By Kelly Rudolph for YourTango.com.
As we age, we hear a lot about physical ailments, retirement, empty-nests or grown kids moving back home. We hear about losing our memory, menopause and the dismal statistics on finding love after 50. I think we could use a new perspective, don’t you?
One of the things I’ve truly enjoyed and found to be even more powerful after I turned the big five-O is the fun I have with my positive gal pals. Notice I said positive — that is the key to feeling exuberant and happy with your friends. Just like you, I’m not interested in commiserating about declining health or the men my age seeking twenty-somethings in an attempt to reverse their ego erosion. I want quality conversations, fun adventures and a group of positive female friends. The quality men come around once we are comfortable with ourselves as happy women who are fun to be with at any age.
What I’ve noticed is that my health is soaring and I feel good every day because I take care of myself. If something about me is going south, instead of looking into and cursing the mirror, I look to my female friendships for support and enthusiasm to repair, release, or adjust my perspective about whatever needs a boost (including my butt, which I’ll get to later).
More from YourTango: How To Break Up With A Friend
Now, I know society has us believing that we’re on the dying side of the hill and nothing is left of us but out-of-whack hormones and saggy skin. But it’s our choice to buy into their drudgery or not, and I beg to differ with their depressing, sadistic view of my age and dismal fate. Are you with me? I healed my hormones with emotional release techniques I use in one my life coaching programs and no longer have hot flashes (personal summers). I only had them for six weeks and I knew what I heard about them was certainly not for me to buy into. It is possible to regenerate rather than degenerate, and I think 50+ is the perfect age to do it.
How To Develop New Positive Female Friendships
My best girlfriends are women I keep in touch with regularly, oftentimes daily, and I’ve never even met one of them in person. Sound weird? Let me explain.
I met one of my positive gal pals in a business program delivered by telephone several years ago. The program had two calls per week and this woman always asked questions that caused me to think deeper than I had been. I admired her thought process as she inspired me to visualize a bigger picture for my business. A year later, we met up online to talk and ended up on the phone for hours. We then became accountability partners and encouraged and supported each other daily for years. She is still one of my prized positive gal pals. I must mention that she and I have very little in common regarding our life situations; she, a married mom of two little boys and me a single gal, with no children by choice. We have never met in person, live in different states and have been friends for years. She says something brilliant or profound every time we talk without even trying. She is intelligent, ridiculously funny, very inspiring, 18 years younger than I am, and I treasure her.
Another of my special positive gal pals and I met by phone when she called me to meet the person who had already purchased the domain name she wanted for her business. We talked on the phone for hours (is this a pattern?) and didn’t even live in the same country! We’ve been buddies for years, and no matter how long between conversations, it always feels like we spoke just yesterday. I’ve met her once in person when I was invited to bring a friend to a business seminar. She is magnificent and inspires me with her triumphant life and story that would have left most people negative and bitter if they were even alive after what she’s gone through. I met her afterward and was astounded at her true life story. She is an exceptional role model and I’m proud to call her my friend. Her adult daughter writes her the most beautiful letters any mother would ever hope to receive and I can see that she has truly become the person and mother she was always meant to be, despite her early choices and most likely because of them.
One very special friend is a woman I met online a few years ago. She was referred to my website because her business was similar but she waited over a year until another person referred her to me before she contacted me. Yes, you guessed it. We spoke for hours on the phone when we met. (I’m definitely seeing a pattern here). I was honored to meet her in person when she flew across the country for a three day girlfriend adventure to Catalina Island with me and some other gals I later realized I hadn’t known well enough to travel with. That’s another story and feeds nicely into my article about frenemies. We got to meet in person again when she came to San Diego for a Deepak Chopra event. This friend always provides a new perspective when we talk and I model how she does certain things that are so different from my own way. She is my constant reminder to live each day loving people, especially the ones that inspire me to feel the opposite about them, as they are the ones who need it most. And the positive vibration I create by responding in a healthy way blesses them and brings more goodness into my life — including more friends like her.
More from YourTango: 37 Friendship Quotes: Only The Best For Your Bestie
I met another quality gal pal on a sailboat at a meetup event one summer, and it took over a year for us to connect again on Facebook. I posted one of my favorite Tuesday posts that suggest my Positive Women Rock page readers contact someone they haven’t connected with in a while. Since I walk my talk and this gal said something to the effect of, “Hey, I’ve been meaning to contact you,” it was the perfect opportunity to send her a private Facebook message. Since that day, we’ve had many adventures around San Diego together. My other quality gal pals are not local so it’s extra fun to have someone like her to hang out with. Realize you may meet someone and it may take time to grow to be the people who will be on the same page (mentally, emotionally and spiritually) at the same time. The best thing to do is to keep putting yourself in positions to meet new people so there are plenty of opportunities later on, if not instantly. A really fantastic thing about this friend is that we have both done a lot of personal development work and have very meaningful, life-changing talks. This is a common thread with all of my positive girlfriends, as consistent personal development is one of my core values.
