some merely acquaintances, when I got married. My husband was not part of that circle (I met him at work) and I think he feels threatened by them.

Annaram1 Thu 18-Jul-19 11:13:44

I have been friends with my work colleague for about thirty years but we now live apart. We keep in touch by email, and last year I visited her as she had a cancer scare and her partner was away. Fortunately she is cured now.
My husband's best friend was widowed about 7 years ago and my husband said we should always keep in touch with him. My husband died about 3 years ago, and I still keep in touch with his friend, phone him frequently and we go out once a month to a pub lunch... sadly I have nothing in common with him, find him most annoying, and wonder how his lovely wife (who was my best friend) ever put up with him for over 40 years.

Larsonsmum Thu 18-Jul-19 11:19:08

Yes, friendships definitely change. I've ditched quite a few friends for a variety of reasons, especially in the last few years. I feel all the better for it - some were draining me, some were utterly selfish and demanding, some were non-stop moaners.

Apricity Thu 18-Jul-19 11:42:54

Urmstongran, I love that saying, "friends for a reason, friends for a season or friends for a lifetime". It just says it all.

Some people walk with us for parts of our life journey but very few join us for the whole or even most of our journey and they are very special. I am not religious but I do rather like the image of the pilgrim's progress through life.

jaylucy Thu 18-Jul-19 11:46:42

Of course, as you change as well, especially when you don't see some friends on a regular basis.
I wonder what she is now thinking of you! ;)

Notyetagran46 Thu 18-Jul-19 11:49:45

I’ve got two very good friends from school who I don’t see very often but I share nearly everything with them. Good friends in the village who I can count on for company and emergencies. And a few other friends not too far away.
I count myself lucky with my friends as my family is shrinking rather than growing.
In the past few months, I’ve given up two friends, one because it was all give on my part and nothing back on hers and another friend who has ostracised herself.

Bakingmad0203 Thu 18-Jul-19 12:01:42

I have two friends from secondary school that I still keep in touch with. One of them I meet up with once a year and it’s as if we have never parted,. Even though we don’t have the same hobbies we still find loads to talk about. I always feel very happy afterwards and she says the same.
I have a group of friends from my old town whom I meet once a year and again we all get on really well.
However since moving to this area 4 years ago I’m finding it difficult to make new friends. I have lots of acquaintances but no one that I feel I would like to socialise with.
Perhaps I need to give it more time.

driverann Thu 18-Jul-19 12:16:02

Yes they do, we used to be able list all our friends on the back of a postage stamp and still have room to write our life history. It’s been peaks and troughs through the past 50 years. At present we have loads of friends most of them in our local Rock Choir which we joined 5 years ago. I would recommend anyone who is lonely or wants to get out more to join their local Rock Choir. There are over 30,000 members in the UK and we all-learn the same songs each week. We have sung at Wembley Stadium the o2 and many other venues. Before that we have moved a few times and lost contact with most who we had met.

Grannybar Thu 18-Jul-19 12:57:13

I do so agree with Monica. Some bonds are so strong from childhood, even though we become different people because we have lead different lives, it is impossible to break that bond. We all have our warts and it’s helpful to recognise our own.

CarrieAnn Thu 18-Jul-19 13:30:41

Our very best friends have been in my life for over fifty years and in my husband's for 75 years!They shared a pram as their mums lived together while their husbands were in the Air Force during the war.There is a year a month and a day between their ages.The parents were best friends after the war,and this continued until they had all passed away.Sosome friendships are really for life.

luluaugust Thu 18-Jul-19 13:36:25

One friend from our pram days, she still treats me as if I am about 10 years old on occasions. None around from school or College but a few still about from being a young mum. Having moved some years ago I have met some lovely people but we don't meet at each others houses but sometimes meet for a cup of tea out.

trendygran Thu 18-Jul-19 13:59:21

When my DH was still alive we used to meet with a couple of friends for a meal at our house,or theirs, and then play Bridge. -not too seriously in my case. Those friends moved to another part of the city and ,since losing myDH ,over 10 years ago now, I have not been invited to their ‘new’ house at all. I know it takes 4 to play bridge ,but even so!
My best friend remains someone I met when I first taught in London. , before we moved to the Midlands. She and her DH live 100 miles away from me ,but their daughters and mine are also very close.We don’t get to see them often enough. but the friendship is still strong.
I do have several good friends locally, but they are more ‘flexible’.

