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Friendships across the age barrier- AIBU?

(33 Posts)
duchesse Mon 03-Aug-09 09:29:31

This is a spin off from another thread that's become a bit silly. Anyway, I happened to mention on that thread that as a 41 yr old I had genuine friends aged between 16 and 80+. One particular poster has taken great exception to my being friends with my now mature and "sorted" god-daughter and doesn't understand what on earth I would find to have in common with her. Interesting though that it seems to be OK to have friends 40+ years older.

I think that friendships do not have to be with people exactly the same age and with the same interests, and that we learn from our friends all the time. I learn from my 16 yr old god daughter as much as she learns from me. I don't presume that because I am 25 years older than her that I know more than her about everything.

So my contention is that it is perfectly possible to have friends who are wildly different in age to oneself, and not to consider age a barrier to a potential new friendship. AIBU?

Hassled Mon 03-Aug-09 09:33:09

No, YANBU. I was 36 when I had DS3 - a lot of his friends' mothers were early 20s, and in a couple of cases younger than that. One of them is the slightly older sister of one of DS1's friends (I have big age gaps). I get on with them really well, because they're nice people; age is irrelevant.

SolidGoldBrass Mon 03-Aug-09 09:34:33

I have had lots of friends of different ages, usually people that I have shared interests with.
I think people who only have friends who are just like them (same age, social class, marital status) are really boring.

CyradisTheSeer Mon 03-Aug-09 09:35:23

Message withdrawn

JackBauer Mon 03-Aug-09 09:35:46

Of course YANBU.

Too tired to think of more to writegrin

CyradisTheSeer Mon 03-Aug-09 09:36:27

Message withdrawn

thesouthsbelle Mon 03-Aug-09 09:36:30

yes it is, and no yanbu, my best friend is 34 and i'm 27, however there's also ladies in our social circle (all friends together) who are 44, 38 so i'm a bit of a yongeon but we can all hold a decent conversation with each other.

like wise where I used to live one of my best friends was 5 years younger.

age as friends doesn't matter like partners really if you have things in common.

posieparkerinChina Mon 03-Aug-09 09:37:14

I have many friends spanning age groups and social class etc etc however it's striking up friendships, as a 30+ adult, with someone in their teens. So I don't have a problem with older friends in their 80s and 40 year olds....

Thanks this is the first time anyway had started a thread about one of my comments.....wink.

posieparkerinChina Mon 03-Aug-09 09:38:26

I meant to say I find difficult to understand people who begin friendships with teens.....

chimchar Mon 03-Aug-09 09:38:34

i think you can, but i also think that there may be diffent slants to the friendships (although i guess there always are in every friendship iykwim)

ie, a much older friend amy be sort of motherly towards you, you may take on the role of "big sister" to your god daughter, you may have a friend to go out partying with, a few good friends at work who you don't see outside, couple friends, girl friends and friends with kids etc..

i think there are huge varying degrees of friendships too...

not sure if i'm making sense, but i am tired, and full of shit today, lol, but i don't think yabu.....

didn't see the other thread btw...

posieparkerinChina Mon 03-Aug-09 09:39:58

chimchar...this was my point but it's nearly dinner (5pm) and the dcs are bored of swimming!!!! So I'd better cook now.....

ZZZenAgain Mon 03-Aug-09 09:40:30

eh? It's at school we're more or less constrained to have friends the same age but after that it's more having something in common that counts surely, whatever the age?

ZZZenAgain Mon 03-Aug-09 09:43:38

oh well specifically teenagers? I don't know tbh I don't have any teenage friends. I mean I like to see other people's teenagers around but I would not say I am truly friends with any of them IYSWIM

duchesse Mon 03-Aug-09 09:45:20

Exactly Chimchar. My friendship with my god-daughter is obviously a different kind of friendship from the one I have with my university contemporaries or older people- I am still more motherly/ big sisterly with her, but I don't see her age as a reason to patronise her or discount her as a friend. As I said before she is a very mature 16 yr old, with many friends of her own age with whom she doubtless does the yeah but no but yeah no/pop music /fashion/ makeup thing, but she is not like that with me.

