Life-Enriching Benefits of Having Friends of all Ages

Intergenerational friendships can allow you to grow.

A mixed-age group of friends.

(Sabrina Bracher /

Who are your friends? Are they all similar in age to you? If you are like most people, you are friends with people you met in university, at work,  or the parents of the children in your kids’ playmates. Having friends your own age is the norm but you can widen your social circle and gain life-enriching benefits by becoming friends with someone younger or older than yourself, reported the Sunday Edit.

For most of mankind’s history, people lived in inter-generational groups but in modern times, people moved into smaller family units. “In tribal times we would have connections with people from different generations. We wouldn’t be so boxed in and stick with our cohort,” Performance and confident coach Olivia James told Sunday Edit.

Having friends of different ages can greatly improve the quality of your life, according to a blog on the  Intelligent Change website. In fact, it could make you a more empathetic and well-rounded person.

Having Older Friends has Many Benefits

Having older friends can change your perspective in life because they have already gone through all the steps you are encountering. They have been young parents, they have survived a job loss, or a major illness, and can help you get through these changes in your own life.

“Having an older friend helps us ‘try on’ certain life experiences before we get there — whether it’s watching a friend lose a parent or retire before we do — and feel more ready for what’s coming in future life stages,” Shasta Nelson, author of The Business of Friendship: Making the Most of Our Relationships Where We Spend Most of Our Time told Good Housekeeping.

Research from the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) found that four in 10 adults have a friend that is at least 15 years older than themselves. But how do you make friends who are older or younger? The study suggests that you can make intergenerational friends by joining a book club, at a house of worship, or by volunteering.

Friends playing chess.

(Nattakorn_Maneerat /

Benefits of Having Younger Friends

When older people make friends with younger people, they get to share their experiences  which can be very rewarding, according to Sunday Edit.  “For human beings, giving is good. Giving our wisdom and attention makes us feel better. It gives us meaning and is good for our mental health,” said James.

Having younger friends can invigorate you by offering new ideas and energy into your life. You just have to go out there and make them.

Age doesn’t matter when it comes to friends.

(Nuva Frames /

How to Make New Friends

While making new friends as an adult may seem daunting, its actually easier than you think. It could just be a matter of having an abundance mindset and opening yourself to the idea of making new friends who share your interests and not the year of your birth, according to the Intelligent Change blog.

So how do you do it? First take stock of your acquaintances or colleagues and see if any of them of them share your values and interests and would make a good friend. Then see if you can make a coffee date, or join in an activity or class that your colleague or acquaintance participates in that you think you will enjoy.

Use your social media. Is there a friend of a friend who likes or comments on your posts? You can join a group in your neighborhood and meet over cleaning up a local park. Making intergenerational friends can open your eyes to new ideas and new experiences that can be life changing.

Multi-aged adults taking an art class

(fizkes /