We’ve gone through quite a few types of friends leading up to this post. We’ve had the classic best friend who almost needs no distinction; we’ve also talked about the antithetical friend who, most of the time, is not an obvious nor convenient choice of relationship.
Now we find ourselves in front of a fifth crucial individual: the Older Friend.
Like it’s already been said, we naturally gravitate towards people who are most like us; this usually includes age, experience, and maturity. Most of us don’t seek to hang out with people younger than us much less people who have less experience in life-and rightfully so.
Unfortunately, hanging out with people our own age simply sometimes gets mucky. Everyone is doing the same thing and coming up with noncreative solutions for everyday problems…it can feel like cabin fever.
But the older friend comes around and pretty much changes the game. He is usually a few years older and has gotten a head start on the significant stages of life such as college, a full time job, or even marriage. The pretentiousness that usually exists with people our own age seems to dissipate in conversation with the older friend; she knows where she stands and isn’t threatened by your existence like some of your peers would would perhaps feel. A clear distinction of experience is made and, as a result, sizing one another up becomes arbitrary; unadulterated transparency and friendship can take place.
So, in the spirit of diversity of friendship here are a few reasons why having an Older Friend makes sense:
- They Get “It”: In tough moments some of us go to older mentors. However, sometimes these mentors just don’t get it. We perceive them as judgmental and unable to understand our current context. Older friends have most likely been where you are within the last few years and can help bring helpful language towards a solution; this familiarity also breeds empathy which creates greater passage ways for further communication and understanding to take place.
- They Give You a Picture of Unthreatened Friendship: When dealing with peers it’s inconvenient and almost exhausting to deal with the insecurity and comparison that occurs between people of similar age. Some relationships would be wonderful if it wasn’t for ego, comparison, and an inability to see past certain qualities. The older friend usually is able to put all these things aside and see you for who you are and not what you are lacking. At the end of the day you guys can simply laugh and not worry about all the drama that comes along with friends similar in age.
- They are a Reflection of Unconditional Love: The love from an Older Friend is refreshing because they don’t simply see you as the younger, irrelevant human being like much of society might see you as. We, millenials, are often patronized and looked down upon for our arrogance and lack of experience. The older friend may even acknowledge our arrogance and lack of experience, but loves us through it anyway not because we deserve such treatment, but because they know it’s going to allow us to grow.
At the end of the day the older friend has very little selfish ambition when befriending younger folk; it doesn’t feel like they are loving you because they want to get a particular benefit out of the relationship. What a freeing thought, especially in the context of relationships, to know you aren’t being used and being loved for who you are! There it is folks, a few reasons why having an older friend is beneficial and wonderful!