Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo – what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.
– Oprah Winfrey
Yesterday was our day. The day the world celebrates women, our progress and recognises the work still to be done. I hope you had a great International Women’s Day and took some time out to celebrate yourself and other women.
Recently I’ve had some thought provoking conversations with women about friendship.
Our school years allow us to cultivate friends as we’re with them everyday for a number of years. However this can change as life takes over. We may grow apart due to distance, time or when our focus is taken over with other responsibilities.
My friendship group has always been quite small and mainly male. I’ve moved a couple of times and I will admit to not keeping in touch as well as I should.
During my early career, I was surrounded by many women, however as I started to move up the hierarchy other females were scarce. I also became a team leader quite early in my career and this required me to change the way I looked at work friendships. I badly managed a few situations until one of my mentors was kind enough to take me aside and give me some of the best advice I’ve ever received.
Those who can remain friends whilst still doing the boss role, I tip my hat to you, however I struggle to keep my emotions out of my relationships as I become very invested in people. Some elements of the people manager role are not easy and with some practice, I learnt how to setup boundaries and define my relationships at work.
That’s not to say that I haven’t made some great friends within workplaces. Many of them were my peers or from different departments and quite often they helped me retain my sanity and made long and difficult days enjoyable.
Friends make our life richer and they’re great for your health. Friends help us celebrate our life and they have hugs, ice-cream, tissues and positive talk during the difficult times.
The Mayo Clinic advises that having a strong social support system reduces our risk of depression, high blood pressure and can help extend our life.
Making friends as we get older can be difficult. Here’s some tips on how you can extend and strengthen your friendship group.
- Reconnect with old friends. Reach out via Facebook or LinkedIn if you’ve lost touch and recommend a coffee catch-up.
- Prioritise your friendships. Set time aside in your schedule to see or talk to your friends. Yes it takes some effort but I find scheduling things into my calendar makes me do it.
- Skype or Facetime. Distance doesn’t have to affect your friendship group. Make a regular time that suits everyone, grab a glass of wine and use Skype or Facetime to keep those ties strong.
- Connector. Kids, pets, current friends, social causes, the gym….. All of these help connect us to others. Have a look at what’s around you and use the things that you care about to help make new friends.
Inspired to get out there and make a new friend or reconnect? Send them this post (see the forward to a friend link below) and let them know you appreciate their friendship and that it’s time for a catch-up.
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