In this episode we talk about friendships old and new.
How we may outgrow old friendships and managing the sense of loss
Making new friends – where and how
Impact of social media on friendship
How and why friendships change
Different types of friendships
Setting boundaries with friends
How to make long lasting and fulfilling friendships
If you want to listen on iTunes, here’s the link 🙂
Full transcript of Podcast with life coach Carole Ann Rice talking about friendship over 50
[00:00:03] And welcome to the Fab after Fifty podcast leading the pro age conversation.
[00:00:09] So today on the Fab after 50 podcast I have with me my special guest Carole Ann Rice who is a life coach and the only life coach to have a weekly column in a national newspaper. In fact she’s just had her four hundredth column published in The Daily Express. That’s quite an achievement. And she’s also director of her own life coach Academy the Pure Coaching Academy which I’m sure she’ll tell us more about during this podcast. Carole welcome to Fab after Fifty.
[00:00:38] Thank you for having me.
[00:00:39] Carole we’ve got some interesting topics to talk today talk about today haven’t we. And I think we said we were going to start with talking about friendship over fifty and various aspects of friendship over 50.
[00:00:54] Yes it’s an important part of life that you can’t choose your family but at least you can choose your friends so it’s you know friends can be very important to us especially as we age.
[00:01:07] Absolutely. But we were we were talking about way this the other day and about the fact that sometimes we can actually outgrow friendships that we’ve had for many years.
[00:01:18] Yes. Yeah. I mean you meet someone at school or college. They met you when you were younger and it doesn’t necessarily mean that your lives will go along happily on parallel lines.
[00:01:30] We grow we change each year. We are different as we grow. We learn new things we let go of new things we reinvent our style.
[00:01:38] So we’re different from the person we were a year ago let alone 25,30 years ago. So you know just like marriages can sometimes drift apart. So can friends because you don’t always share the same life experiences or have the same interests you used to have when you were younger.
[00:01:57] No I mean I know it’s very difficult though isn’t it at certain times. Do you think you have perhaps outgrown a friendship or you don’t really feel that positive when you’re looking at when you’ve got arrangements to meet somebody but we still feel obliged to go through with those meetings or continue those friendships partly because of the history.
[00:02:16] I think there is something. Well there’s a couple of things here.
[00:02:19] One is if you enjoy the kind of comfy nostalgia of the friendships and you can relive old times and talk about the past and have a laugh in that way and that’s that’s good. Even if you’ve drifted apart you can very much share those past life experiences. Then there’s the other side. If you have grown far apart and you might have moved ahead in your career or your family and your friend hasn’t or you might have remarried or doing all sorts different things. It could be that you don’t have a lot in common anymore. And actually the friendship is a bit laboured and you kind of dread seeing that person simply because there is no compatibility there anymore. I suppose in the old days it used to be a phone call or letter or an occasional meet. At least you could if you wanted to continue a relationship that’s become a bit tired via Facebook and keep in touch with people using social media so you don’t have to completely cut someone out of your life and you can still have a very cheery nice connected friendship. But more and more of a distance.
[00:03:25] What about we read an awful lot now I think in the press about sort of narcissists and toxic friendships. I mean what if we happen to be unfortunate enough to come across both sorts of people as personal friends.
[00:03:38] The thing is that narcissism isn’t a new thing that’s been around since year dot. So we’ve always had people who are a bit show off and self-centered the world every every conversation begins.
[00:03:51] I mean you meet and you know sometimes a meet and timid or introverted person is quite grateful for an extrovert diva glamorous then who’s only talking about themselves that they can not and smiling vicariously enjoy the drama queens life vicariously. But if you do find that the narcissist or the toxic person is grating with you then you have to seriously think about how long you’re prepared to tolerate this deadening and de- energizing relationship.
[00:04:30] What would your tips be though Carole. No. I don’t know about you but I have do you have that situation in my life that I felt so guilty of bringing that friendship to a close. I think one has to start by distance saying so seeing the person less and then perhaps if you really don’t want to make a final cut.
