Friends…who needs them? We’ve all had moments when the answer feels obvious. But in midlife, we come to understand that it’s those friends who have stood by our side through the highs and lows that make life so much richer. We’ll call them enduring friendships.
These close, meaningful connections can help us weather tumultuous years with a sense of strength, purpose and joy. If you’ve been struggling to cultivate strong relationships, this article will reveal the top five secrets to finding and maintaining beloved friends in midlife.
By putting these practices into action with an open heart, you can create healthy, rewarding connections that will last for years to come.
What is an Enduring Friendship?
An enduring friendship is a strong bond between two people who have been through everything life has thrown at them together.
It means staying connected even when you don’t see each other for extended periods of time, and being able to pick up the conversation where it left off – like you never missed a beat! It’s about having complete trust and openness in your relationship, so there’s no need for secrets or pretense.
Having best friends means always having someone you can turn to when life gets rocky who will understand and offer unconditional support. Building an enduring friendship with someone special is one of the most rewarding gifts we can give ourselves!
Why Do We Need Strong, Enduring Friendships?
As women in midlife, we face periods of exciting transitions and opportunities as well as struggles and challenges. Having supportive, long-term friendships can be invaluable as we find our way forward.
These friends also bring us valuable perspectives and give us new insights since they come from different backgrounds or unique life circumstances. Our good friends understand us deeply and offer us encouragement when things are tough.
By sharing experiences, concerns, and advice with friends who understand us and have similar life experiences we can gain guidance to help us make the important decisions that come at this stage of life. On an emotional level, strong friendships can provide the solace and camaraderie to get us through difficult times with a sense of kindness and honesty. On a physical level, these friendships can keep us healthier.
Ultimately, having reliable friends who stand by us throughout this midlife journey allows us to fully show up and embrace all that comes our way.
What We’re Missing If We Don’t Have These Long-Term Relationships
Having strong friendships as women in midlife is essential for staying close-knit with those around us.
Without friends to turn to during this often trying period of life, feelings of isolation and insecurity can take their toll on our mental health, making it more difficult to make sense of our emotions and move through life’s various challenges.
Seemingly small events like having someone to confide in or laugh with can help foster emotional stability and a greater sense of self-worth. Life is always better when shared with a friend – do whatever it takes to make sure you have these rewarding relationships in your own life.
Identifying Your Enduring Friendships
Why not take a few moments to think about your long-term, enduring friendships? Write them down in a list if it helps.
These might be people you’ve known for years, or people you met recently but quickly clicked with. Perhaps there is someone who keeps surprising you with support and friendship when you need it the most.
You might identify one best friend, or like me, have two friends that have been with you through thick and thin, over the long haul of life.
Take time to really reflect on why these are meaningful relationships – what qualities do they have that make them so special? Having meaningful friendships can bring us tremendous joy, help us become our best selves, and provide us with an understanding ear during difficult times.
Just taking the time to consider your most meaningful relationships can be therapeutic in itself.
5 Keys to Cultivating & Maintaining Enduring Friendships
At this stage in our life we may have a lot on our plate. We might still be working in some capacity, involved in our children’s lives, watching the grand kids, maybe taking care of aging parents, and somewhere in there dealing with our own issues. It’s easy to let our friendships fall by the wayside. But it’s important to maintain these relationships.
Here are five characteristics of enduring friendships:
1. They Take Some Hard Work
Enduring friends don’t just happen; they take effort to maintain. You have to be intentional about staying in touch, making those phone calls, and making time for your friends, even when life gets busy.
Schedule regular girls’ nights out or coffee dates, and keep up with each other’s lives via text or social media. A little effort goes a long way!
2. They Require Patience
Just like any relationship, friendships go through ups and downs. There will be times when you don’t see eye to eye with your friend, but that’s okay.
If you truly value the friendship, you’ll be patient and work through the differences.
3. They Must Be Forgiven
Just like with family members, you will probably butt heads with your friends from time to time. It’s inevitable! We all have different opinions and beliefs, and sometimes that can lead to words exchanged that we regret.
But if you want the friendship to last, you have to be willing to forgive each other when things go wrong. Don’t hold grudges—it’s not worth it in the long run. Life is too short to waste time being mad at your friends.
4. They Are Worth It
Enduring friendships are definitely worth the effort required to maintain them. These are the friends who will be there for you through thick and thin, no matter what.
They are worth fighting for, so don’t give up on them easily.
5. They Last a Lifetime
True friends are hard to come by, so cherish the ones you have. If you nurture your friendships and put in the work required to maintain them, they will last a lifetime. These are the friends who will grow old with you and who will always be a part of your life.
Enduring friendships are an important part of our lives as women in midlife. These relationships provide us with support, love, and laughter—all things that we need during this busy time in our lives. So make an effort to stay in touch with your friends, even when life gets hectic. Your friendships are worth it!
My Long Lasting Friendships
First, I am very fortunate to have a close-knit family. We get along. We love and support each other. We may not agree with one another on everything, but a mutual respect keeps the bonds strong.
I have two besties – long enduring friendships. One relationship has spanned more than forty years, and the other is more recent, having met and bonded within the last ten years.
I know with certainty that I can say anything that is on my heart or floating through my little mind, to either one of these lovely ladies, and they will accept me for who I am and how I feel. And I will do the same for them.
By nature I’m not a social person, and spending time alone is fine with me. But we all need someone to talk to. When my husband was alive he and I were very close and had a wonderful relationship.
But, there was, and still is, a need to talk to a girlfriend. It’s a unique bond that supplements a healthy marriage relationship, and helps us to continue to grow and thrive as individuals.
So, how about you. Did you take the time as suggested above to think about, maybe note down, your long-term friendships?
Perhaps you feel like that is an area of your life that needs some attention. Kudos to you for acknowledging that! Take some time to consider what having a close, enduring friendship means, because it will require time and effort on your part as well as from your friend.
Remember, an enduring friendship means always being there for each other. It means communicating openly and honestly, even when discussing difficult topics. It means being honest with yourself and your friend, setting boundaries as needed, and comforting one another no matter what.
It’s about showing up for each other in good times and bad, celebrating successes together joyfully and walking through hardships with respect and kindness. A strong bond between friends is a beautiful thing – and it takes effort from both of you to ensure that the friendship lasts through time.
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2 thoughts on “5 Keys to Cultivating Enduring Friendships”
Hi Candi. I’m not a very social person either, and have recently discovered that that isn’t what’s important. The friends that I have now are mostly virtual, due to the perpetual travel lifestyle. We encourage each other and discuss things that we have in common. I never had many friends, until now, and I realize that it was because I wasn’t whole yet. I feel like in mid-life I’ve really come into my own. I know that to be a friend you have to show an interest in other people, and that’s what I try to do. Excellent post, Candi. Sharing to FB. xx
Hi Christina, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I can see where your lifestyle will lend itself to virtual friendships, and they can be just as long-lasting and impactful. xx