Another friend of mine was a classmate in my Certified Life Coach training class, which included people from all over the world. We were so glad we only lived 40 minutes apart, that we became fast friends. We already had life coaching businesses in addition to all of the fabulous communication training that comes with that. She has different opinions on many topics, and I’ve learned to shift my perspective to see a smoother way to do things in my life. Also, we share something in common that neither of us could have possibly guessed. I was one of the very first female paramedics in the US and she was the first female firefighter in her city. We have so many similarities in experiences, working in a man’s world of emergency response, when few, if any, other females were present. And we both made our mark and were respected and celebrated for paving the way for other women in those fields.
I’ve had many friends in the past, some turning out to be frenemies, but these women described above are my most beloved positive, quality gal pals today at age 51. Some are a few years older than me and some are much younger. All are inspirations and role models and I celebrate them. I’m intensely grateful for them daily.
Female friends come in handy when you least expect it, too. Just yesterday, I was noticing that my rear end wasn’t as round as it used to be and voila, a local gal pal called and told me about a new walking group she joined. I went with her last night and guess whose butt is tight and tidy today? Mine! I intend to walk with this group regularly because I met some cool women and it’s a fun, healthy thing to do.
More from YourTango: Got Girlfriends? How To Make Quality Gal Pals
Here’s another way I met a lot of new potential gal pals and male friends too. A couple months ago I joined the Commemorative Air Force as a volunteer. My dad was in the US Air Force and I attended my first of many air shows while still in a stroller. I’m convinced this sparked my lifetime passion for the veterans who fought for and still fight for our freedom — and I like World War II planes in particular. In my first week volunteering with CAF, I met over 50 new men and women with the same passion for the planes and vets, helped restore a 1943 airplane in our hangar, had the privilege of representing Air Group One from San Diego on Memorial Day aboard the Midway aircraft carrier and welcomed home veterans in their 80s and 90s from their trip to see the Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, DC — many of whom have never been thanked for their service to our country. My experience as a volunteer with this group has made a tremendous positive impact on my life at age 51 and in only two months, I’m excitedly building new friendships in this group with people who range in age from teens to their 80s.
Get out and do something you are passionate about. You will likely meet others with the same passion in common. Meetup.com is a place where I’ve met many local friends. The website has groups that do whatever you can think of. I highly suggest it for meeting potential new friends, getting out and feeling good about yourself. No one wants to hang around with Debbie Downer and no man, except the ones who are more depressed than she is, will want to date her.
The key to positive female friendships is to have the same core values. You will blossom at age 50+ with some good, positive gal pals, as you grow into someone more comfortable with herself. To be empowering, your women friends need to have positive attitudes, like seeing the glass half-full instead of half-empty (unless it’s filled with something bad-tasting!) and seeing a silver lining around the clouds that visit our lives. A high vibrating, high energy friend is not going to get down in the dumps and become a constant energy vampire, sucking you dry of any enthusiasm you had for life, or drawing you into a drama you didn’t buy a ticket to see. She may have a down day like anyone, but she will pop back up quickly with your support and encouragement. A women with healthy self esteem who is on a personal development path is a good female friend prospect because she’s moving forward in her life and isn’t buying into society’s stagnant, tired view of what over 50 is supposed to be like. She is more likely celebrating every day with gratitude for the little things as well as the big, enjoying learning something new each day and basking in the glory of wisdom she’s developed over a life well-lived.
If you feel like you haven’t started to live yet, begin now. If you’re over 50 and have yet to develop a great friend or group of them, start today. You may feel like your health or figure isn’t where you want it to be, but you can improve it. And you can definitely find more friends. Keep your chin up and set your standards high for the new people you meet. Be the kind of person and friend you want to attract, and the ones who deserve you will step up and meet those standards. The ones who don’t will quietly fade into the background of your past. It can take some time to attract the right friends. Three out of the five friendships I mention here didn’t develop until over a year after we met. Timing is everything, and that’s not up to you. What is up to you is meeting people, learning everything you can from all of them and staying tuned to your core values. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to stand your ground.
Determine how you want to be treated, treat others that way and wait for the right friends. You deserve them. If a friendship goes in a negative direction, realize one of you may be a frenemy and adjust as needed. My call to action is this: Women over 50 — get your quality gal pal on and let’s move forward with healthy self esteem, healthy bodies and self confidence!
Connect with me for more information on developing and nurturing your most important relationships, including the one with yourself and gal pals, sign up for my free Positive Women Rock Tips and also get my free ebook and audio book, “Women: 5 Mistakes We Make That Give Our Power Away.” Visit PositiveWomenRock.com and click on the “Gift” page.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.com: Why Women Over 50 Need Quality Female Friendships.