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“It’s healthy to have older friends. You go, ‘Look, I’m younger than them!’ That’s always the nice thing if you can be the youngest one in the room at times. Like if you’re always the oldest one in the room, you’ll start to feel like the oldest person in the world. So get older friends, because they’re cool. Get cool older friends.”~ Paul Feig
Studies suggest that younger people are attracted to older people, especially in romantic relationships, but also when it comes to friends. Why? The exact reason varies but, for the most part, it’s probably because older generations know more. This means they can offer a wealth of advice and guidance to those who were born after them.
Older friends are great to have
In other words, older friends just know more. And, because they are older and know more, they are always one (or many) steps ahead of you. Sorry. Just because your older friends are more “advanced” than you, it doesn’t have to be a tragedy for you. It can actually be an asset to have friends who are one, two, or even three decades older than you!
Think of all of the mistakes you can avoid just by hanging out with them and learning about their life experiences. The best thing you can do is learn from these experiences – what to do and what not to do. Listen, pay attention, and soak-in their stories.
In a way, they are glimpses into your possible future, so pay attention, learn, and make the corrections now, while you’re still young.
Be open and receptive to their advice and suggestions because they went through what you’re going through – and survived! You’ll be surprised by what you’ll gain by having older people in your life. They have so much to offer you; all you have to do is open up your mind and heart to receive their “gifts.”
Read the longer version
If you are interested in learning more about why older friends are awesome to have in your 20s, check out the following articles: 16 Things No One Ever Tells You About Friendship In Your Late 20s, The Benefits Of Having An Older Best Friend, and The Age-Defying Benefits Of Having Older (And Younger) Friends.
You are Baby Yoda. They are Yoda. Embrace it.
Having older friends is awesome, primarily because they are real-life Yodas. During your 20s, you spend most of your time learning and exploring. You also start to become the person you were meant to be – your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and opinions become clearer and more defined.
Let’s face it – older friends know a lot. They’ve been there and done that, which is exactly what you need at this point in your life. The truth is, it takes time and experience to learn what these real-life Yodas know now.
If you listen to these wise men and women, you’ll learn interesting and useful information on a wide array of topics, such as people (in general), food, cars, finances, careers, health and medicine, the environment, cultures, and the world around you.
Think about how much info and experiences you have amassed within the last decade, and that’s how much more info your older friends have amassed. They will always be ahead of your life, so why not take advantage of their knowledge and expertise?
As a 20-something, it is accepted that there’s still a lot for you to learn in this life. You are still growing, maturing, developing, and learning. You’re not the smartest, the most beautiful (inside), the most successful, or the wisest. All of those qualities come with time; however, your older friends may be closer to attaining these qualities than you, so it’s important to take your cue from their life experiences.
Another awesome thing about having friends in their 30s and 40s is they are probably “established” in their personal lives, social lives, and career lives. They may be married with children by then, so by observing them, you can learn what to do and what not to do in your own marriage or as a parent.
You can even learn what steps to take to snag your dream job – just from listening to how your older friends achieved career success. There is so much you can learn from your older friends, it’s insane! So, stop being stubborn and partake in the fruit that has been dropped right in front of you!
The key to making this tip work is paying close attention to your older friends’ actions and words, and not stubbornly believing that you know it all. Because you don’t.
Learn from their mistakes
As I mentioned above, one of the awesome things about having older friends (at least 5-10 years older than yourself), is the ability to learn from their mistakes. We all make mistakes. That’s just a part of life.
And, just because your friends are older than you, doesn’t mean that they are immune to “messing up” from time-to-time. Life involves continual learning and improving. So, even 30-somethings and 40-somethings fall down sometimes.
Although your friends are by no means “perfect,” they have lived and “messed up” more times than you. What does that mean for you? It means they are real-life manuals of what not to in life. Pay attention and learn from them so you don’t end up making the same mistakes.
Take the free advice
A great thing about having older friends is their advice. Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes the advice can be questionable, however, much, if not most, of the time it’s probably on-point.
Older friends are especially awesome at providing some much-needed advice on relationships, parents, friendships, careers, big-ticket purchases, finances, house and car options, culture, politics, food, alcohol, vacation spots, etc. They have experienced a lot, so there is a lot they can share with you. Ask questions and take note of what you should be doing now to be happy and successful in the future.
Another awesome thing about older friends? They aren’t your parents, which means they won’t be all “parent-y.” They have a wealth of knowledge, without any of the downsides that may come from talking with your parents. Woo hoo!
About the Author
Dr. R. Y. Langham
Ph.D. in Family Psychology
Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
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