• Making Friends

In the Media: Challenges of making midlife friendships (Today.com)

Published: May 25, 2016 | Last Updated: May 25, 2016 By | 12 Replies Continue Reading
Today Show

Today Show

Screenshot (Today Show)

Screenshot (Today Show)

May 24, 2016

On the Today Show, Joan Lunden reported on an experiment that suggests that close midlife friendships may help minimize anxiety and stress.

The segment started with the premise that midlife friendships are hard to come by. (I’m not sure that I necessarily agree. It seems to me that the difficulty of making friends varies according to the individual, his/her personality, and his/her situation—and isn’t necessarily a function of age, per se.)

Writer Gabrielle Frank asked Facebook followers of the Today Show to weigh in on some of the challenges they encountered in making friends at midlife.

She writes:

When you’re younger, there are many more opportunities to meet people who are also looking for friendships. Once people start getting married and having kids, they’re so wrapped up with their own families that they may not want to put effort into outside friendships.

Also, in this age of social media, it’s easy for people to think that an online relationship is enough, but they end up missing out on TRUE friendship connections,” wrote Maria Jones, 41.

Then she asked The Friendship Doctor for some ways to replenish friendships that have fizzled out. You can read the Today.com in its entirety here.

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Comments (12)

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  1. Louise says:

    I like what Dee said, that the only thing you are guilty of is showing more interest in your friends than they do you-so true! And that no on noticed you missing on Facebook seems so typical. There is a quote from Home Alone 2 which really struck a chord in me- Kevin says to the Bird Lady: “Maybe they’re just too busy. Maybe they don’t forget about you, but they forget to remember you.”
    -they forget to remember you. Story of my life.

  2. Lisa says:

    Hi Ladies, Boy, I can relate to every one of you. I am in my early 50’s and recently got married for the second time. I am on social media but find this to be annoying because as much as people say they care about you when invited to functions they either ignore your request or pretend not to have seen it. Excuses run rampant. I have shied away from these sites because they are more stressful than enjoyable . I am a true friend to my friends, I would do anything for you and make time for my friends even though I am now married. My children are older and live on their own and I have one son left at home but, he is headed to college after next year. I find people don’t really want to get too friendly anymore. Why? what are they afraid of. I have a couple good friends but they live out of state and I have gone to visit them and they have visited me but, I want friends closer to me that I can see on a regular basis. My husband works but I do not, so I have time to get together for breakfast, coffee, lunch, at each other’s homes etc. I feel like I am always the friend who is making the effort. Too bad we all didn’t live close I bet we could make one heck of a friendship circle. We all understand and want the same kind of friends. And, are willing to put in the time and effort.

    • Tabby says:

      Hello Lisa, I hear you and feel the same way.I have the same feeling, When it comes to sincere friendship. I love to meet friends who are friends through good times and bad but at my age it’s really hard to connect with people.

  3. Renee2776 says:

    Social media just helps put on the guise that people have loads of friends. I used to think it would be a great tool for making new friends but I think it’s something that requires a lot more effort to do than what I’m used to. I turned 40 last month. I am not married and have no children. I live with my boyfriend of three years. I have maybe two friends (and one of them lives in Alabama so I only see her when she visits New York for her family). I thought that “Meetup” would be a great way to find other women with similar interests…but it kept showing me events taking place in the city. I’m out in the suburbs and while I have no issue traveling to stuff, it really would be nice to find people a lot closer to me that I can possibly form friendships with. Who knew trying do something as simple as making friends would be such an arduous task LOL.

  4. Sara says:


    I’m 44, single, not married, never married, no children, no pets and found that friendships are really hard to find in my circumstances. I work full time and am really proactive about joining things, sports clubs and single groups. It’s hard to explain but it seems to me that everyone is out for themselves. They don’t seem interested in making much effort and want the easy option. I’m always willing to put the effort in and truly believe in the saying ‘accept every invitation’. However when I invite someone to do something with me, its very rare that it’s accepted. I’m lucky that I have a couple of long term friends who are very loyal but they are in relationships and one has a child so they only have so much time for me and we probably only see each other once or twice every 3 months. I’m not complaining about that but I want more people in my life and they’re just not coming through. I have observed that singles groups seem to work well for people over 50. I’m not sure why but I do sense that people in that age group (generally speaking)are less likely to be looking for a romantic relationship and put more emphasis on wanting friends. I think single people in their 40’s are still focussed on finding a relationship and unconsciously block out opportunities to develop new friendships. I also sense that everyone is in a hurry to get home after a social event. Always baffles me really and makes me think how inflexible they are. Do you really want to be friends with people like that?

