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Friendship After 50

Friendship After 50
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“You’re not my friend.” That was Kim Cattrall’s response to Sarah Jessica Parker, when the star of HBO’s Divorce added her condolences to the Instagram group-grieve for Cattrall’s late 56-year-old younger brother, Chris.

Many are shocked by Cattrall’s comeback to her Sex and the City co-star of six TV seasons as well as two feature films. They are most likely the people who think scripted shows and movies are actually documentaries, and that just because actors play besties it means that’s what they are in real life.

Cattrall, 61, and Parker, 52, were coworkers, and as with many colleagues, some days on the job they got along better than others; but also, like many people, when the gig ended, they drifted apart.

Cattrall’s very pointed, no-sugarcoating-here-folks retort may seem harsh to some, but it’s indicative of the 50-plus “Who has patience for this?” mentality towards toxic associations, which is a far cry from what we put up with in our 20s and 30s.

As younger people, especially those who relocate to begin careers, we were often willing to accept more drama (disguised at first as excitement) and negativity in order to maintain a social life: the so-called pal who talked behind our back; said she was “just being honest” when what she was really doing was trying to burst our bubble over good news; made jokes at our expense or spilled secrets, then added insult to injury by calling us oversensitive when offense was taken. In general, the connections that were very one-sided, with us giving and them taking.

When muddling through adulthood, discovering who we were, and not yet having learned that we have to teach people how we want to be treated, kept us hanging on to these aforementioned affiliations longer than anyone should.

On the other side of 50, we just don’t have the time or energy to spend on the friendships that drain us. (That’s how Cattrall remembered her dealings with Parker to Piers Morgan. SJP contended that that was not her experience, when she spoke to Bravo’s Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Lives.)

This, of course, is a blessing and a curse.

Being choosy about who you keep in your life, plus the fact that you may not have always been able to see the people you do value that often because spouses, children, and aging parents come first in the relationship hierarchy, and the realization that making new acquaintances later in life is a bit of a challenge, means the friend pool is smaller. Hence, 50-plussers have to push harder at being participatory. Social media updates are helpful, however, seeing each other in person makes for stronger ties. Where to begin:

  1. Make time for those people you really like. 

The children you’ve dedicated yourself to grow up and move away. Your marriage may not last, and even if it does, time away from your spouse to do something interesting with someone else, can make you more interesting when you return home. You don’t have to talk to your friend every day or even the same day every week; but making an effort to interact face-to-face regularly will show them you really care about them. In return, they will see the friendship as precious and want to hold on to it.

    2.  Give considerable thought to qualities you need in a friend.

If it’s important to you to have the same hobbies, politics, or religious beliefs in order to be friends, then join a group with members who have your shared interests. It already gets you over the hurdle of trying to figure out if you have anything in common.

    3.  Enjoy your own company.

Once you’ve reached maturity, you should be comfortable in your own skin. The more you know and like who you are, the more attractive you’ll be to others looking for a friend.

Although the relationship of Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker does not mirror that of their closeasthis Sex and the City counterparts, Samantha and Carrie, there are friendships that do. They’re worth cultivating if you’ve already got one, and seeking out, if you don’t.



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