As a mother of four daughters who’s ages span 10 years, I’ve become less and less surprised at the joy and value that they add to my life.  Not just as a mother—but as friends.

Friendships among women are so natural and form easily from the time our eyes meet and we smile at each other. As a woman in my 50’s, I’m intent on making and maintaining friendships across each generation.

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Photo Courtesy of Google

Do you need some encouragement to be intentional about this?  Here are a few of the things I’ve discovered about these friendships that challenge and delight me. Each generational friend educates me, broadens my perspective, and many times surprises me.

As friends, we informally educate each other on all sorts of things. Cultural trends, technology, cooking, travel, fashion, and skin care, just to name a few. We share differing opinions, tastes, and personalities, and all the while our appreciation for “different” allows us to reap rich relational rewards.

Most of my friends are not the same as me, in fact sometimes they are quite opposite. But each one adds a beautiful thread to the tapestry of my life. Each relationship is a connection I hold deep in my heart.

My older friends continue to add a thread of amazing dimension to my life. These dear women in their 60s, 70s and even 80s are like rivers that run deep, and they possess a peace that I want to ease up to and emulate. As with any friendship, connection often starts by asking questions. And not questions about the good old days.

I love to ask a mature friend what they think of the latest trend in fashion, nutrition, or marriage advice. A lively discussion always ensues as they reach deep into the experience of their years and apply it to the most modern thought. Fascinating!

And my younger friends never cease to surprise me. They don’t want to be, and shouldn’t be, stereotyped any more than we would want to be. So often, an unlikely camaraderie will sneak up on me as I am attentive and discover that, though we are different in many ways, we are also the same in just as many.

Among my newer relationships are a few with co-workers who I have daily contact with. One is in her early 30s and the other is in her early- to mid- twenties.  They are each quite insightful, thought provoking, and just plain fun. It would have been easy to overlook them as an add to my friend list, but I’m so glad I did not miss out on the deep joy they’ve brought me.

They have surprised me with their openness to cultivate a friendship with a middle ager like me. We talk about food, friends, family, and men. They seem to appreciate being heard, valued and asked their opinion. Imagine that.

Our basic needs in friendship have no age-defined boundaries.

Here are a few time-tested relationship basics in friendships that span age groups.

DON’T

  • interrupt
  • roll your eyes
  • cross your arms
  • put your hands on your hips
  • give unsolicited advice

 DO

  • listen
  • laugh
  • lean in
  • lavish attention
  • love and do it well

I hope you are thinking and looking at the landscape of your friendships with a new perspective

As I approach the years of becoming the “older” friend, I pray I will never lose the desire to connect deeply with women of all ages. I want to always have room to change and grow and enjoy my friends, no matter what their age. Friendship is all about a heart connection after all. Someone once said:

“Money might make you wealthy, but friends make you rich.”

I live in vast abundance!

Betsy Langmade is an event coordinator on the Adult Ministry Live Events team at LifeWay. She is the mother of four and grandmother of two, and she and her husband Dave have been married for over 35 years! You can follow Betsy on Twitter @BetsyLangmade.

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