The older I get, the more clearly I see – through my new trifocals – that life really is a give and take proposition, often with equally unsatisfactory results.
We’ve forgotten some of the gentler social niceties in our quick, digital world. Before there was Facebook, we actually told people Happy Birthday to their faces, or we sent them a card.
When was the last time you felt really listened to? Can you think of a time when somebody sat down with you and gave you their undivided, respectful attention? Do you know the feeling of being encouraged to go deeper, to tap into your own knowing in the presence of another?
My friends are getting sick at an alarming rate. No doubt it goes with the aging process. We all get our share of aches and pains but some illnesses are a matter of life and death.
When your friend is diagnosed with a serious illness, what’s the best way to respond?
Despite everything we know about the importance of maintaining social connections as we get older, finding friends after 60 can be a challenge.
When a friend mentions to you that they are now taking care of a loved one with special physical or cognitive needs, it’s easy to underestimate what this truly means. And it quite possibly marks the beginning of the end of your friendship, if you don’t tread properly.
Have you ever found yourself listening to a friend’s disclosure that she was sexually abused as a child? How did you handle it? What’s the best way to receive such news?
Here are some of my ideas, based on my thirty years as a trauma therapist. During that time, I helped women who had been sexually abused in childhood.
I walked past a local restaurant on Park Street recently. Seated at one of the tables next to the window was a group of women. They were talking, laughing and enjoying themselves and their time together. It was the kind of group that you just wanted to pull up a chair, order a glass of wine and join in.
I’ve moved to a new city and I don’t know anyone. Like many older women, I left my comfort zone to be near my family. When I say I didn’t know anyone in my new city, I mean I missed people with whom I shared history and a comfortable sense of belonging.
Some people are naturally good at social interaction. You see them at parties and events, surrounded by groups of other guests, talking, laughing and having fun. They move around the room, igniting small fires of goodwill. Everyone loves them.