Boomer Women’s Friendships Can Be Complicated

As boomer women in the sandwich generation who are caring for parents growing older and kids growing up, your life may be full of challenges – especially in this tough economy. In times of need, who is it that you turn to?

BEMIDJI, MN - MARCH 23:  Karen Allen (R), a registered nurse at Red Lake Hospital, is comforted by a friend at St. Phillip Church following a memorial service March 23, 2005 in Bemidji, Minnesota. The memorial service was held to mourn the victims killed on the Red Lake Indian Reservation by sixteen-year-old Jeff Weise March 21. Allen was working at the hospital as victims were being brought in for treatment.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Whether you need a friend in your court who really understands or one who has your best interests at heart, these tips may help you get what you’re looking for:

Receive as well as give support. Perhaps it’s hard for you to ask for help if you’re the one who usually provides it. You may think that your strength in coping comes from not needing to depend on others. Friends buffer the effects of distress as well as provide meaning and purpose when you’re feeling upset. But they can support you only if you let them in. So try on the behavior. Gaining the courage to reach out can actually enhance your sense of self.

Women’s relationships can be complicated. No one friend can meet all of your needs all of the time. Notice if what you expect from each other tends to lead to misunderstandings. Be straightforward and confront conflicts head-on. And if you’re feelings get hurt, talk about it before resentments build.

Lower your expectations. Relationships change throughout life but that doesn’t mean they have to end. Recognize that, with balancing work and family, certain standards may be hard to maintain. But other influences for both of you can enrich your friendship, if you’re willing to be realistic and patient.

Want more information on this subject? Here’s an article in the Huffington Post by Dr. Irene Levine, who wrote Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend. And this one is about the physical and psychological benefits of friendship.

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