As I get older, I understand how important it is to foster healthy relationships. As a teenager, I saw how easy it was for people to be in “cliques” and seemingly have those relationships throughout high school. In college, it was still a bit easier to nurture relationships because I was around the same people on campus. As I’ve gotten older, I see that it’s not easy for many of us to form healthy relationships. It’s even more important to have them as we get into our older years.

When thinking about traditional married couples, it’s usually the wife that arranges gatherings. She might decide on a theme, figure out who can “play nice” together as guests, prepares the food, etc. A lot goes into those decisions and the husband needs to clean the yard, garage, toolshed and/or the driveway. That sounds exhausting just thinking about it! Anyway, the wife tends to “hold it down” when it comes to bringing people together and the husband goes with the flow — if he knows what’s good for him!

All jokes aside, when couples are married for decades and the wife transitions before her husband, he is left without his partner to bring people around or go to see folks. Use it or lose it! Without using the skills to maintain friendships, some men don’t know how to make this happen and may end up alone in their older years. The situation is often different for women if their husbands transition before them because they are used to playing more of a nurturing role to keep ties with their friends.

We can do some painless things each week or month to develop or maintain supportive relationships. You can make a reminder on your calendar each week or month to call a specific person. You can switch things up and rotate the schedule to reach out to different people. You can give someone a voice or video call, text, email or use some method to let people know you’re thinking about them. When we have relationships, we relate to each other, so getting back in touch with those who reach out to us is important to maintain that connection. Let’s grow older in friendship together!