HealthBoards

HealthBoards (https://www.healthboards.com/boards/)
-   Relationship Health (https://www.healthboards.com/boards/relationship-health/)
-   -   Friendships with people older than me (https://www.healthboards.com/boards/relationship-health/1047909-friendships-people-older-than-me.html)

Chainsoflove 10-10-2019 06:23 AM

Friendships with people older than me
 
Hi,

I have a few friends that are over 20 yrs older than me. I can't seem to make friends who are around my age. I like these women, but sometimes I don't think they take me seriously. I guess it is what in the heart that matters. No, I am not looking for a mother figure. It would be an insult to my friends to call them mom, lol. My question is do you think age difference matters in a friendship/relationship?

TreeFrog 10-10-2019 09:05 AM

Re: Friendships with people older than me
 
Hi Chainsoflove,

I don't think age by itself is significant regarding friendship, unless one is always seeking significant age difference. If so, then it might signify some internal self-rejection or insecurity, but I would not say that would always be the case. What was your childhood and family life like?

I have older, younger and about same age friends. Our friendships are always based on similar interests, not related to age or other superficial characteristics. If you only seek friendship with those who are significantly different than you in age, it does seem like it may be from some sort of internal imbalance on your part. I don't know you and would not venture what that imbalance might be from or about. If you feel the older women are not taking you seriously it could be that you don't share similar life experience. Have you been married, divorced, lost a spouse, raised children, etc?

I do think that you are asking those questions is an indication that it is you is not settled within your own self as to why you gravitate to much older folks rather than people closer to your own age. I think age difference does matter, but that friendship should be mainly based on shared beliefs, interests, trustworthiness and lifestyle rather than mainly superficial issues like age.

Which of your own family members do you relate to the most and why? Are you more insecure or more mature for your age? Have you been ignored, rejected or hurt by people closer to your own age?

Chainsoflove 10-10-2019 10:45 AM

Re: Friendships with people older than me
 
[QUOTE=TreeFrog;5497656]Hi Chainsoflove,

I don't think age by itself is significant regarding friendship, unless one is always seeking significant age difference. If so, then it might signify some internal self-rejection or insecurity, but I would not say that would always be the case. What was your childhood and family life like?

I have older, younger and about same age friends. Our friendships are always based on similar interests, not related to age or other superficial characteristics. If you only seek friendship with those who are significantly different than you in age, it does seem like it may be from some sort of internal imbalance on your part. I don't know you and would not venture what that imbalance might be from or about. If you feel the older women are not taking you seriously it could be that you don't share similar life experience. Have you been married, divorced, lost a spouse, raised children, etc?

I do think that you are asking those questions is an indication that it is you is not settled within your own self as to why you gravitate to much older folks rather than people closer to your own age. I think age difference does matter, but that friendship should be mainly based on shared beliefs, interests, trustworthiness and lifestyle rather than mainly superficial issues like age.

Which of your own family members do you relate to the most and why? Are you more insecure or more mature for your age? Have you been ignored, rejected or hurt by people closer to your own age?[/QUOTE]


Hi TreeFrog,

I believe at times, that I have very little in common with the friends I make. The older people seem to be attracted to me. It is like they seek me out for comfort. I am a good listener, and they have had life issues that I talk to them about. I do value their opinions and am very respectful towards the ones who show me that they can be trusted.

Yes, I was married (for a very short time) to a man 12 yrs older than me. His age didn't bother me, but we just grew apart over time. I guess I just fell out of love with him. He wasn't the type to just leave, and it was a difficult time for him to lose me.

I was alone most of the time in my teen years. I made one friend that was a bit younger than me. We got along famously, and it was an almost perfect friendship. High school was a lonely time without her and I have fond memories from our adventures together.

I think I am mature, yes, but that doesn't mean I should only attract older people into my life ;) To be honest, I was very close to my mom who passed away. I had a very hard time dealing with it too. Right now, at my age, I do cherish the friends that I have made. I usually stay to myself though, and let the friendship start with the other person. Thank you for your insight on this question.

I am a very strong person, and maybe just a bit on the shy side. I am not perfect by any means though. I have made mistakes with ending friendships that would be good for me in the long run. I don't think I have any problems maintaining these friendships and I am very proud of myself to come out of my "shell", so to speak. At the end of the day, I have been a postive influence in my friends lives.

