Remember when we were in school and our friends meant everything in the world to us?
Well, thanks to this little thing called "adulthood" those days are long gone; especially if you've plateaued into your later years. And although making friends later in life—40's, per se—may seem more like a chore than cleaning bathrooms, that's not to say you can't have friends.
Women in their 40's are funny. I use the word funny because 40's are somewhat of a teetering timeline. It's those exact years when a woman is stuck between 'knowing she's getting older' but she looks and feels younger, and she knows it.
So you—yes you—the 40+ year old woman looking for real friendships but can't seem to find anything legit; you may be looking in all the wrong faces!
Here are the 3 women you should avoid and the 3 women you should gravitate to:
AVOID: THE PERFECTIONIST, THE DRAMA QUEEN & THE COOL ONE
The Perfectionist: Women who act perfect and pretentious; the ones who seem to have it all put together. Women who never fall or make mistakes according to the lifestyle they portray. Who smile with a painful grin and everything they do appears graciously-meticulous and perfect to the public eye. These are the women spewing humblebrags about their busy schedules and extraordinary gluten-free baking.
Case in point, avoid "Martha Stewart" wannabe's.
The Drama Queen: At 40+ you need-not focus on theatricals anymore. Quality over quantity should be your goal at this point. Having a few great girlfriends is better than a group of girl-gang-power-driven-drama-divas in their forties. Remember, your truest girlfriends should be the ones who are going to be by your side when your parents get sick, when you need advice on dating in your 40's, when your kids move out, when your heart gets broken (yes it still happens), when you marry, remarry or even divorce.
Case in point, commotion-filled, middle-aged women haven't quite gotten it yet; you've surpassed this phase, stay away from those who haven't.
The New-Age, Free-Spirited, Cool One: We all know at least one woman, in her 40's, who acts like a butterfly, but thinks she stings like a bee, because she may be 40+ but she acts 23. And sure her ego may look cool with her new tattoo as she lounges, poolside in Vegas, with her fedora on-point and Instagram-ready life—but there's more to her than meets the eye and quite honestly, it's an eye opener, for you, actually. This type of woman isn't going to stop what she's doing to come get you if your car breaks down. She's too absorbed for you.
Case in point, avoid friendships that mimic any of the real housewives on Bravo TV.
Know in advance what type of friends you need—not want—but need in your life. If you want like-minded friends, seek them in like-minded places. After all, you're not going to find church-going friendships—at a bar.
GRAVITATE: THE THOROUGHBRED, THE MUSTANG & THE UNICORN
The Thoroughbred: This friend is a leader. She's mature and wise. She's the one who will genuinely take the lead and be there for you when you need her. She isn't going to wait to be told what to do. When a friend needs a shoulder to cry on, she'll be the one, front and center, ready to listen, and ready to have your back. She's the one you can count on; her loyalty is real. However, she's also the one who will tell you like it is, good and bad. And it's because of that, that you'll learn toughness. They say every woman needs a thoroughbred girlfriend in her life—I agree.
The Mustang: This friend is a leader to an extent but it's her genuine heart, that brings you no doubt. Her sweetness is the icing on the cake. She's the one who cancels a Saturday night date to hangout with you when she knows you're alone. For her, men come and go but her friendship with you is sister-bonded. When you are in need of a friend, the Mustang is the one who calls the Thoroughbred, and together they bring you ice cream and sisterhood.
The Unicorn: Whew, where do I begin? Unicorns are the crazy ones, and I mean that in a nice way. Every woman needs a Unicorn in her life. She's the one who makes you laugh when you didn't think you could. Or makes you believe in yourself, when you've lost hope. This friend is the one who thinks outside the box and comes up with the most ridiculous ideas—but in the end—they make the most memorable events. She's the risk taker and the one who encourages spontaneity. The Unicorn may not be big on leadership, but somehow, even the Thoroughbred and Mustang love her. She's infectious in such a loving way. And her sense of adventure is so innocent and wacky-fun, it keeps you young.
Never fear the unknown of good friendships just because you're in your 40's. Instead, fear the thought of missing out on life—with good friends in your 40's.
Genuine friendships are like a good cup of coffee, they come in many flavors, colors and sizes, and you can't have just one, but you have to stop looking for perfect, pretentious, drama-filled, cool people to hangout with; at 40+ it's overrated.
Instead, look for:
Your Monica, The Thoroughbred.
Your Rachel, The Mustang.
Your Phoebe, The Unicorn.
They exist, you simply have to stop looking in all the wrong faces.
Now, with everything you read, ask yourself, "What type of friend AM I?"