29 Comments
Feb 7Liked by Shannon Watts

I moved to a new state the year I turned 60. I knew no one in this new place. Not a soul. I also didn't have a job--that was part of the "deal" i made with my husband: I would move across the country for his new job as long as I didn't have to work. Well, you can guess how that went. How does a 60 year old woman with no job make new friends? It was HARD. But I did it. First i went on Meet Up which just about killed me. I felt like it was the most desperate thing to do. But I found a "women's walking group" and from there I made a couple new and real friends. Then, I signed up for a painting class. I handed my card out to a few women who looked like my type and i said, "hey i'm desperate for friends." They all chuckled, but one woman knew I was, at base, serious, and she asked me to lunch. From there, I had a little "art group" to hang out with. And my painting teacher was so interesting I asked HER to coffee and she is one of my best friends now. All of this took so much god damn effort. It was really awful. I missed my old friends and my old life so much. But I told myself, you're just gonna have to do this thing if you don't want to be alone forever. One of the painting women asked if I wanted to join her book group....(This, after looking on Meet up for book groups and FORCING myself to go and not enjoying them.) But this last book group was great. A book group gives you, like 12 friends. You don't like all of them, but they will be there for you if you get sick. So, that's my story. I want to reiterate how hard it was and awful. I cried a lot. But nothing gets done if you don't do it yourself. Pretty proud of myself for launching out into uncomfortable situations. Hope this helps someone out there.

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Feb 8Liked by Shannon Watts

Thank you for having the courage to write this, Shannon. I suspect many of us in this movement have assumed you had all the relationships you could ever want or need, so didn’t force ourselves on you. I know I’ve felt that way when we’ve met in the past…like not wanting to pester a celebrity!

I know this isn’t really what you mean in this piece, but I want you to know that there are many women (including me) who would drop everything to help you in the middle of the night. Re vulnerability: I’ve learned that if I stop trying to just handle everything on my own, and have the courage to ask for what I need, my real friends reveal themselves.

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Feb 15Liked by Shannon Watts

Wow Liz, I love this: "...if I stop trying to just handle everything on my own, and have the courage to ask for what I need, my real friends reveal themselves" ... that is vulnerability in action! Thank you so much for this, it feels so important for me to hear, as an older woman hiding, feeling friendless, in a cave!

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Feb 11Liked by Shannon Watts

Agree!

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Shannon, I am with Moms Demand in AZ and have had the pleaure to meet you in person last year on Advocacy Day. I loved being with you on zoom last night. I am a mental health counselor who always encourages women to make girlfriend relationships- women are the absolute best humans on the planet and as we age and sadly men often die sooner it us our girlfriends who sustain us. I am grateful to have those 5 best friends, most for the last 50 years , however, I am new to Arizona and it is always my intention to make new best friends when I relocate. Moms Demand has introduced me to the best women and I joined the Unitarian Church in Surprise to deliberately find progressive like minded social justice women in a red state. And, therefore, I am making connections and will grow some new bestie relationships! One thing to note is when you meet new people in your life over 55 most have no idea or connection or memories of the biggest part of your personal life up to that point. It is kind of strange to think that they will not carry that huge part of you with them like the friends you make who know your kids, career, high school days, marriages, etc. I have shared this blog with my 5 besties! Thank you, this is excellent food for thought!

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This is exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you!

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Feb 7Liked by Shannon Watts

Shannon: As much as I have admired (that isn’t a big enough word!) you for your incredible and influential work with Mom’s Demand, my appreciation continues with

this piece on making friends, being open and vulnerable thru the highs and lows.

❤️

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Feb 7Liked by Shannon Watts

A terrific piece! At 80, with a husband ten years younger, I saw little to no need for other friends. And then he suddenly collapsed and died last summer. My three kids are a huge help, but I am back at square one in trying to make new friends. You have provided a much needed road map. Thanks!

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Feb 7Liked by Shannon Watts

This was great, Shannon! Thanks for your honesty and also your humor (mushrooms in Mexico, eh?!). We aren’t in exactly the same place, but I have been asking myself that middle of the night question lately too. Sometime between 40-50, I lost much of the time I used to devote to sustaining my friendships when I was younger. And now on the verge of empty nest hood, I am intentionally trying to reclaim that time. If we were on the same side of the country, I’d invite you out to talk about it. ❤️

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Feb 6Liked by Shannon Watts

I get the feeling of being left out, it just happened to me and propelled me back to childhood.

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Feb 11Liked by Shannon Watts

I had this happen about 14 years ago with a new group of ladies I thought I was "an equal" to in friendship in the group. It was hard at the time, but it's 14 years later, I can tell you with certainty now that I realize that it was them, not me. And I've since realized that actually, they're not the right group for me anyway.

