Friendship is a huge topic. I plan to discuss it regularly in this blog because of the importance friends play in enriching our lives. Today, let’s kick off and discuss “Friend Groups”, a term used to define the mates we most enjoy, who sustain our mental health and help maintain our happiness.
Friend Groups can include one friend or a few. They can be comprised of lifelong buddies or a friend you’ve recently “clicked with”. They can augment a relationship with your partner, or fill a void if you're single. They don't have to live near you. Ages in Friend Groups are irrelevant. The key is you enjoy each other’s company, share similar values, and feel open and safe together.
50+ seems to be an ideal opportunity for Friend Group introspection. Some feel the need to increase their circle, whilst others use this as a chance to reduce theirs. Whatever your preferred size, we all benefit from being part of a supportive Friend Group.
Next Week’s blog further examines the importance of Friend Groups. It will explain why some women aged 50+ find they have a dearth of friends and provide helpful suggestions on where to can find more.
Today, let’s ease into the friendship discussion with a light-hearted list of why we bother with Friend Groups.
Top Reasons We Bother With Friend Groups:
1. Break from Partner. No matter how much you love them, space is sometimes required from Partner. This has only been magnified during Lockdown.
2. Constant Conversation: Friend Group conversation is ever flowing, thought provoking, and filled with laughter. Discussions morph between deep pontifications and honest advice to simple gossip, brags, and venting - whatever is needed on the day. Questions posed and topics covered are endless and can’t possibly be covered in one sitting. Anything can be discussed. Everything is. All is safe.
3. Ego Boost: Everybody needs to be told we’re looking great, sounding clever, or are completely wonderful - no matter what the truth is that day. An FG will tell you the magic words to boost our confidence and make us feel great.
4. Self-improvement: FGs help us see when we need improvement. Partner wouldn’t dare comment about weight gain, moodiness or facial hair. FGs can and will. Their diplomacy and bluntness are invaluable. They help us improve ourselves.
5. Cheering Up: When life is tough, FGs know what, and when, to say those words of comfort. They help us through sad and lonely times. They know, understand, and care enough to share those special thoughts that always cheer us up.
6. Stress-Buster: Everyone faces stressful events. Knowing we have an FG to rely on can help reduce stress levels and avoid unhealthy habits, such as substance dependence. Who knew friendships could actually extend our lives?!
7. Commiseration: Friend Groups commiserate with us on a broad range of worries. This 'commiseration scale' ranges from analysing an event we simply need to dissect on one end, to discussing all those inevitable body changes we experience on the other. We can laugh and cry together wondering why some body parts move south (jaw lines, chest bumps), others spread east and west (bottoms and thighs), whilst some point due north (the hair on our head). Commiseration helps us accept the actions that we can control...and those we can't.
8. Support and Forgiveness: FG support is unfailing. They excuse us for our unfortunate judgment lapses, like the poor choice of partner we all dated or the ill-timed drunken monologue at the Godson's wedding. They see beyond our human failings and loves us for our warts and all. FG’s mantra is support and forgiveness.
9. Visibility: Sometimes the sports match is too all encompassing for our liking. Friend Groups will not be listening with one (or both) eyes watching the scores. They provide undivided attention when needed. They help us feel “Seen”, without having to ask.
10. Accountability Partner: FGs help us find the right path and stay on it. They encourage us to explore personal development and then make sure we stay focused. Are we sticking to our promises to ourselves? Your Friend Group will make sure…even when we don’t want them to.
11. Remaining "Current": Friend Groups provide vital tips on staying current. Their lists of “Best of” and “Must-Do” are personally tailored goldmines. Topics vary according to your FG's values. Mine often include top recipes, wardrobe essentials, entertainment musts, health, sanity and social media tips. Staying current would be a full time job without our FG's input.
12. Present: Although they can live in separate cities, FGs always find ways to be present in our lives. Proactivity - through regular use of social media, video calls, notes and even plane tickets - enables us to share our actions and needs. We need to because we need them.
Dear Reader- I hope this light-hearted list has you got you thinking about your Friend Groups.
Can you add to this List? Can we together get to 20 Reasons we need our Friendship Groups? Please let me know and send me a comment or an email. I'd love to hear from you.
Let's continue this discussion next week with a more in depth look at FGs.
P.S. Additions sent in by Readers.
TOGETHER, WE EXPANDED THE LIST TO 20 REASONS. FANTASTIC PARTICPATION, READERS!!! Whoop, Whoop to us!!
13. A Good Laugh
15. No Stress Nor upset
16. Attend Social Events w/o Partner
17. Reach out to Other Women too
18. Safe Zone
19. Endless Questions Allowed
20. To Be Remembered