Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.
A circle is round,
it has no end.
That’s how long,
I will be your friend.
Did you sing that song as a kid? I did. It’s a beautiful thought, friendship having no end.
One of the unavoidable aspects of growing up and older is some of our friendships will end. Friends move away, drift away or pass away. It’s inevitable. While it’s best for us not to dwell on that, it can’t hurt to do a little thinking about how we cope with losing friends. In my work as a retirement coach, my clients and I spend time creating ways to successfully handle many of changes that are bound to come in our 60’s,70’s and beyond. Changing friends is just one.
Most research, current and historically, confirms that the number of our friendships is not nearly as important as the depth of them. Having a big social circle doesn’t replace having a few friends we love deeply and trust. Those people who sincerely care about us have a profoundly positive impact our lives and our longevity.
One of the common denominators of our deepest relationships is time. Knowing each other for decades, appreciating our history and enjoying myriads of shared experiences, all contribute to the recipe of our friendship. They’re irreplaceable. How can we make a new friend in our 60’s that knew us in our 30’s? We can’t. Fortunately, it’s not the only ingredient for a meaningful friendship.
New friendships most definitely will be different. Maybe that’s why the rhyme tells us one is silver and the other gold. Our new friends won’t have gone to our high school or college or grown up in our neighborhood. We probably won’t know their children or maybe even their spouse.
It’s likely new friendships will be developed around common interests. I encourage my clients to take classes to learn about things they enjoy, painting, art history, Tia Chi, woodworking. You name it. It’s a great way to meet people who love what we love. That’s a good start for a new friendship. It could be church, a garden club, volunteering, the coffee shop. Any place to we see the same people regularly can be fertile ground for growing a new friend.
An open mind and an open heart are the best ingredients for making new buddies. Looking at everyone we meet through glasses that see the possibilities for friendship makes building them far more likely.
Will they have been at our prom? At our wedding? Helped us build the backyard shed? Changed our daughter’s diapers when we were sick? No. Could they be the one to hold our hand when our heart breaks or learn line dancing with us when we’re 70? The rhyme can help with that answer.
Silver is precious,
Gold is too.
I am precious,
and so are you.
You help me,
and I’ll help you
we will see it through.