TrendyNannie6 Thu 18-Jul-19 14:03:54

I think everything changes with age.ive found when I was working I had lots of friends as I thought but when I left due to failing health then those ppl I thought were friends were more colleagues. I have what I call true friends who have stayed in touch. But I will say I do tend to have more in common with others who have retired from work who I do see regularly n we meet up.im quite happy though still have lots of laughs along the way.

Diane227 Thu 18-Jul-19 14:28:33

One friend who ive known for over 35years is a very bossy woman, but until recently I just let it go over my head. Then one day I though why am I putting up with this and still spending time someone who doesnt make me feel good, so I stopped and feel much better for it. I feel a bit sorry for her because its a personality trait which she either doesnt recognise in herself or believes everyone should put up with.

Conni7 Thu 18-Jul-19 16:13:34

Christmas cards were a good way of keeping in touch, but postage is so expensive now. I think the saddest thing is when friends in other parts of the county just stop sending them and you don't know whether they are still alive or have given up. I always appreciate it if members of their family let me know.

Funnygran Thu 18-Jul-19 16:23:51

We moved around the country quite a lot because of DH’s job when the children were younger. I made friends through school and women’s groups, kept in touch with some when we moved on but am only in contact with one from those days. When we meet up it’s like we’ve never been apart. We do change and have made good friends in our 30 years in the North. Yet we only ever meet up as couples and I rarely see the women on their own. If I’m honest it doesn’t really bother me, I’m not unsociable but quite like my own company and keeping myself amused. DH goes out once a week to meet male friends and the wives always say it’s our time to have the tv remote to ourselves 😂

Dawn22 Thu 18-Jul-19 16:49:34

I have kept my friends for years and was quite proud of that. But shockingly l have had difficulty with 2 friends in the last few weeks.

One person was finger wagging at me and so angry and talking about exploding with me just because l changed an arrangement with her which l thought would surely work to her advantage. Ugggggg. Have been sad and upset about it but feel l have to let her go.

Another person whom l met on a particular day every week and whom l supported through her widowhood now works on that day and has been very nonchalant and uninterested in meeting up with me. People let you down but the double whammy of 2 people was hard to take. On top of family difficulties.

There is a jinx on me.

Nannyxthree Thu 18-Jul-19 17:12:42

Friends lives change as do ours so inevitably our friends change too. However, having recently bumped into some people with whom regular contact had lapsed we were rather surprised when they told us off for not keeping in touch. We politely suggested that they could have just have easily made contact with us and they both looked shocked at that!

GreenGran78 Thu 18-Jul-19 17:27:08

I was painfully shy in my younger days, and missed out on making lifelong friends. Although I have many acquaintances there is no-one that I would call a close friend. I am a bit of a loner, and like to please myself, but feel a little jealous of those who make friends easily. It would be nice to have a bosom friend or two, but I would find it difficult to put in the effort to keep it going.

My adopted daughter, who has always been very outgoing, has a large group of friends from her childhood. They do lots of group activities, and are always there for each other, in good times and bad. In some ways I envy her.

Day6 Thu 18-Jul-19 17:41:24

I have some very old friends and see them regularly, holidaying with some of them, eating out with others, and thanks to technology we keep in touch via emails and WhatsApp, so chat lots and plan lots.

Yes, friends from early marriage we used to see have drifted away, and yes, I'd hate to have regular dinner parties now! It's enough catering for friends who come to stay! I made the mistake of going to see an old school friend and her husband a year or so ago. We'd kept in touch via letters and Christmas cards over the years and the odd meet-ups when we were young marrieds and had children. Our children had grown up and I had since divorced, so much of the ground we knew had shifted over the years. She talked non stop about her life and family, didn't ask us anything, forgot OH's name and her husband didn't say a word, as usual. I'd completely forgotten how she could talk! It was almost a monologue. I am sure she used to be more fun though. We were so glad to get away.

I have not invited her to us. I didn't send a card last year either, but I'd had a cull of names in my address book anyway, since our house move. I feel quite bad about realising there is really nothing there, no reason to have her in my life any longer, or to even share news with her.

Water flows under the bridge. I have no idea why people want to reconnect (on Facebook, etc) with old school friends they haven't seen for 60 years.