TreeFrog 10-10-2019 07:40 PM

Re: Friendships with people older than me
 
Hi Chainsoflove,

Did you remember going through any abandonment or rejection when you were young that may have contributed to your isolation from peers closer to your own age?

I used to always be more comfortable around the older & more mature ladies maybe because they seemed to accept me. Of course my experiences were not just the same as yours, but it seems similar, with no specific peer friends until Jr High when a female peer from a very dysfunctional family and I became friends. Or I had thought we were. Years later she abandoned me, but she also had turned her back on her entire family of origin so that was her general mode of operation. I was generally always rather self-contained and didn't reach out to people my age.

In my mid 30's I realized I had profound fatigue that felt like a huge effort just to be alive, and about that time I happened across a psychologist that had written a book about deep unresolved issues, basically stating that simply facing what they are can set us free. I paid a lot of money to see this doctor who taught me to deeply relax and face what bothered me. All he did was was to teach me to allow my self to relax and then he would listen and validate how I felt about whatever I shared. I came through therapy feeling like I am normal person with all too common human experiences and normal emotions about those experiences.

I cannot explain how liberating that was. I began to stop stuffing my emotions; I started to feel OK about myself, and I became free to be me. All that really changed was that I began acting like the real person that I was, with real emotions and real thoughts. Do you think you might hang with the older folks because they tend to be more accepting, letting you be yourself?

Chainsoflove 10-10-2019 08:10 PM

Re: Friendships with people older than me
 
[QUOTE=TreeFrog;5497671]Hi Chainsoflove,

Did you remember going through any abandonment or rejection when you were young that may have contributed to your isolation from peers closer to your own age?

I used to always be more comfortable around the older & more mature ladies maybe because they seemed to accept me. Of course my experiences were not just the same as yours, but it seems similar, with no specific peer friends until Jr High when a female peer from a very dysfunctional family and I became friends. Or I had thought we were. Years later she abandoned me, but she also had turned her back on her entire family of origin so that was her general mode of operation. I was generally always rather self-contained and didn't reach out to people my age.

In my mid 30's I realized I had profound fatigue that felt like a huge effort just to be alive, and about that time I happened across a psychologist that had written a book about deep unresolved issues, basically stating that simply facing what they are can set us free. I paid a lot of money to see this doctor who taught me to deeply relax and face what bothered me. All he did was was to teach me to allow my self to relax and then he would listen and validate how I felt about whatever I shared. I came through therapy feeling like I am normal person with all too common human experiences and normal emotions about those experiences.

I cannot explain how liberating that was. I began to stop stuffing my emotions; I started to feel OK about myself, and I became free to be me. All that really changed was that I began acting like the real person that I was, with real emotions and real thoughts. Do you think you might hang with the older folks because they tend to be more accepting, letting you be yourself?[/QUOTE]


As far as abandonment I can say that would be true. I grew up with a dysfunctional family. Both parents were alcoholics, and they divorced before I turned 5 yrs old. I was neglected to the point that I was in foster homes and basically grew up on my own. I think the older I became, the more I attracted older people into my life.

I am 40 now and I have put my neglectful childhood and teen years behind me. I am sort of upset because my therapist dropped me out of the sessions of talking. She said there is nothing wrong with me. That might be true, but she didn't take into consideration my past, and why I can't connect with people closer to my age.

I have to say that the older people have put me under their wing so to speak, when I was having a rough time with my emotions. People around my age just don't take the time to get to know me, so I don't even bother to try to start a friendship with them.

I hope your psychologist helped you over come your past and look forward to the future. My therapist even said ,"no meds for you". One of my friends who will be almost 70yrs old said she felt happiness and peace when she was around me. That made me feel good to hear that.

TreeFrog 10-11-2019 02:49 AM

Re: Friendships with people older than me
 
You seem to understand yourself quite well. I can safely say that my own anxiety was more about the future and aging issues, rather than about relating to others. But basically I am content with the here and now. Tomorrow has enough trouble of it's own.