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Feb 11Liked by Shannon Watts

I am someone who is blessed by many friendships from different times in my life and I feel so fortunate for this. But being an older mother with a younger child has made finding friends where I live difficult. Moms Demand Action allowed me to form friendships in my area with people of similar values which is so important. Thank you for this and for your friendship ❤️

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Feb 11Liked by Shannon Watts

I am about to move and am wondering how I will get myself to get out and make some friends so I don't rely just on my partner. I am fortunate to have four strong friendships from college who would and have dropped things for me when I needed them. Even with those four it takes work which is hard with my introverted personality. But I will need some people close by to have coffee, go for walks and enjoy time with. New chapters...

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Feb 8Liked by Shannon Watts

Wow, I love this so much! I’ve always been inspired by you as a leader of moms demand action, an organization I was very involved with for a time. Then I wanted to find friends, which was hard for me also as I feel as though I was wearing such different hats for different situations that people weren’t drawn to me in a way I hoped they would be. Now reading this piece makes me realize I wasn’t putting in the effort; rather I was expecting friendships to drop from the sky. As a mom approaching 50 I to am very close to my husband and family and have been lazy about putting forth the effort. But this helps me realize that all friendships do take time and are worth the investment even when you might not know yet who or where they are. In my town I have found a new community as a running coach for youth that I love. I feel I am now helping kids and work with other adults who are also volunteer coaches. We are not best friends but we have fun working together and I always look forward to being in their company. I love the feeling of giving back and knowing it is a pure investment that is asking for nothing in return. Good for goodness sake. That is where I’ve found my happy place. But I do need friends I can call in the middle of the night too…so that is a new goal of mine…thank you so much again for making yourself vulnerable not just for yourself but for others to learn from you too! 💛

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Feb 7Liked by Shannon Watts

I feel so seen. As a single woman at 62, who has lived and worked all over the world my friend group has shrunk to only a few friends in other places.

I have felt all the things you’ve written here. A few friendships I realized were really one-sided, and I felt so embarrassed by that. But when I thought about it more, they were geographically based, and not everyone can “travel” with you.

I’m about to start a new chapter in a new city (or maybe an old city) and top of my list is finding a community of friends. I’ve done a lot of soul searching about what it is about me that makes it so difficult to maintain friendships. It’s hard and daunting but I think it’s worth the effort.

I hate being so vulnerable too but I appreciate so much that you have been here.

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Feb 15Liked by Shannon Watts

I love that you write ... "I've done a lot of soul searching about what it is about me that makes it so difficult to maintain friendships ..." b/c I've been a spiritual seeker all my life, and I've had such difficulty maintaining friendships too. I'm just realizing that I am lonely for a community of like-minded people, or just people who'd like to be friends with me. As another person wrote, I did think when others saw me they would just want to be my friend, but that hasn't happened ... in fact the opposite. And that's when I began a deeper search inside which has been really embarrassing to realize how introverted I've been all my life ... but it is all good, it is all a learning process. Good luck to you ... I'm learning to become more vulnerable, but it is challenging for me!

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Feb 15Liked by Shannon Watts

Thank you so much for this. A lot of my challenges are probably partly based on a pretty traumatic childhood. That also made me a seeker but also so sensitive and emotionally under developed. Hard to explain but thank you for your comment and good luck to you, too.

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Feb 15Liked by Shannon Watts

I love your "A Fleury of Words" -- It is a perfect fleury of words! I had a pretty traumatic childhood as well, one of the things I recently realized is that my mother was narcissistic and angry, and that growing up, I became a lot like her. People were telling me I was angry when I really had no idea that I was. I was trying so hard to be a good girl. But I am finding out more and more about myself now. It isn't easy is it? Sending you a lot of grace and strength. ❤️

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Feb 7Liked by Shannon Watts

I LOVE this. Thank you! SO many of us (over 50 & 60 crowd) have had big life changes and it is so hard to make new friendships. Right with you!!!

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Shannon, this is so great thank you so much for writing this!! I’ve been on a similar journey and I think you hit on one of the main issues is finding friends who are in the same season of life, and have the time to build a friendship. When I took a step back from my Hustle and Grind life, and suddenly had time I realized nobody else I knew you had any time, so I had to make new friends. It did take some effort, but I’m so glad I did it..

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Feb 7Liked by Shannon Watts

As a snowbird, I recently decided to get pro-active in both settings about making some younger friends. I never was a card player, but I'm seeing the ties that can be built that way - and remembering the canasta summer I had with the neighborhood girls when I was about 11.

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Feb 11Liked by Shannon Watts

Perfect and so much fun. My late grandparents taught me to play Hand and Foot, which is similar to Canasta. Actually, it looked like Julia Roberts may have been playing that game with her niece on the social media post Shannon Watts recently reposted.

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Feb 7Liked by Shannon Watts

Loved every word of this piece, Shannon. Thank you!! Resonated with so much of my book regarding the power of connecting throughout our lives.

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