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  • Writer's pictureJane Leder

Women's Friendships As We Age

If you ask me the topic that runs through almost every episode of my podcast, "Older Women and Friends," it would be friendships. It doesn't seem to matter whether the intended subject of an interview is a group called Grandmothers For Reproductive Freedom, NextTribe, a digital magazine, or two authors writing a book about lives that carry on with energy and enthusiasm when society tells us it's time to hang it all up. You know, the aging gracefully bit: be good old women and take your assigned seats at the back of the class.

I've been looking for an expert or two who can talk about the importance of women's friendships as we age. Surprisingly, they were hard to find or commit to an interview. Now I realize that I didn't have to look far because the value of having good friends for support, companionship, and just plain fun seems to be on most older women's minds.

Maybe it has something to do with divorced women who have not remarried or women whose male or female partners are ill and sadly unavailable. Maybe it's women who live alone. Or women whose adult children have moved away. Whatever the reasons, friendship becomes more important as we age.

I've read more than once that we older women should have eight to ten good friends. I guess I'd better be more assertive in rounding up a few more women whom I know that in a pinch, would be there for me. One woman I interviewed for "Older Women and Friends" (I guess I understood the importance of friends when I chose the title for the podcast), talked about having friends who could stand in as proxies, if there were no older family members or adult children who could fill the position. It's not always comfortable to think of all this stuff, but it can give us some peace of mind.

I spent a chunk of one winter in northern California. My cousin lived there, and we spent quality time together. But she had her own life, which meant that I had a lot of alone time on my hands. I remember being more assertive, in the hopes of making a friend or two. I surprised myself. I got out of my comfort zone. I invited two different women to lunch. I joined a jazzercise class. I spent some time sitting outside of a coffee shop, reading and drumming up reasons why I might speak to a stranger. "Excuse me, have you...?"

Three women talked about all-women travel in the most current episode of "Older Women and Friends." All three were giddy about the bonding with the other women, the strong friendships they made, and how the entire group keeps in touch long after they return home. (BTW, if you want to know more, go to and check out the upcoming trips.)

Oh, there's the phone. Five women and I are heading down to a music venue to hear one of our favorite groups perform. We'll hoot and holler and get out on the dance floor more than all those Millenials.

Here's to good friends!


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