Health And Wellness

Why Forging Friendships Still Matters So Much As We Age

Photo: getty
happy group of women

Forging friendships is always important, but it becomes even more critical as you age. Unfortunately, many people find it harder to find great friends as we get older. 

It requires an investment of time to build a lasting connection and that can be hard to find.

But it's important to continue forging friendships, no matter where you are in life.

Forging friendships is a calling to create a space in your life to be an active witness to another’s life — and to cherish the exchange it creates.

Friends nourish you. They feed your soul and gives you joy. Just knowing that your friends are available is sometimes all you need to ground your energy.

And yet, many people are often so busy with raising a young family, taking care of aging parents, or working endless jobs for most of the day, there's little time or energy left to invest in maintaining friendships — let alone, to forge new ones.

RELATED: 10 Types Of Friends You Need In Your Life

So why is forging friendships important for your health as you age?

Close friends come and go over the course of your life.

Relocation to a new town, marriage, changing interests, the arrival of new grandchildren, the feeling of imbalance in the relationship, and other life occurrences all seem to crowd out the important soul nourishment only a good friend can give.

Studies on friendship have shown that people are friendly with many, but have few close friends. Is that enough of a social safety net during high times of stress?

For many people, social media doesn't support the deeper in-person engagement that can build a foundation to hold a life-long relationship.

Be practical and think about what really matters when you're in a relationship with others as you age.

According to several studies in recent years, maintaining and sustaining friendships has been associated with increases in longevity, being better models for children and their social interactions, as well as reductions in chronic disease conditions, among others.

I have friendships in my professional ciricles that have grown over time through learning conferences and connections. They were based first on our love of plant medicine and gardening, but that connection naturally plants a seed. We grew to cherish each other.

We can all name specific challenges in every stage of our lives that warrant connection with others going through similar circumstances.

Making precious time is a gift to share with a precious person in your life — like a favorite tea, you infuse each other by sharing common interests, simply listening, and offering a deep hug, along with the fun and joy of spending time together.

RELATED: 5 Signs Of A One-Sided Friendship & How To Know If It's Worth Saving

Forging friendships as you age starts with finding people who are passionate about the same things as you.

Where are those people, groups, and resources in your community?

Push yourself to move out of your comfort zone to meet new people in classes (yes, even online ones) for exercise, art, music, pets, hobby, and spiritual exploration.

You can forge new friendships in many ways.

You can find a walking partner in your neighborhood who might be more isolated and more likely to get out if someone asked them.

Volunteer in your community, one hour a week, at a food bank or local library, church, or school. Do this for at least a month to see what grows for you and what tickles your heart.

Make sure to check in with your heart’s needs for soul nourishment, explore what that looks like in tandem with another friend so you can both grow a circle of friends together.

As the poet Rumi says: 

"Your heart knows the way. Run in that direction."

RELATED: 14 Real-Life BFFs Reveal Their Secrets To Their Forever Friendships

Marie Frohlich is a Health Coach and Herbalist. For more information on her services, visit her website.