Have you ever found yourself getting chummy with someone at work or night class who’s much older than you–perhaps decades older? While enjoying your shared stories and laughter, did you ever pause for a moment to wonder how things might appear on the outside? It’s only natural. Make yourself the exception to the rule, the trendsetter, and—best of all—the one who will live the richest life.
When considering the perks to a cross-generational friendship, the list is long. Each scenario brings its own special blend of joy. If you were to look at the top four reasons why these friendships rock, you’d quickly see why life will never be the same once you join the club.
1. You’ll find a lot less judgment
When people meet someone relatively close in age, they tend to tuck away a few small feelings of resentment. Why is she married and I’m not? How come he landed that great job and I’m stuck here? That’s just the name of the game. We can all be a little insecure from time to time.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a 58-year-old woman competing with a 28-year old man. Generally, you’re driving in different lanes and have other common interests to laugh and chat about. With the absence of competition, these friendships tend to take on a pure and motivational element. Being able to listen with an objective ear is one of the greatest gifts a cross-generational friendship can offer.
2. You’ll learn from their mistakes
Whether or not you were raised by the best parents in the world, a cross-generational friendship offers a little bit of fostering. Having someone who’s already lived through the whole dating scene and watched friends come and go is a big perk.
Being able to listen to the stories of someone older than you gives you the opportunity to avoid making the same mistakes. We all might sport a couple less scars if we learned a few life lessons through others, instead of tripping over our own two feet.
3. You’ll find that you actually have a lot in common
Whether it’s 1956 or 2056, the human condition doesn’t change much. We all seek comfort and joy in our lives. We want to feel loved, encouraged and appreciated. Once you push the age gap aside, you’ll discover many commonalities.
Why not soak up some strength, dignity, and determination from someone who’s already lived. We read books, watch movies and discover new perspectives while watching the lives of others unfold. Doing the same thing through your conversations with your older, dear friend re-frames your perspective on the world in the best way possible
4. This opens you up to a whole new circle of possible friends
Someone older than you is going to have an entirely new circle of friends, co-workers and possibly even children. As you foster your cross-generational friendship, don’t be surprised if you’re invited over for Sunday night dinner or a summer barbecue.
As you accept those invites, you’ll quickly discover that you would’ve never met these new people if you hadn’t struck up that fateful first conversation with your older pal. As we all know, the more people we meet, the more we discover, and the greater life’s adventures become.
People get judged for everything these days—their political affiliation, their sexual orientation, the number of friends they have, the types of friends they have. Since you’re going to be judged anyway, why not do whatever the hell you want to do? If something’s pulling you toward this new buddy of yours, then make that friendship happen.
Take your cross-generational friend out for a café au lait—or a Grey Goose martini, depending on how they roll—and exchange your stories. Talk about life. Look at the world with a new set of bifocals. You’ll see that you’ll find your horizons broadened and your days brighter.