[00:04:50] See them infrequently. But if you do ring fence it like I’ll see you for coffee I’ve only got an hour to see if it’s still so horse maybe every three to six months or so literally a lunchtime catch up a coffee and a cake or something. And then you sort of feel like I’ve still got a bit of connection with this person. They’re not essentially that bad but I just don’t really like spending a lot of time with them. So you could keep it.
[00:05:13] You know have a boundary around it.
[00:05:17] Equally you know one doesn’t want to be rude and so don’t actually want to see you again because you really are tiring to be around.
[00:05:25] So I typing away is the way to do it. But then you have to decide to I’d never ever want to see this person can I just want to have more measures.
[00:05:35] All right. I mean I know people who say that they have certain friends who are so demanding of them. One thing of tension certain given back almost They feel bullied by those friendships. I mean I guess that’s kind of an extreme isn’t it. But I suppose it can happen.
[00:05:53] It can happen. But also you know bullying means a victim. So don’t be the victim. You know there’s ways of doing this.
[00:06:01] So sometimes we are particularly British people very polite and we tolerate a lot of bad behavior. And I think it is about personal boundaries if that person is being demanding as a rule. dominating taking but not giving someone needs to put a boundary with that person so they are obviously slightly out of control. They don’t have any self-awareness. You might have to say hey x y z. When we meet up here’s the deal. OK let’s not talk about your horrendous marriage let’s not talk about your diet that you’re. And we got We all kind of going to have different topics we’ll talk about the same thing and kind of like get you know we’ve got a bit of a draggy friend who’s always banging on about bad relationships. I tell you just the one. Let’s have some really good fun tonight and that none of us talk about the draggy things again. Lets all go and do something together. Well we don’t have to go down there and it’s almost like letting the person know that’s enough, we’ve agreed. We’re going to see a show. Go to see a comedy club with that person can’t dominate. Or just simply said no I can’t do that. I can’t take your phone call right now we’re having dinner and let the person there’s a line of kind of respect that you are putting in place that you wish them to value whenever.
[00:07:23] I know. I mean I had a situation recently with a lovely friend actually that we both had a difficult situation both of which were not nice but totally out of our control. But we agreed that when we met up we have exchanged the facts and it was to do with family health et cetera et cetera. We’d exchange the facts that we first met and then we just go and have a nice evening and we wouldn’t discuss it, we’d exchange the fact they would know the horrible things that are going on but then we’d move on and we’d go to the cinema or we join other people for dinner or we would do something. But we’d agreed that once we’d exchange that the basic information that was upsetting we wouldn’t let off face to face time be affected bit. What a great plandid it work. It did work because they both needed a break from it. So we kind of where we would agree that there’d be no for the phone with exchange a lot of the detail but we just agreed that when we went out we don’t live close together so you know the opportunity to actually see each other were not that frequent or aren’t that frequent. The evening would be as nice as possible. We both needed to do something fun.
[00:08:27] Well it was a good tactic there.
[00:08:30] It was a good tactic not seen it would work in all cases but it’s also work as you said if it’s a one sided situation we’ve had somebody go into that horrendous relationship or breakup or whatever it could still work to say 10 minutes to tell me and then you draw a line and move on.
[00:08:48] Yes absolutely. So that was letting people know in a polite way that that’s that’s what is required now.
[00:08:56] Exactly. But also I guess as we reach that as we reach our 50s and beyond and we go through different life stages maybe we need also to introduce new friends into our lives.
[00:09:09] Definitely. And I think women are quite good at making new friends men tend to be less if they distrust other guys.
[00:09:18] But they are not so open to meet new genuine pals. Whereas women will do yoga classes or classes or take up art or do mini workshops and retreats and things and sometimes the community of people that you meet in those events can be very very heartwarming and real. And you do want to see that person afterwards. And you’ve shared an experience and a whole new social scene can open up with a fresh new friend because you’re starting the new new hobbies and new directions in your life. And with that comes new people that you meet along the way and I think that’s one of the joys of life now is that so many hobbies, courses ,options, workshops, retreats experiences that you can go on and you’re with like minded people in the room already.
