learning from Jane Fonda

learning from Jane Fonda

I watched a funny video with Jane Fonda, Sally Field and Lily Tomlin about friendship a few weeks ago. In it Jane Fonda said that her ex husband claimed that we don't really make new friends after sixty. She begged to differ, claiming that when she wants to make a new friend she pursues them. Lily Tomlin and Sally Field were nodding their heads claiming she would not leave them until they became her friends. It was funny but it felt like there was some truth in it.

We can make new friends anytime in life. Fonda also said that women and mens friendships were often different. That men sit side by side, like to watch the game, while women sit across from each other to talk. This of course was a generalization but I also felt there was truth in it. Women in friendships want to talk to each other. Our good friends we want to know their inner lives. We talk, talk, and talk, and of course we listen.

That little video really got me thinking of the nature of friendship. I believe it is important to keep making new friends. Sometimes we make a friend around an activity, sometimes through an encounter. Sometimes people will tell me they don't have time to spend with the friends they already have so there is no room for new friends.

I have not experienced this. I do agree though with Jane Fonda that if you want a friendship, you have to pursue it. You have to reach out. I have one friend for twenty eight years. We are good friends but she barely ever reaches out. Whenever I do she is game. But if I was expecting or waiting for her to take her turn, I don't know that we would remain friends. Yet I count her as a good friend. Everyone has their thing. Reaching out is not hers. I love her in spite of it.

I have another friend I have only ever met via zoom. We faithfully show up for each other once a month to talk about life and creative business. As our Wednesday comes around I look forward to it, knowing someone is there for me, happy to be there for her. We often make as we chat.

My good friend Lily and I have been friends for so long we hardly know what we have in common anymore. We just belong in each others lives. Our friendship mostly happens on the phone. We talk about books and recipes, and what we picked up at the grocery store. Sometimes on the weekend we'll have a glass of wine together on FaceTime. 

This year my friend started a coffee group once a month with a group of women to talk. These are women I know a little but we really talk in an honest and soulful way and it has become something I look forward too. I am making new friendships here. I can feel that. I also joined a tai chi group and I like the warmth of doing a planned activity with a group of people. They are friends to made there too.

Jane's ex husband was way off as far as I am concerned. I believe that there is room in our lives for love and kindness. It does not mean I will have to set aside old relationships, or spread my arms so wide open that I can no longer contain my life. I can just squeeze over on the bench a little and make some room. And I do this because friendship is a need, like food and water. Companionship brings joy to my life. It keep my brain cozy and happy. And yes it does take an effort and it is an effort I am willing to make.


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  • Deanne Fitzpatrick
Comments 2
  • Danielle Marois
    Danielle Marois

    Merci , de nous faire réfléchir sur nos amis anciens et nouveaux. Il faut toujours garder un peu de place sur notre siège pour de nouvelles amies qui ajouteront de l’expériences dans votre vie.

  • Geri Beveridge
    Geri Beveridge

    Thank you for another endearing piece. I agree with your heart-warming perspective about old and new friends. I met your dear friend, Lily, around age 47, and then you – shortly after that. My world of creativity and adventure was enriched through our connection. Having recently turned 70, I find that I embrace new friendships as much as in the past. We all share our common humanity at any age.

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