Nanny41 Thu 18-Jul-19 17:57:20

I have very few"real " friends here, I have had numerous work friends but I dont see then as much, as they all work and I am retired and I really dont have a lot in common any more.Unfortunately we dont have many friends as a couple due to my second Husbands attitude towards people, he did have friends but they have gradually disappeared,he has two remaiming friends, but for how long, who knows.The Irony of it all is I still have many friends in the UK where I dont live any more, its amazing how we have kept friends for all these years ( I moved here ot this Country fifty years ago) their friendship I treasure and we will always be friends, thankfully.

MooM00 Thu 18-Jul-19 18:06:53

NainFron, Just like you, about twenty years ago I was always going to a dinner party or doing one myself. I really got fed up of seeing the same people. I divorced, moved house and got married again. I don't see any of those friends although I only live about 10 miles away. Today I am quite happy I only have a couple of friends and that's fine by me. Sometimes I found a lot of friends can be too much trouble and I can do without that.

Lessismore Thu 18-Jul-19 18:16:02

Yantse, that doesn't sound good? Can't you just do your own thing and reconnect with some friends?

Grammaretto Thu 18-Jul-19 18:23:16

I think you have to work hard at friendships. I am lazy and haven't really made the effort.
DH is far better and his loyal friendships I envy and share.
I guess family are still my closest friends although I have plenty of acquaintances - people l do things with - but only 2 old friends who l go out of my way to keep close to.
This thread has reminded me how precious friendship is.

Fabulous50s Thu 18-Jul-19 18:25:03

I have three girl friends who go back 30 years, when I get back to England and we meet up it is as if we saw each other last week. Friendships made with other couples come and go, often they wither when one remarries. A very close friend got together with someone she fawns on nauseatingly and in return he treats her like dirt. We decided last meal out when (she as usual was paying for him) he continually snapped at her and put her down we would quietly be unavailable from now on. Sadly even when I see her on a one to one basis the fun, up for anything friend has changed and every conversation contains reference to this horrid man.

chrissyh Thu 18-Jul-19 18:39:11

DH & I have just come back from a lovely 4 days with friends we met on holiday over 40 years ago (they live in the West country and we live in the South East). We met before either couple had children. Once we had children, as they lived a long way away, we used to stay with one another once or twice a year. Since we were child-free we have always spent New Year together (health permitting) and, as they now have a caravan in Dorset, we usually stay there when it's our turn to go to them in the summer. Long may it continue, with visits as long as health allows.

susieq3 Thu 18-Jul-19 19:25:40

What a lovely post Nainfron.
Made me sad at times, but happy to have had certain people in my life.

OldAgeSucks Thu 18-Jul-19 23:24:09

I agree with Larsonsmum, there is no telling when or why friendships end ....I had a very close friend for 40 yrs who just turned weird and brought it to an end. I also have another friend of 40 yrs who is draining my energy to the point I no longer want the friendship....her only thoughts are about her and hers so question where friendship comes in !

Cabbie21 Fri 19-Jul-19 08:42:02

I am still in touch with a friend from junior and senior school, so she has known me longer than anyone else. We only meet once a year, even though I have moved to just ten miles from her. I think it may be because my DH is not interested, has never met her, so I never invite her here.

I keep in touch with a lot of people from previous circumstances, a card or email at Christmas usually now.
Locally I have a lot of acquaintances from church and choirs, but only one I would now call a friend.

I often wonder who I would turn to in an emergency. DH does not have friends at all, though he knows a lot of people.

lilypollen Fri 19-Jul-19 18:11:34

NainFron thanks for starting this thread I'm guessing it has proved reassuring to a lot of us.

Lilyflower Mon 22-Jul-19 08:48:34

This weekend we had friends to stay for one night that we met over 40 years ago when I worked with one of the happily married couple. Then on Saturday we had a text saying that another couple who, 35 years ago, used to be our neighbours, were in the area and would like to drop in for tea.

We had a lovely time with both sets of friends catching up with gossip and news.

Of course the nature of our friendships with these couples has mellowed and changed as have our respective circumstances, but essentially we are picking up from where we left off last time we saw them.

Sometimes a once or twice a year brief meet up is all you need to keep a friendship going. Trying to maintain a closer connection can put a strain on the relationship.