Humans have a strong desire for social connection throughout the stages of life, and friendship can be an enduring gift of joy, companionship and shared experiences. However, it is a common pattern of human behaviour to lose friendships over time. Put simply, as we age we have fewer friends.
Studies on relationship change show there are stages of friendship-forming throughout the different stages of life. For many, college and university create a circle of friends. After graduating and starting work, more friendships are formed. Through having children, new friends are made through mother’s groups, school, and kids activities. This stage is described as the prime time to make ‘grown-up’ friendships with other parents. However, once children are in high school, friendship-making opportunities through ‘playdates’ are scarce.
By the time most couples enter their mid to late 50s, and the kids have left home, they can no longer rely on life stages sending new friends their way. Unfortunately, by the time the kids have left home, parents who have been unhappy for some time realise with great clarity that they don’t need to stay together “for the kids’.
What are common reasons relationships, intimate and social, start to dissolve after 50?
Divorce – The dissolution of marriage often leads to a dissolution of couple friendships.
Relocation – One party moves away. It takes much more effort to stay in touch when everyday lives no longer intersect.
Technology – Our preoccupation with technology and social media can distract from new opportunities to find friends.
Nothing in common – Shared experiences and common interests can change over time, and friendships can drift apart.
A shift in balance – Even the most enduring of friendships can be affected by jealousy and insecurities. For example in a circumstance where social or financial status shifts.
Terminating, or ‘culling’ a friendship – As we age we inevitably become more discerning about what and who makes us feel happy and good about ourselves. The realisation that a particular friendship leaves us feeling drained and disappointed. Time to eliminate the negative!
Did you know?
Australia is experiencing a “loneliness crisis” to the extent that it is now considered a public health crisis.
An OmniPoll survey of 2000 Australians found that 17 per cent had no friends they could visit without invitation, compared to 7 per cent in 1984. The OmniPoll figures also show the average number of close friends claimed in 2018 (3.9) is well down on the 2005 average (6.4).
Research conducted by BeyondBlue with support from the Movember Foundation found millions of Australian men aged between 30 and 65 have very few or no good friends. Males over 55 tend to be the most socially isolated, even if they’re married or in long-term relationships. In a Relationships Australia survey, 30 per cent of women claimed five or more close friends, compared to only 19 per cent of men.
Five suggestions to help you build new relationships after 50:
- Volunteer – Donating your time to a worthwhile cause is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people.
- Travel – If you can afford to travel, try going on a trip with other people in your age group.
- Become a ‘joiner’ – Join a club or group and participate in any interesting local activities where you may meet people with similar interests.
- Never say never – Old friendships that drifted apart can be resurrected.
- Broaden your thinking – Life is too short to reject a potential friend because of your preconceived idea of what they should be like and where you should meet them.
Social commentator Bernard Salt says “In your twenties you want a playmate. In your thirties and forties you want a housemate and beyond that you want a soulmate – companionship”.
Reprogramming your brain for love
World-renowned hypnotist Georgia Foster says finding love as you get older does get harder, with your unconscious mind often sabotaging relationships before they even start.
“You can do all the dating you want, but if your conscious mind has a different agenda to your unconscious mind, you will not find what you are truly looking for,” Georgia says.
“You also may not recognise Mr Right in front of you because of past relationship issues that hinder your love success.”
Georgia Foster has created a 21 Day hypnotherapy programme to train your brain for love.
“This program will give you easy meditation tools and channel your thoughts in order to enter a state of deep hypnosis, allowing you to re-programme your thinking and learn how to attract a healthy relationship into your life.”
What Georgia Foster’s 21 Day Programme will help you discover….
• What is not working in dating and find a new way that does work
• How to re-train your thinking
• What your unique love personality is
• How you can improve your love life
• How to let go
• How to change your childhood conditioning
• What is really important in love
• Where you can improve your love life and dating potential