Most of us arrive at our 60th birthday with our fair share of emotional battle scars and relationship bruises. Many of us have been through a divorce. Some of us have lost a loved one. Almost all of us have experienced betrayal, broken trust and dishonesty more times than we care to remember.

Over time, we develop defense mechanisms to protect us from the world. We learn who we can trust (a short list indeed!) We teach ourselves to be skeptical. We may even push people away rather than risk being hurt.

Turning 60 is an Opportunity for a New Start

The problem is that, by the time we reach our 60s, all of these small defense mechanisms have combined to form an army that separates us from the world. If we are not careful, we risk throwing the potential for friendship out with the emotional bathwater.

If you want to find friendship, happiness and success in your 60s or better, take a long hard look at your emotional responses. Do you have a habit of assuming the worst from people? Do you make cynical comments like, “All older men want is a nurse or a purse?” When someone makes a kind or friendly gesture, like offering to carry your bad or smiling at you on the bus, do you instantly wonder what their motivations are?

If so, it may be time to hit the “emotional” reset button and put a new set of social filters in place.

Turning 60: If you always expect the worst from people, you are throwing friendship out with the bathwater.

The good news is that you don’t need to do anything complicated for this process to work. The first step is simply to pay attention to how you interact with other people. Then, after each interaction, or potential interaction, ask yourself…

“Was I fair?” “Did I give this person the benefit of the doubt?” “Or, did I push them away without giving them a chance?”

Do you agree or disagree that we tend to build up emotional walls in our younger years that prevent us from getting the most from life after 60? Why or why not? Please join the discussion.

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