HuffySpice Mon 03-Aug-09 09:48:51

I'm 30. My friends span in age from early 20s to mid 50s. Not a very wode span really. I would have no objection to making older or younger friends. I can more imagine making friends with someone older than younger. Can't really imagine having lots in common with a teenager, but I didn't really when I was a teenager either.

duchesse Mon 03-Aug-09 09:56:14

I just realised I should have put "barrier" in quote marks in the thread title, because I don't believe there is such a thing.

I'm quite certain however that there are many of thousands of people in their 40s (ie roughly the same age as me) in this country and elsewhere whom I have absolutely nothing in common with.

mollyroger Mon 03-Aug-09 09:59:37

I am an unofficial 'big sister/auntie' to one of my friend's dc.
she doesn't necessarily treat me the same as a contemporary, but i know she tells me stuff/asks me stuff which she doesn't want to talk to her mum about.
iT is awkward sometimes as mostly we have an understanding that if she said anything I thought her mum would be majorly worried about I might feel obliged to tell her mum...

her mum, although a very lovely woman, is old before her time and doesn't like music/clothes/pop culture etc whereas, i do!

And in return, this young lady is helping me understand one of my own dc who is on cusp of teenagedom...

One of my best friends is 60.

juuule Mon 03-Aug-09 10:04:33

Yanbu - "and that we learn from our friends all the time"

This is very true ime, regardless of age.

MsSparkle Mon 03-Aug-09 10:08:19

YANBU! I don't agree that friend have to be in your age group, far from it. I have a friend who will be 76 this year and she is a wonderful lady and i love to hear her stories of what she got up to throughout her life.

I am 24 and i have a friend who is 29 and my sister (who is 27 and thinks she is older and wiser than anyone else in an almost patronising way) said to me "She is 29? Wow, i couldn't imagine being 29 and being friends with a 24 year old? I mean what would you have in common!"hmmshock

My sister is looking forward to being 30hmm I don't know if anyone else is familiar with the type i am describing here?

cupofteaplease Mon 03-Aug-09 10:09:49

I think having siblings who are 5, 10 and 12 years older than me has helped me to make friendships more easily with people who are older than myself.

I have a good group of friends who meet regularly who are up to 15 years older than me. We don't even have children in common! I have made friends through a pre school committee, church and post-grad uni who vary wildly in age- I would consider every one of them a valuable friend.

cupofteaplease Mon 03-Aug-09 10:12:12

I do have a friend the same age as me who did question my friendships with older people though- she genuinely couldn't understand what we would find to talk about!

Notalone Mon 03-Aug-09 10:14:44

I have friends of all ages. I started uni as a mature student last year and although I get on well with most of my uni group, my best friend at uni is 19 and I am 31. I have more in common with her than I do a lot of those "my age" and the age gap is never an issue. I think friendships should be based on shared sense of humour and interests, trust etc and not simply on being the "right age". Those who have this narrow minded way of finding friends have probably missed out on knowing some lovely people which is quite sad imo

ZZZenAgain Mon 03-Aug-09 10:17:12

I think there is a danger in having friends much younger than you are. They can be so very sweet that it depresses you to see what a miserable old git you have become over the years by comparison. This is what I found with my American friend. Our dd's are the same age but she is much younger than me. It's like going back in a time-warp to being at home with my sister tbh

which is nice but as I said a bit sad in a way too

skihorse Mon 03-Aug-09 10:21:44

YANBU - I am 35 and have a friend of 13. We like dogs, riding, shopping & watching "Mean Girls". Christ - I sound like Michaela Jackson! grin

MarmadukeScarlet Mon 03-Aug-09 10:36:24

When I was in my pre/early/mid teen I was genuine friends with a married woman in her 30s? She started as a friend of my parents (through dog training/showing) and became a good mentor/friend to me.

Until I was 13 I could walk to her house, but she then moved. My parents would drop me off there for the whole day and we would have great fun.

She had no DC only dogs and was cool.

I am good friends with several younger folk, I am 37 and have two good freinds of 21 and 25. I also have good friends in their 60's.


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