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Meet the friends who are finding joy in the age gap – Positive News


From learning about flowers to discovering the secrets of life, intergenerational friendships bring many benefits, these unlikely friends say.

Claire, 43, and Chrissie, 73. London

Claire and Chrissie (lead image, above) met through South London cares, a charity that addresses loneliness and isolation by bringing older and younger neighbors together. They talk on the phone and go for a walk in the local park. Within months of meeting, they say they felt like old friends, regularly ‘crying with laughter’ at the same jokes.

Claire on Chrissie

What have you learned from Chrissie?

She uses a mobility scooter to get around a lot and that has made me much more aware of my privilege of being disabled.

What is the secret of your friendship?

He just has no respect for authority and refuses to conform to any stereotype, I love that.

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What is your funniest habit?

He has the dirtiest mouth. But he’s also a member of the Salvation Army. I find her to be a beautiful contradiction.

How does Chrissie inspire you?

Chrissie personifies the opposite of what people expect women to have done in various ways, but she has an incredibly full life and many friends. The decisions you have made have not made your life smaller.

Why are intergenerational friendships important?

From a social point of view, younger people have the potential to make changes that will affect older people, so they need to understand them.

“She is a beautiful contradiction,” Claire says of Chrissie. Image: Sam Bush

Chrissie on Claire

What have you learned from Claire?

Much. We have become good friends, we are like sisters! When my cell phone

It has become unstable, she fixes it. She has been there when I needed her.

What is the secret of your friendship?

We can always laugh together. We are very sarcastic.

What is its best feature?

His friendship, his love. She is someone I can trust.

Looking back, what would you say to yourself when you were Claire’s age?

If I could go back, I would do it all over again. I was a nurse, I loved helping people. I often didn’t get home until after midnight, but I enjoyed every moment. Now I am 73 years old, but I can still touch my toes.

Why are intergenerational friendships important?

Young people like to learn about the world and older people like to know what they are doing. It gives you a bit of perspective.

Marie, 79, and Tennessee, 30. Liverpool

Marie, the lifelong scouser, and Tennessee, who hails from Kent, were matched by the Liverpool cares charity. Since they were introduced in December, they have shared hours of phone calls. “We both feel comfortable having deep conversations instead of basic small talk,” says Tennessee. “We can’t wait for things to open up to have the option to do other things.”

Marie video chatting with Tennessee. Image: Helena Dolby

Tennessee at Marie

What have you learned from Marie?

He doesn’t want to talk about Kim Kardashian, which I’m happy with. Talking to her takes me away from the everyday conversations I have with people my age. It’s about understanding. Through it, I have learned about a time that I have not lived through.

What is the secret of your friendship?

We share what we want to share. There is nothing of the baggage with a new friendship like ours: we both see each other in the best possible way.

What is your funniest habit?

I love their stubbornness. Every once in a while, she’ll blurt out a perfectly timed expletive, and I still laugh, because I never expect it.

How would you like to be when you are Marie’s age?

She is the person I think I will be when I grow up. I’ll keep dating only when they tell me not to. Marie is her own car: she goes out and goes!

Why are intergenerational friendships important?

With a big age difference, they will both have really different points of view. It’s refreshing to be in the middle.

‘Money doesn’t bring much happiness. Happiness has to be in you, ”says Marie. Image: Helena Dolby

Marie in Tennessee

What have you learned from Tennessee?

See the good in everything and see the good in everyone.

What is the secret of your friendship?

Just speak well. He does not tap me, no candy. He’s so genuine and so polite.

What is your funniest habit?

I couldn’t say anything bad about him, and I’ve known him for a long time. He calls me like I’m an old friend.

What would you say to yourself when you were Tennessee’s age?

To make the most of what you have while you are here. Money does not bring much happiness. Happiness has to be in you.

Why are intergenerational friendships important?

Nothing surprises me now that I am this age. But feeling respect on the phone from a complete stranger? It is something that cannot be bought. It is just lovely.

Ben, 35, and Wendy, 84. London

Ben and Wendy met through Sharing and caring for the shared home community interest company. Matches seniors who need help living independently at home with people looking for an affordable place to live. “The winter lockdown definitely brought us closer together,” says Ben. “It started 10 days after I moved in, and for the next five months we were pretty much a married couple.”

The winter confinement brought us closer. We were practically a married couple, ”says Ben. Image: Sam Bush

Ben on Wendy

What have you learned from Wendy?

He taught me the names of all the trees and flowers in the garden. And in the kitchen he taught me to put a pound of salt in everything.

What is the secret of your friendship?

Wendy has been with me for 50 years and in 50 years you develop preferences and ways of doing things. I have a responsibility to be flexible and open-minded.

What is your funniest habit?

She always eats standing up: it is a feeling of being prepared to face whatever the world throws at her.

Where do you see yourself when you are Wendy’s age?

Have an established sense of place and home. And if I was 84, I’d be glad I hadn’t smoked since I was 35.

Why are intergenerational friendships important?

Because we have lived so many different lives, we have different things to talk about. It is a dynamic that is mutually stimulating.

Intergenerational friendships

“It’s so much more fun to have young, happy people than older, depressed people,” says Wendy. Image: Sam Bush

Wendy on Ben

What have you learned from Ben?

He is a man with patience, I must say. You can certainly get on the internet, for which I am deeply grateful.

What is the secret of your friendship?

It is much more fun to have young and happy people than older and depressed people. Mopey isn’t something I’m very good at.

What is your funniest habit?

It is very organized, it surprises me. But I don’t feel pressured to be the same. It will probably make a big sigh on its own!

What did you do when you were Ben’s age?

When I was 35, I had a completely different life. My husband and I were married for over 60 years. We were very lucky to meet so young and to have that solid foundation to memorize.

Why are intergenerational friendships important?

As you get older, you want more people in your life, not fewer. You are more dependent than you realize.

Lead Image: Sam Bush



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