Your girlie mates are worth their weight in gold, so make time for them

Have you lost touch with friends who once meant the world to you? If you still feel a sense of genuine loss, it might be time to re-connect. Researchers surveyed over 50s females and revealed the top life lessons they would pass down to Gen Z and millennial women, and 45% advised them to stay in touch with old friends, no matter how busy life gets.

What is it about friendship – real deep friendship – that makes us feel so good? Says counselling psychologist Dr Bonnie Wimms: “We feel our friendships so deeply. They are such an important part of our lives. Women that may be happily married and have families or lead full lives in other ways, describe friendship as something that fills their emotional gap. The gap in their emotional support is filled by their friends. Because we can talk about really personal things in such depth with our close friends, taking a topic and debating it until we turn it to dust, the ins and outs and the emotional ups and downs of it, in a way that men often don’t”.

The gap in their emotional support is filled by their friends.

And it’s that repeated process that makes us feel good. “A lot of hormones are secreted when you have these wonderful intimate conversations. And by nature, women feel more and more connected by these intense moments. That effect is increased as the conversation deepens, making our blood pressure go down, our stress levels decrease and we feel calmer. We think ‘You make me feel good, I want to have another conversation with you’, and then we go deeper and deeper, forging incredibly strong and powerful bonds”.

The positive side of friendship is that we lift each other up. “In a really good friendship of trust, we totally lift each other, but then the painful side of that is, when you think someone’s going to lift you when you go through a crisis and it turns out that they’re just not there for you. This can leave you aghast, even feeling betrayed, because you thought you shared values and really ‘got’ each other. But then of course everyone is going through their own shit…”.

And what if a friendship has come to an end – how do you have that difficult conversation? Says Michelle Elman – life coach, boundaries expert and author of The Joy Of Being Selfish:
“Communicating the end of a relationship is never an easy conversation but the phenomenon of ghosting is one that can so easily be avoided. If you’ve ever had respect for them, then end things with respect as well. You can be kind when ending a friendship, you never have to hurt someone’s feelings. You don’t need to be mean to get your point across, most people will appreciate you letting them know if you do it calmly and maturely. Even if they have behaved badly, always end things according to your own morals and values”

In case you’re interested, the survey of 1,500 women aged 50 and over commissioned by women’s health company Organon also revealed that 53 is revealed to be the happiest age in life. Here is the full list of life lessons over-50s women would pass down to Gen Z and millennial women:

1. Stop trying to be “perfect” – it doesn’t exist 57%
2. Make time for yourself 54%
3. Look after your teeth 47%
4. Stay in touch with old friends, even when life gets busy 45%
5. Appreciate the small things in life 43%
6. Love yourself 43%
7. Always trust your gut instinct 42%
8. Make sure you’re financially independent 36%
9. Don’t stay in a job you hate 35%
10. Travel as often as you can 35%
11. Enjoy your kids while they’re still at home, you’ll miss them when they’re gone 34%
12. Know your worth 33%
13. Marry for love and nothing else 32%
14. A relationship takes work 32%
15. Read as much as you can 31%
16. Nothing is as bad as it seems in the moment 30%
17. Always use your right to vote 29%
18. Always wear a high factor sun cream 29%
19. The menopause is tough, but you’ll get through it 29%
20. Don’t sweat the small stuff 27%
21. Don’t be a slave to the scales 24%
22. Pain heals with time 24%
23. Retirement is one of the best stages in life 20%
24. Life really does begin at fifty 14%
25. Everyone is winging it 13%
26. Take risks 9%
27. Second marriages are usually better 8%
28. Sex gets better when you’re over fifty 7%
29. Be your own boss 7%
30. Don’t deny yourself carbs 5%

Words: Marina Gask

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