[00:10:05] You’ve got a community of people who have similar interests to you. Something I’ve done recently I’ve started locally and just a book club with a couple of friends and we agree that all bring another friend that wasn’t known to us. No it was I didn’t know the other people friends. Yeah and through it I actually had some really nice times. But what’s nice about that is there is very much that everybody takes the turn to host. We just do cheese and nibbles and things and the host chooses the book for the next week or whatever or the next month rather but then you’ve got a topic of conversation to keep the evening off. So you might start off talking about the book which could lead into all sorts of other things. Yeah. There’s not a lot of gossipy evening at all. And you end up discussing really interesting things and learning things about people’s lives as they relate to those storylines in the book that you wouldn’t otherwise have known. And I think that’s another really nice way I think to meet people so much.
[00:11:01] Something I recommend my clients not because it’s inexpensive and a fun way of broadening your literary choices and listening to people.
[00:11:12] Yeah I mean we have had I guess some disappointing books and you have to accept when you do that you’re not going to enjoy every single book that’s chosen. As you said they introduce you to new authors and they may introduce you to new people as well.
[00:11:25] Absolutely yes that’s a good one.
[00:11:28] So and I mean from your perspective when you work with your clients Carolewhat they can when it comes to friendship is what are the key issues that they find they’d like to discuss with you about friendship.
[00:11:41] I think there’s a lot of loneliness at the moment. And that doesn’t mean that you haven’t got friends. It’s not just single women in their fifties either. They’ve never met the right guy or they’re divorced or single mums and the children are moving away and there’s a sense of loneliness.
[00:12:00] I.e. if you got a lot of married friends at weekends so about you don’t get to meet up your friends if they’re with their families. Also Facebook although really good for connection can make you feel very lonely and feel that you’re not living the big life and that you’re on holiday or surrounded by other people and thumbs up at the camera. Everyone’s having a fantastic time and you’re feeling a little bit depressed and at home and thinking gee you my life’s so rubbish compared with my friends so it’s a bit of social anxiety and loneliness that can come from that. Bizarrely from the connection with social media you have to be careful what you look at there. So sometimes I ask my clients to have a sort of social media detox where they don’t keep them on their phones Twitter Facebook and Instagram to see how that one else’s lifestyle. You don’t quite match up. The other thing is having the courage to try new things if you if you are stuck then then you go out and go to go to workshops and volunteer and help with green issues. There are many many things you can do to meet new people. The other one is usually that the women with no boundaries I they’re very nice and might be slightly introverted can get walked over to know by the domineering friends who expect them to pick them up from the airport look after their kids or become a bit of a spare hand unpaid staff sort of thing so sometimes by working with clients it’s helping them to establish confident strong boundaries and to be able to speak up and be assertive without being rude. But what happens when you do that is you actually get increased respect and people like you more when you when you stop people convincing others to say they understand that you’re a person with their own needs and your own opinions and they must be respected not to just be railroaded over.
[00:13:55] We have intrinsically with a lot of women we are people pleasers aren’t we in all areas of life whether that’s work, relationships and also in friendships.
[00:14:05] Absolutely. And you know friendships can come at any time and in many cases be open to that.
[00:14:11] And also some friendships just naturally do have their own shelf life. But not everyone is supposed to be a friend for life. No. You know we say you had a really really fantastic and fun colleague and your whole thing was giggling at the boss and sending each other’s notes and bringing cakes in and going out for lunch together. That might not be have any relevance when you leave to go to another job and you see that person again and you think it doesn’t really work outside of the office. And we’ve moved on I’ve moved on sometimes status envy can come in as well. You know you marry your friends dont, you lose weight, your friends are larger they resent you, you’ve gone on a fantastic holiday they stay. So sometimes they can be sort of petty rivalries in the friendships as well which can tear people apart.
[00:15:05] All sorts of things as we as we grow and change over the years out how we are affects how other people relate to us. Do you want to take up salsa dancing and meet some fantastic new guy and all your friends are sort of thinking well we don’t really relate to us. Well how can she do that. You start to feel alienated from some of your core group of friends because you’re spending and growing.