I think therapy seems most helpful when we are in denial or don't understand where we are coming from. Once I understood where I was coming from that is when my therapy ended, too. It seems to me that we each need to come to grips with our own truth, or else we go on in denial. Your experiences shaped who you are. I can see why young people who have not suffered similar neglect and abuse may not relate to you very much. It is nothing against you. They just don't have the deep understanding that you have. To me, it's really it is a blessing if they don't relate to us; isn't it better if they didn't suffer so much neglect and abuse?

I think it is also a true blessing how the older folks relate to you. I find that also in my own life. It's not a flaw with you or with the others that don't relate. I am sure that you are glad that not everyone suffered the neglect you suffered.

If you get involved with a recovery group you might meet some of the younger 'old' souls closer to your age. There are all kinds of recovery groups going on these days. I have a few friends that know deep suffering and we never talk about the past, we just relate deeper in the here and now, and I accept that I will always have a different level of communication with younger, less experienced people. I would not want them to even be capable of understanding me, because that would mean they suffered.

One thing my therapist told me really rang true to me, and that is most people do not recover because they refuse to face the facts of their lives. You did, and you are OK, just like you are. You are completely normal for all you went through, and it is not a fault that your experience is not what inexperienced young people relate to. To me it makes perfect sense why you relate better with older more experienced folks. It doesn't mean anything is wrong with you or wrong with the young people that don't relate to your level of maturity and life experience.

The best thing that I got from my therapy is understanding that it is perfectly fine for me to be who I am. You relate more easily to older folks because the fact is that you understand things on a different level; that is all that is happening. By the way there is no medication that can make us get over our past or accept it better. Facing our life in truth or living in denial is a choice we each have to make.

Chainsoflove 10-11-2019 07:13 AM

Re: Friendships with people older than me
 
Hi TreeFrog,

Yes, I have older friends, but it is nice not to be alone;) I don't drink alcohol or smoke, so I hope that gives my life some longevity. The thing that worries me about having significantly older friends, is that they will eventually pass away. My feelings in my heart couldn't handle that. By the time I am their age they will have probably passed away. I was close with grandma, but she passed away when I was about 10 yrs old. I think you have a good heart and can understand the the age gaps in my relationships with the older folks :cool: I live in a small town, so it might make it difficult to find a group to join, in order to express my feelings. I am ready to make new and younger friends now.

TreeFrog 10-11-2019 09:43 AM

Re: Friendships with people older than me
 
I just want to stress that I think you are quite normal.

Having older friends doesn't mean they will always pass before you do. You might be the one that leaves them, you know? Healthiness doesn't ensure we will live longer. It just increases the chances that we will. Life is nebulous at best. My oldest sibling died in a freak accident in his early years, leaving a young wife and three small children. No one could have guessed that would happen. Stuff [U]always[/U] can happen. Stuff always [U]will[/U] happen. The main thing is to realize we cannot fix the past or prevent our fears from happening. There are no magic choices to make to assure we don't have to suffer loss or pain again.

Family dysfunction can get us to dwelling on matters that no one in this world can master or control. If you can figure that out you will be the first. Life changes every day in various ways that are not within human control. We are all growing and developing or dying. When someone dies we grieve and still keep on living until our own time comes.

To me the best way to have good relationships is to be there for other people. If they need left alone I leave them alone, if they need to chat I chat; likewise my best friends are sensitive to when I want time to mysef. Just be real and in the moment and allow space for others to be as well.

I like to love people with open arms so they can move toward me or move on. Just enjoy the time you get with the people that do want to share time with you. There really is nothing to analyze. There are many lonely people. Be friendly and open and see who responds. Just know that everyone that responds will not be a real friend. People usually respond to others out of their own needs. Not everyone has the capacity to be a friend.

I don't think there is anything wrong or strange about being friends with people older than you. Maybe the lack of socialization that occurred as a child is why you seem to be so focused on relationships now. It always takes both people to agree to come together. If the other we pursue doesn't respond, that is their free choice and there are as many reasons for that in this world as there are people.

From my experience age doesn't at all mean others will die before we do. Aging of course means we get closer to that day. However, my oldest brother died in his early years leaving very young children. My oldest sister remains alive and my other younger sister passed away. I have been in a serious accident and no one knows how I survived. Any of us can leave this sod at any time, including you. Your older friends could lose you way before you lose them. We don't get to choose.

