5 Ways Women’s Friendships are More Meaningful After Forty

Turning forty comes with distinct notes. Your metabolism is slowing down or non existent. Yearly doctor check ups are now mandatory.

And my absolute favorite peril about turning forty, is that maintaining friendships are harder.

While, some may paint it as all doom and gloom, your forties come with immense clarity not seen in younger years. You have a better understanding of who you are, and you know where you are headed or not headed, and at this stage of your life you will be okay with that revelation.

Your forties are also often a time of reflection and transition. Some friends might not want to accept these changes in you, and they move along.

But I’ve found that while the quantity of friendships might wane, the quality of my friendships has generally improved over time, and at this point in my life, friendships are the best they’ve ever been. In my experience, my friendships are more meaningful after forty. 

Below are five reasons why friendships are something to look forward to in your 40’s.

1 – Less Time But More Connection

Khadijah* feels in her younger years  friendships were draining and also time consuming.

“Also I wasn’t the type of friend that wanted to talk about my children or my husband. When I was away from them I did not want to be constantly reminded of them.

I had so many other interests, and this meant I was an anomaly in my circle of friends. So instead I steered clear of trying to make friends even though I was in a new city.”

Looking back, Khadijah didn’t feel like she missed out although she did feel lonely. This only hit her much later in her life. Once all her kids were in school and she found she had more time she sought people who shared her interests and very soon she found herself surrounded by strong like-minded women.

“I liked that I had a tribe who encouraged me to do better and be better. Whether it came to doing more exercise or being more mindful of my salaah.

These friends had my back and they got me. It left me feeling like I belonged, something I never felt in my twenties or thirties. And we were not even spending time together on a daily or weekly basis, but our get togethers were valued more.”

2 – Expectations Are Low, But Rewards Are Immense

While our twenties are often referred to as care-free, friendships during these years came with expectations. You wanted more and expected more from your friends. Often the disappointment left you feeling bitter.

Your forties come with the understanding that everyone is busy and forgiveness and letting go are more important than your expectations. 

Brooke Benoit, Editor at AboutIslam, feels she is friends with women who grab life by the horns so they are constantly busy.

“I get a lot of apologies for tardiness or missed rendezvous. My response is always the same, ‘It’s okay. Every woman I work and play with juggles an incredible schedule and it seems that most, like me, don’t really want it any other way.’

“Maybe we can cut back, but we don’t want to. We are old enough to have seen and done so much, and this includes experiencing immense beauty and goodness.

We want to see more, give more, do more. The women I know in my age group – 40’s – are phenomenal, and I love having them as friends. They are wise, determined, forgiving and empathetic. They make for the best of compadres in this turbulent life.”

5 Ways Women’s Friendships are More Meaningful After Forty - About Islam
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About Fatima Bheekoo-Shah
Fatima Bheekoo-Shah is the author of "Saffron" (A collection of personal narratives by Muslim women), a freelance writer and book reviewer. She resides in Gauteng, South Africa. A book nerd and avid reader, Fatima is always looking for her next great read.