Yesterday, I met a friend for lunch that I hadn’t seen for a long time. We used to work together and talk daily about what was going on in our lives. Once I left that job, it was difficult to find the time to meet due to our different schedules and responsibilities in life. Sure, I’ve stopped by a couple times to see her, but you really don’t learn a lot in those ten-minute conversations. We needed to have a good deep conversation and play catch-up.

We had a great lunch and talked endlessly about our kids, husbands, jobs and friends. Before we knew it, we had been sitting there for two and a half hours. I couldn’t believe that we had been talking that long— it felt like half that time! We said goodbye and promised to keep in touch. While I was driving home, I was thinking about why this friendship gave me so much satisfaction. What was different about this relationship compared to other relationships? Then it dawned on me.

My good friend is older than me. She has adult children that are in their 30’s. When I talk about my kids and the struggles that they are going through, she gets it. She has the perspective and understanding of the phases that kids go through and how it all works out. She is not judgmental and always sees the best in my kids and myself. I know I can say just about anything and she is definitely going to understand. She will remind me of all the reasons my kids are great when it is difficult for me to truly believe this. She supports me in every venture I take on in life and always sees the positives in my decisions. No matter what we discuss, being with her always makes me feel so much better

Giving this more thought, I decided that everyone needs a friend like Ruth. Often, we limit our girlfriend friendships to ones where we have kids that are the same age; we are at the same point in life and we feel have a lot in common. This is the “safe way” to have friendships. But I believe that this really is a close-minded way to think about friendships. We have the most to learn from friends that are very different from us. And we definitely have a lot to learn from women that have the wisdom and the perspective to understand what really matters in life. So thank you Ruth, for being my girlfriend.

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