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Do friendships change with age?

(53 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?

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.

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.

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.

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 !

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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 😂

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.

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.

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 quite happy though still have lots of laughs along the way.

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’.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.