As we age, our priorities and social circles tend to shift. For those over 60, maintaining strong friendships becomes increasingly important. Good friends offer companionship, emotional support, and a sense of belonging. But what exactly makes a good friend? Is it someone who shares common interests, or someone who is always there to lend an ear?
For many people over 60, the importance of friendship goes beyond just having someone to talk to or do activities with. Research has shown that social connections can have a significant impact on both physical and mental health, and can even help to prolong life. As such, the desire to maintain and cultivate meaningful friendships becomes increasingly important as we age.
Curious as to what makes a good friend and what specific qualities over 60s look for in a friend, a Reddit user took to the popular online forum to ask, “what are qualities of a good friend?”
Over 60s quickly flooded the page with a flurry of comments reflecting on the qualities of a good friend and how such friendships enrich their lives.
One over 60 reflected on the fundamental elements that form the basis of true friendship, emphasising that trust and respect are both essential components and must be present for a relationship to truly be considered a genuine friendship.
“It’s been my experience that friendship is based on mutual trust and respect. If one of those are missing it’s not a friendship,” they said.
Another described the ideal characteristics of a close and authentic friendship, where mutual trust and acceptance create a safe space for open communication and humour, fostering a deep sense of compassion and affection between friends.
“You can be genuine, open, and honest with each other about everything without judgement. There is true compassion and love. Also being able to roast each other a little without any hurt feelings, because you know it’s all love,” they shared.
One commenter stressed the importance of having a friend who provides both support and honesty, highlighting that a true friend will not only be there for you during tough times but will also have the courage to call you out when necessary, helping you grow and make better decisions.
“Someone who is there for you when you need them, yet doesn’t enable your bad decisions or qualities. They’ll tell you the truth when you need to hear it,” they explained.
One commenter humorously suggested that while any friend can be willing to lend a hand in times of need, it takes a truly close and loyal friend to help you out in even the most dire and illegal of situations.
“A friend will help you move. A good friend will help you move a body,” they said.
On a final note, one responder used humour to highlight the idea that while a good friend may go out of their way to help you in times of trouble, a truly great friend will not only stand by your side in the midst of difficult situations, but will also find humor and enjoyment in even the most unfortunate circumstances.
“It has been said that a good friend will get up in the middle of the night to come and bail you out of jail,” they began.
“A great friend however, will be sitting next to you in the jail cell, simply saying over and over ‘Damn, that was fun’.”
The insights shared by those over 60 on what makes a good friend are both enlightening and heartwarming. It is clear that at this stage in life, friendships play a crucial role in maintaining happiness and well-being.
Whether it’s the ability to listen without judgement, share laughter, or simply offer a helping hand, the qualities that make a good friend are universal. As we navigate the complexities of ageing, it’s comforting to know that a strong and supportive network of friends can make all the difference.
Let’s cherish and celebrate these important relationships, and continue to prioritise cultivating meaningful friendships throughout our lives.