    • Dee says:

      Interesting you say that about the 40’s group. I was on meetup.com and I noticed several “singles groups for 40’s” not even 30’s and 40’s. It’s kinda hard to integrate into these groups because the age ranges are so all over the place, and a singles group is obviously not the place to make ‘friends.’ I’m 40 and I feel like I’m at a bad age for meet ups. They are either for 20 somethings (MANY of those) or over 50’s. Those groups are easy to find.

      As far as people running home after, while I agree people do it and it is annoying, it also depends on what time the meet up is. I have gone to some in the past that were on Sunday afternoon or Friday evening so there is a bit more of a relaxation to the lunch, than one that is ending at 8:30 on a Tuesday night and everyone just wants to run home because of work/kids in the morning.

  5. lua says:

    At 44, I am married and child free and it makes it more of a challenge to make friends. I had lots of friends throughout high school and college

    Once people started getting married and having kids, majority disappeared. I understand they have family obligations and they choose to hang out with other parents and let other friendships go. It’s sad, but what it is these days. Growing up, my parents always included friends; having kids or not was not a pre-requisite for friendship.

    I still maintain contact with a handful of close friends whon are out of state. Since I relocated back to my hometown after many years of being out of state, can’t say I have made any good friends. Have plenty of acquaintances, but miss having the close friendships. I guess friendship is not the same because don’t see the same people every day. And I am not including work. Still have to be cautious with workplace friendships, can’t completely let guard down.

    Staying busy such as volunteering or any hobbies of interest make it easier to meet people. But in my experience, just stays at acquaintance level and nothing beyond.

  6. Dee says:

    It is definitely harder forming friendships midlife. Most people have a routine of work/store/home, unless you are married, then everything revolves around your family and they are your friends.

    Not everyone wants to befriend co-workers, so when you have fewer options and time to form friendships you just do nothing. Even if you do have hobbies outside of work, most people will talk to you there, but normally are in a hurry to get back home to their regular routine than trying to socialize. I don’t know how I will ever make any friends.

    • lua says:

      Agree about not necessarily wanting to make friends with coworkers. Majority of my coworkers are in their late 20s early 30s and have no social skills. Not necessarily people I would want to spend my leisure time with. So it’s no big loss there.

    • Joanna says:

      I have now found myself in a situation where I now need to make new friends. I am in my late 40’s and have always been a very sociable person. Having a relationship has never meant my life just revolves around them as I feel that is just not healthy. I moved an hour away from my family and friends to be with my new partner and unfortunately the move has been made more difficult because of having no friends here. It is not that I have not tried. I have also been to clubs, done various activities but everyone just wants to get home. I do not have kids so do not meet anyone that way. I have tried work mates, but they do not want to commit either. For example I went out with one and she said we must do this again in a couple of months. I do not want to come across desperate or needy, but would like to see people a bit more than this as I feel quite isolated now. I have found that it is even hard work seeing my old friends as it seems to be too far for them to travel. I have suggested several times to meet half way out of fairness, but sadly it does not seem to happen, They are always up for seeing me when I visit the family though! To be honest I feel a bit let down and disappointed about that also. I am really beginning to hate social media as it seems that friends can’t even be bothered to telephone either and one even asked why I was never on FB. To be honest I would rather be out and about seeing and talking to my friends, doing nice things together rather than texting and messaging. I am starting to think perhaps its me.

      • Dee says:

        Joanna, it is not you. People just want to put effort into what they want to put effort in. I have not tried clubs or meet up groups, but what you said about everyone just wanting to get home afterward is exactly what I would expect. I am like you, I want to see and talk to people a lot more than every 4 months.

        I know people are busy and time is limited, but we don’t have a friendship if seeing or talking to me every 6 months is fine for them.

        I also feel the same about social media to the degree that I feel like these “friends” only want to contact you through these avenues. I haven’t been on facebook for over 8 months and no one even noticed but one of my friends. The only thing you are guilty of is showing more interest in your friends than they do you.

      • Maria says:

        I agree; social media seems to be for people who already have plenty of friends. And at this age people DO run home after a meetup or a social media outing. I’m the type who likes to chat over coffee for an hour or two. Sometimes I feel that women shy away if they think you are making a move towards friendship when really, I’m making polite conversation.

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