[00:15:30] I saw a quote once which I think I probably shared at some point which said friends that come into your life for a reason a season or for life. And I think that’s so true isn’t it.
[00:15:39] Absolutely. And never let them go. And you know just recently because of the dreaded or much loved Facebook last year around about this time of year I was walking down the street got a ping on my phone someone I hadn’t spoken to or seen for about 27 years contacted me and said Hi how are you.
[00:15:59] And we’ve seen each other so much this year we can’t even remember how or why we fell apart or whatever got in the way of our friendship. It’s been fantastic having her back and I have sort of missed her at first. I really can’t remember what natural split was. There’s no acrimony between us there’s no looking back have a meeting see her tonight actually. And what a fantastic thing. Twenty five years to 27 years after we’re back in touch that probably wouldn’t have happened if there wasn’t such a thing as social media.
[00:16:30] When you could use literally inquiries in the yellow pages that people remarry and move on and then have the same names anymore. So it’s really good keep contact with people we haven’t seen for years.
[00:16:41] I absolutely think that’s a really sort of nice way to reconnect to sort of and have that friendship I guess flourish and grow again isn’t it.
[00:16:50] Yeah I mean you know it’s always something that you still have in common and you can laugh about the past but you can also sort of look at each other or think wow I did this 25 years ago when I didn’t even know she had a daughter.
[00:17:01] She didn’t know I have two children means a lot to catch up on still.
[00:17:07] So have you got three top tips there when it comes to female, I guess we’re talking female friendships here aren’t we. But I guess it could apply to you know other sorts of friendships as well but primarily sort of I guess female friendships. Three top tips. Would you be able to offer. In relation to what? Three top tips. Just in relation to th I guess managing your friendships when it comes to this stage of our lives over 50. Well what do you think is interesting in friendship I think don’t expect too much from one person just like we expect so much from our partner.
[00:17:40] Which often is unreasonable don’t expect too much from one really good friend.
[00:17:46] I have what I call a complete composite friends or patchwork of friends of. I go to Kew Gardens. That’s all we do. She doesn’t drink alcohol. She doesn’t eat out in restaurants. We go to Kew Gardens we have a lovely walk around and I have book club friends I have someone I always go to the cinema with always I have my Prosecco boozy night friends I have one that is my absolute confidant and it’s bottle of wine around her house and food parcels and doggie bags when times are tough. So you know I have friends you don’t have to be everything to you don’t have to try for one friend every exhibition every phone call every little thing that goes wrong in your life have different friends for different things. So I think that’s the first one and just enjoy that area with them. The second one is to fully accept that sometimes people do drift away for whatever reason and it can be very very hurtful actually when a best friend goes. It’s almost as bad as a marriage. You feel that your confidant has gone and it could be very very heartbreaking. The thing is people go and move away for different reasons. Let them go and be grateful for the time that you had. You never know why they went and they very well may come back to you. And the third one is keep an open mind to always meetng new. I’ve people on a train and that’s literally the Piccadilly line in London going in I liked a book someone was reading , started chatting to her. I told her I was a life coach. I dealt with books like that and we had a coffee. Some months after she contacted me remember I was the girl on the train. So you never know who you’re sitting next to be brave. You know we’re over 50 now a bit more confident a bit more sassiness about us reach out. You never know who whose hands you might take.
[00:19:36] No. That’s right. You never know where you’re going to meet new friends in life do you know. Well thank you very much for sharing all that with us today. And if people want to contact you what is the best way for them to get in touch.
[00:19:52] Well it’s probably best to just Google me on Carole Ann Rice or my company is called the Real Coaching Company and my academy is Pure Coaching Academy. If you want to train to become a life coach in women over 50 make brilliant life coaches check out Pure Coaching Academy or or just google me as a life coach Carole Anne Rice.
[00:20:12] Thank you so much for joining us today and for sharing your thoughts and friendship with that about 50 audience. Thank you Carole. Thank you Ceri.
[00:20:25] So I’d love it if you would subscribe to the channel share the link with your friends. But then we can all be fab after 50 together.