Many people do have fear of loss. My husband is the same age as me yet when he walks the dogs at night I always fear he will be injured or die. The fear is fear of loss, not based on anything else. I know this because I don't feel fearful when he is gone during the day.

Chainsoflove, can you take classes that interest you or take up with a hobby related to a group of various aged people, or take an educational class or two? How about volunteering for a charity of some sort? I have been involved with various age groups of people that provide Christmas boxes to needy families. You get to meet all ages of people.

I think we can be open and friendly, but that the other people have to be in a place within themselves that they are reciprocal. If we are open we attract people that are open. If we are dwelling on our own selves that can appear rather like a shut door to others. I think we need to examine what we appear like to others as well and see if we are appearing closed off or shut down to certain other people. We all choose who we want to relate to. There is nothing wrong with it. If you want younger friends, be a friend with younger folks. But that is not at all a guarantee of longevity.

All I know is I choose to be friendly and smiling with most people and some people have time and they are responsive and others are busy or shut down. When we want to relate to people there are always some that feel they have too much already in their lives and others that are willing to give us some time. People with young children are already quite preoccupied. I think we human beings are are all pretty much the same. How I choose to handle this is to make my main communication first with God then I can handle whatever I do or don't get from other people.

Ok I rambled on and on...
I grew up quite isolated for a child in a large family, but I was born years after my much older siblings and I was shy and I kept to myself. You see, here I am relating to the isolation you experienced. In many ways our lives are different but the result was very similar so I relate to the issues you describe.

All that just to say I think you are doing well and that you will continue to be OK.
No need to second guess yourself. Age difference matters sometimes, and can matter for different reasons, but not always. Each relationship is different. The question to ask yourself is what matters to you and to the people you relate to. :)

Chainsoflove 10-11-2019 01:17 PM

Re: Friendships with people older than me
 
Hi TreeFrog,


I appreciate your feedback. I know I am not going to take for granted any of my friendships. It sometimes feels like the twilight zone in a way ;). Thank you for the time you have taken out of your busy day to discuss the value of having friends.

TreeFrog 10-11-2019 04:50 PM

Re: Friendships with people older than me
 
You're very welcome.

To me that disconnected feeling is just part of growing up without close family trust when we were children and needed protection. I don't know of any way to erase that feeling completely from our lives.

To me it helps me to understand this about myself. We can take good care of ourselves now, though. It seems that you are doing a very good job of that.

Chainsoflove 10-12-2019 07:28 AM

Re: Friendships with people older than me
 
Hi Treefrog,


Yes it frees me to let go of the painful childhood I had. I have suffered from depression because of the way I was treated. Now, I feel better, because I can't carry around bitterness and anxiety about it. My significantly older friends are very happy to listen to me talk about the past. I certainly keep them on their toes;) You also have been a wonderful help to me :)

TreeFrog 10-12-2019 10:15 AM

Re: Friendships with people older than me
 
Hi Chainsoflove

Good for you! You go, girl!
I am sure your company is deeply appreciated by your friends. I'm happy that my own sufferings enable me to be there for you in some small way.

Before I had sessions with the psychologist (he got my attention by a significant and short book he wrote & published, The Way Back) I, too, carried a huge burden from the weight of my childhood. I was born into a large caring family but after my father passed away my mother sank completely into the effects of her seriously abusive and neglected childhood. My father had been my shelter and he was suddenly gone and I was only five years old. In my 30's, my time with the psychologist helped me understand myself and make sense of matters that had been overwhelming and too confusing to a child. I too have many much older friends. Looking back I can understand why I to this day have certain limitations about what I want in my life, and I am fine with those choices.

Thanks for sharing your story here. I know reading this website has been very helpful to me and many others.

Chainsoflove 10-15-2019 06:47 AM

Re: Friendships with people older than me
 
Hi TreeFrog,

I had to work these last couple of days. That is why I didn't get back to you the last couple of days. I think having issues as a child, then growing to be an adult can make someone go into depression. That is if you don't let it. Thank you for your story, and I hope you have peace and happiness in your life.


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:09 PM.