Opinion | Sexuality

Why Friends Disappear When You Reach Midlife

Why loneliness can plague women in their 50s.
Why Friends Disappear When You Reach Midlife
Image: Richard Drury / Getty Images

I thought we were friends.

At midlife I learned that I might have overstated some of these relationships a tad. It seemed that my BFFs had really been church and parenting co-workers.

Inspirational speaker Barbara Bartocci parsed the difference, noting, "People frequently think they have friends at work—or church or the tennis club or any location where like-minded people gather—when in fact what they have are 'work neighbors.' Once you move out of the 'neighborhood,' you're no longer thought about or included."

The hormonal drama of middle-school relationships or those first lonely weeks in a new town are nothing in comparison to the challenges of making new friends and keeping the old at midlife.

Like many other women, I had enjoyed a stable posse of friendships during my childrearing years. My pals and I compared notes about potty training, shuttled kids to one another's homes for play dates, cheered and coached and prayed for one another. I ...

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