When we are children we are thrust into social situations where we have the opportunity to make friends. Children don't usually have the same hangups as adults, so they have the ability to relate to others and be friendly—making friends and playmates.
As an adult, making friends is more difficult. Especially when you have biases and judgement lurking in your brain. Sometimes sarcasm (at least in my case) is partially a defense mechanism—a way to protect your heart and keep what little self-esteem you have.
If you're lucky, you already have friends. Ones you've had for years who have introduced you to others. You have a posse, you have people. They know your eccentricities, they mostly accept you flaws and you don't have to pretend to be someone you're not when you're with them.
But what happens when those friends become long-distance friends and you're in a new place where you don't know anyone?
What happens when all the women you're expected to have friendships with have different interests or are at different stages in their lives than you?
Being friends becomes a chore—you never have anything to talk about, you don't like the same food, the babysitter cancelled and the one without kids is annoyed.
Around these women—the ones who seem to have it all together all the time, I felt like an imposter. I was constantly watching what I said, self-conscious about the clothes I wore, how much I ate, and it was a chore to be with them. It was exhausting.
Then I met a group of women, a decade my junior. They have great senses of humor, they are smart and capable, they are working on having things figured out but don't pretend to always have it together. They are at varying stages of their lives, but don't let that stop them from being friends—though together by circumstance (much like children) —they found they enjoy each other's company.
I found I enjoy their company too.
I have thoughtful conversations when I am with them. When I fear I am the "mother" of the bunch—dispensing advice and "elderly" wisdom—I will get great advice and insight in return.
Maybe they havn't lived as long as I, but they all have lived experiences that give them depth. I find these women to be less concerned with appearances than women my own age, and they are complimentary and supportive of one another, and me.
My time spent in their company is rejuvenating. I feel valued and I have never laughed so much.
They look past my premature gray hair, my out-of-shape, unflattering figure, they tell me I look good and they mean it. They laugh at my jokes and tell me when they fall flat. And I'm not offended.
There is no pretense.
Granted, there are some experiences that come with age that we don't share, and they don't understand as well as someone who has lived it, but isn't that the same in any relationship? I still have friends my own age, I value their support and feel comfortable with them, but adding friends to my group that were younger and have a different perspective or life has added color to mine.
So maybe I don't appreciate going out clubbing, but they've gotten me out of my comfort zone, more than once, with spectacular results and some of the best stories.
The next time you see a group of young women sitting together at a restaurant having a lively discussion, don't automatically assume they're gossiping about other women or secretly hating each other for having better figures or more money. Maybe they are just what you need and perhaps you can contribute something to their lives as well.