Stay healthy – make younger friends
Having friends who are younger than you brings benefits to both parties.
BY: Sunie Levin
At age 82, I have made friends that are 10 to 20 years younger. Of course, I could be fooling myself, but they seem to enjoy my company and I certainly enjoy being with them. How has this happened? Some probably look at me as a mom figure and seek advice. Most are simply younger friends we’ve met along the way, and my husband and I enjoy social activities and holidays with them.
A little interest
I’m always willing to try new things, with the exception of bungee jumping, skydiving and white water rafting. I am interested in people and curious about everything in the world. One of my son-in-laws teased me that I was interested in landfills!
Most of all, I’m interested in people of all ages. My husband can’t believe I find out so much about a person I have just met, especially when it’s the TV repairman or someone in the grocery store. I ask questions. I’m not nosy; I really am interested. Most people are delighted to talk to you; they enjoy talking about their kids and their grandchildren. Of course, you may meet the occasional grouch.
It is in the attitude
After a certain age, how old you are doesn’t matter. It helps that both my husband and I look and act 20 years younger than we actually are. At least we think so. It’s not age, but attitude that makes the difference in acquiring younger friends. Younger friends open new vistas to explore. I’m willing to try new things; I am interested in people. Hopefully that makes me more interesting. And the added benefit is that it will keep you healthier and less concerned about your daily kvetches (complaining).
Every day there are people my age in my community I knew who died. That’s just the way it is. To replace them, I go out of my way to acquire new younger friends. Perhaps they will be around longer. And I can ask the good-looking couple down the street to be my pallbearers!
Add a touch of chemistry
We’ve all heard about chemistry. We know what it’s all about, even if we’ve never seen a test tube in our lives. It’s the thing we can’t define, but we know it when it’s there. You can always sense it – that instant feeling of rapport, that here is someone I’d like to know better, who seems to be on the same wavelength. When it happens, don’t hesitate to tell the person that you feel good about him or her and would like to spend time getting to know each other better. Making younger friends is win-win. It gives you a fresher perspective on life. It gives them the benefit of seeing a roadmap for when they get older.
Start making new young friends of all ages. No investment of time pays larger dividends. I can promise you will never be bored.
Sunie Levin is the US author of “Make New Friends … Live Longer”. She founded the Midwest Reading and Dyslexia Clinic in Kansas City, Missouri, US, for children and adults with learning problems. A popular lecturer, Levin, who is 82, taught university classes and has conducted workshops and seminars throughout the country. She has appeared on local and national TV and was a syndicated columnist for many newspapers. Her blog site is at www.makenewfriendslivelonger.com.