How to Make Strong Friendships in Midlife and Beyond

By Sheryl Kraft
May 05, 2023

Recently, while rearranging my bookshelves, I dusted off my high school yearbook. Flipping through the pages, I read all the messages that friends had scrawled in the margins the day before graduation, when we excitedly passed our books around. I swore I’d never forget them all. But now, many decades later, they are largely forgotten or lost.

Our faces! So firm and unlined. Our expressions! Some comfortably smiling, but more commonly staring warily into the camera’s lens with a hint of angst. After all, it was the 70s, and it wasn’t cool to be happy.

But what was cool back then was collecting friends, and promising we’d “always stay in touch,” and that our friendships would “continue throughout the years.” Having a large group of friends meant we were important, wanted, loved. Having many friends was assurance that we were adored (because, usually, we didn’t adore ourselves).