June 20, 2019

New Women’s Groups Focus on Generational Mix

In most other countries, young and old freely mix together, with several generations often living under one roof. But in the United States, that mostly happens in the workplace. Even so, millennials and baby boomers tend to stick with their same-aged cohort, rarely associating out of the office.

This is a limited way of socializing that cross-generational groups seek to expand. “A lot of people think if they’re mothers they can only be friends with mothers; if they’re single they can only hang out with single people,” said Shasta Nelson, 41, the author of “Friendtimacy,” a book about deepening friendships that was published in 2016. “But research suggests that it doesn’t matter what commonality we have, only that we find a couple of commonalities. If I say, ‘I’m in my 40s and I only want to meet people in my 40s,’ it’s as much of a predictor of friendship as saying I can only be friends with people born in September or who like Madonna or who have my name.”

According to Ms. Nelson, only three things are necessary for a relationship to flourish: positivity (it has to feel good); consistency (you have to be in touch on a regular basis); and vulnerability (you have to feel safe with each other). None of them has to do with age.

“A friendship is any relationship where two people both people feel seen in a safe and satisfying way,” she said.

Ten years ago, Ms. Nelson created GirlFriend Circles, a kind of match.com for women to meet online and take it offline if they choose. She later started Travel Circles, which helps women of all ages take trips to meet other women around the world.

Angela Wilkinson, 48, a self-described “suburban housewife in Middle America” (in this case, Marion, Iowa), went to Greece, Italy, Rwanda and Peru with Ms. Nelson. With two sons now in their early 20s, one of whom has special needs, Ms. Wilkinson said she always felt isolated at home, and unable to meet new people.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/10/style/intergenerational-womens-groups.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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