Forging Friendships In Your Forties

Forging Friendships In Your Forties

Growing up, I had a ready-made friendship group. Most of my childhood friends lived in my neighborhood or nearby and we all went to school together starting with kindergarten all the way through high school. In those early years I never really had to build friendships. Due to our proximity, we just were. 

Forging Friendships In Your Forties In college, I had to work a little harder at making friends, but not by much. My dorm roommates were naturally my first college friends. Then, I would make connections with people that I had things in common with whether it was having the same major, being from the same city or having similar taste in clothing. Still, college was very much an island so that made making friends doable.

Once I entered the real world, however, the act of forging friendships became more and more difficult.

In my twenties I tried to maintain my childhood and college friendships but relocations, climbing the career ladder and just adulting seemed to place distance between my friends and I, in more ways than one.

Although many of those early friendships faded, it was at this time in my life that I met one of my absolute best friends. She was the first person I called when I found out I was pregnant with my eldest daughter, and she was my maid of honor at my wedding. We live hundreds of miles apart, but we manage to visit each other and have maintained our friendship through life’s changes. We often joke that we will be little old ladies eating at a café somewhere in the world, still enjoying each other’s company.

Forging Friendships In Your FortiesWith my thirties came motherhood and marriage which did not leave a lot of room to welcome new friends. More focus was placed on raising my child, establishing a romantic relationship with my then boyfriend turned husband and then growing our family. My career and education took precedence at this time as well; I completed both my Master’s and PhD programs during this personal growth era of my life.

Now that I am in my forties, and I’ve settled into motherhood, my marriage and my career I find myself being open to friendship. I now have more means, more time and more space (in my heart) to not only accept friends but to also be a good a friend to others. The only problem is that forging friendships in your forties can be a bit awkward at times.

Here is how I’ve managed to foster meaningful friendships at this stage of my life:

1. Club Friends: Joining a club, group or organization is a great way to make connections with like-minded women. Two years ago, I joined an all-women’s Mardi Gras Krewe and I have bonded with some of the most fun-loving ladies you could ever meet. When we get together it’s always a good time!

2. Work Friends: Maybe your next bestie is your coworker or you both work in the same field. Having a good work buddy or a girlfriend who shares your profession means you’ll always have someone who really understands the nuances of your job, so she won’t mind when you just need to have a little vent session about office politics. My work friends and I have vowed to keep standing lunch or happy hour dates just to connect and release the worries of the day and it’s really helped our friendships to flourish outside of the office.

3. Mommy Friends: Playdates are not only for the kids. As my daughters develop their friendships, I’ve also gotten close to the mothers of those friends. As mothers we understand the importance of fostering their friendships, so we make sure that we create space and opportunities for our daughters to connect outside of school. To make it work, it takes a lot of communication and trust amongst us so naturally we have forged our own bonds as well. It’s also nice to have friends that understand the complexities of being a mother

Making new friends in your forties may take more time, energy and effort but the outcome of forging meaningful friendships, at any age, can be life changing!

Forging Friendships In Your Forties

Samii Kennedy Benson
Dr. Samii Kennedy Benson is Originally from Columbia, South Carolina. She was a nomad for many years living in Atlanta, Charlotte, and Baltimore before accepting a professorship at Southern University and taking root in Zachary, LA with her family in 2018. Samii is married to her electrician husband DeQugan and together they have three girls: her bonus daughter Jordan (17), Honour (12) and Streeter (3). Samii holds three degrees, a BS in Family and Consumer Sciences Education (formerly Home Economics) from the HBCU, SC State University, a MS in Textiles, Merchandising and Interiors from UGA and a PhD. in Apparel Merchandising and Design from Iowa State. When she is not teaching, thinking about, or trying on the latest fashions, she enjoys traveling, family time, and DIY-ing. A perfect day for Samii would include a Mardi Gras parade – bonus points if she’s rolling with her krewe, the Mystic Krewe of Femme Fatale - a Target run, Tex-Mex and Margaritas!


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