People who maintain close friendships as they age usually display these 8 special qualities

As we get older, it’s not uncommon to see our circle of friends shrink. But there are those who buck this trend and maintain close friendships through the years. What’s their secret?

These individuals often display certain special qualities that enable them to keep their friendships alive and kicking.

The following are some of these unique traits that people who maintain strong bonds of friendship as they age usually possess.

So, whether you’re a golden oldie or a sprightly youngster, read on to see what you can learn about maintaining close friendships as you age.

1) They are empathetic

As we get older, life becomes more complicated. We face challenges that can’t be overcome with youthful energy alone. In these times, it’s empathy that often makes the difference.

Empathy is a cornerstone of lasting friendships. It’s the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, to put oneself in someone else’s shoes.

People who maintain close friendships as they age have an uncanny ability to empathize with their friends. They don’t just listen to their friends’ problems, they feel them. It’s as if they carry a piece of their friends’ burdens on their own shoulders.

This deep sense of understanding and shared experience strengthens the bond between them and their friends. It instills a sense of trust and mutual respect that forms the foundation of a lasting relationship.

However, genuine empathy is not something you can fake. If you want to keep your friendships strong as you age, empathy needs to be a part of who you are, not just something you show when it’s convenient.

2) They know the value of consistency

Consistency is another trait that people who maintain close friendships over the years often have. They understand that friendships, like plants, need regular nurturing to grow.

Take my old friend Bob, for example. We’ve been friends since our college days. Despite living in different parts of the world now, we’ve managed to maintain our close friendship.

How? Well, Bob has this knack for keeping in touch consistently. It’s not just about remembering birthdays or anniversaries, he’ll randomly call or message to check up on me and my family. He does this without fail, month after month, year after year.

In turn, I reciprocate his gestures. It’s this consistent exchange of care and concern that has kept our friendship strong and close despite the distance and time.

This shows how, in my experience, being consistent in showing your care and concern helps to maintain and strengthen friendships as you age.

3) They embrace change

Change is a part of life. As we age, change becomes even more prominent. Our bodies change, our priorities shift, and our lives take on new patterns.

People who maintain close friendships as they age have a special ability to embrace change. They don’t resist the inevitable but adapt to new circumstances.

Interestingly, people who are adaptable and open to change tend to have more stable and lasting relationships.

This makes sense when you think about it. Adapting to change means you’re willing to grow with your friends, even as their lives evolve. It shows you value the relationship over the comfort of familiarity.

Therefore, learn to embrace change. It might be challenging at first, but it’s a quality that will help your friendships stand the test of time.

4) They practice active listening

Active listening is more than just hearing the words that are spoken.

It’s about being fully present in the conversation, showing genuine interest, and responding in a way that communicates understanding and respect.

Those who keep their friendships strong as they age have mastered this skill. They don’t use their friends’ talking time to prepare their own response. Instead, they focus on understanding their friends’ perspectives.

In doing so, they make their friends feel valued and heard. It’s a powerful way to build trust and deepen the connection in a friendship.

5) They are genuinely happy for their friends’ successes

Nothing tests a friendship quite like success. It’s easy to be there for someone during their lows, but being genuinely happy for them during their highs is a different story.

People who maintain close friendships as they age have this beautiful ability to take joy in their friends’ triumphs. They don’t let envy or insecurity cloud their happiness for their friend’s success.

When a friend achieves something great, they are the first to celebrate. They are there, cheering on the sidelines, their hearts full of genuine happiness, because a win for a friend is a win for the friendship.

This quality is incredibly heartwarming and helps to solidify deep, meaningful connections.

6) They are not afraid to apologize

Nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes, say things we don’t mean, or let our friends down at some point. What sets people who maintain close friendships apart is their ability to apologize sincerely when they’re wrong.

I’ve had my fair share of foot-in-mouth moments. Once, I unintentionally hurt a dear friend with a careless comment. I saw the hurt in her eyes and immediately regretted my words.

It would have been easier to brush it off, to pretend it was a joke gone wrong. But I knew that wasn’t the right thing to do. I swallowed my pride and apologized sincerely for my blunder.

That incident taught me a valuable lesson: A genuine apology can heal wounds and mend fences. It shows respect and willingness to take responsibility for your actions.

So, don’t shy away from saying sorry when you’re wrong. It might be uncomfortable, but it’s crucial for maintaining healthy, long-lasting friendships.

7) They give without expecting anything in return

The beauty of true friendship lies in the selfless giving and sharing that it involves. People who maintain close friendships as they age understand this all too well.

They are the kind of people who would go out of their way to help a friend, not because they want something in return, but simply because they care.

This selflessness creates a deep sense of trust and appreciation within the friendship. It shows that they value the relationship more than any material gain or favor.

8) They cherish and prioritize their friendships

Above all, people who maintain close friendships as they age understand the importance of these relationships in their lives. They don’t take their friends for granted. Instead, they cherish them and make them a priority.

Life can get busy, and it’s easy to let friendships slide to the back burner. But these individuals make a conscious effort to prioritize their friends.

They make time for regular catch-ups, remember important dates, and are there when their friends need them. Because they know that at the end of the day, it’s these bonds of friendship that add richness to life’s journey.

Reflection: The essence of enduring friendships

At the core of these lasting friendships is a deep appreciation for connecting with others and the rich history of experiences they share.

These qualities aren’t just beneficial for maintaining friendships, they also contribute to our overall well-being as we age. A study found that individuals with close friendships in their later years were likely to live longer than those without.

So if there’s one thing you take away from this, let it be this: Cherish your friendships. Prioritize them. Celebrate the joy they bring and the lessons they teach.

And remember, each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.

Take this moment to reflect on your own friendships. How can you nurture and strengthen those bonds? What qualities can you cultivate within yourself?

After all, it’s these relationships that add color and depth to our lives, making the journey all the more meaningful.

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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