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5 Ways Women’s Friendships are More Meaningful After Forty

Turning forty comes with distinct notes. Your metabolism is slowing down or is nonexistent. Yearly doctor checkups are now mandatory.

And my absolute favourite peril about turning forty is that maintaining friendships is harder.

While some may paint it as all doom and gloom, your forties come with immense clarity not seen in your younger years. You have a better understanding of who you are, and you know where you are headed or not headed, and at this stage of your life, you will be okay with that revelation.

Your forties are also often a time of reflection and transition. Some friends might not want to accept these changes in you, so they move on.

But I’ve found that while the quantity of friendships might wane, the quality of my friendships has generally improved over time, and at this point in my life, friendships are the best they’ve ever been. In my experience, friendships are more meaningful after forty.

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Below are five reasons why friendships are something to look forward to in your 40s.

1 – Less Time, But More Connection

Khadijah feels that in her younger years,  friendships were draining and time-consuming.

5 Ways Women’s Friendships are More Meaningful After Forty - About Islam

Also, I wasn’t the type of friend who wanted to talk about my children or my husband. When I was away from them, I did not want to be constantly reminded of them.

I had so many other interests, and this meant I was an anomaly in my circle of friends. So instead, I steered clear of trying to make friends, even though I was in a new city.

Looking back, Khadijah didn’t feel like she missed out, although she did feel lonely. This only hit her much later in her life. Once all her kids were in school and she found she had more time, she sought out people who shared her interests, and very soon she found herself surrounded by strong, like-minded women.

I liked that I had a tribe that encouraged me to do better and be better. Whether it came to doing more exercise or being more mindful of my salaah,

These friends had my back, and they got me. It left me feeling like I belonged, something I never felt in my twenties or thirties. And we were not even spending time together on a daily or weekly basis, but our get-togethers were valued more.

2 – Expectations Are Low, But Rewards Are Immense

While our twenties are often referred to as carefree, friendships during these years come with expectations. You wanted more and expected more from your friends. Often, the disappointment leaves you feeling bitter.

Your forties come with the understanding that everyone is busy and that forgiveness and letting go are more important than your expectations.

Brooke Benoit, editor at AboutIslam, feels she is friends with women who grab life by the horns and are constantly busy.

“I get a lot of apologies for tardiness or missed rendezvous. My response is always the same: ‘It’s okay. Every woman I work and play with juggles an incredible schedule, and it seems that most, like me, don’t really want it any other way.’

Maybe we can cut back, but we don’t want to. We are old enough to have seen and done so much, and this includes experiencing immense beauty and goodness.

We want to see more, give more, and do more. The women I know in my age group—40s are phenomenal, and I love having them as friends.

They are wise, determined, forgiving, and empathetic. They make for the best of compassions in this turbulent life.

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About Fatima Bheekoo-Shah
Fatima Bheekoo-Shah is the author of "Saffron" (A collection of personal narratives by Muslim women), a freelance writer and book reviewer. She resides in Gauteng, South Africa. A book nerd and avid reader, Fatima is always looking for her next great read.