Health & Well-Being

Strong Friendships are Vitamins for the Soul

Getting older can shift some aspects of life in ways we do not always appreciate. However, focusing on one of life’s most extraordinary and rewarding parts — our friendships — can help soothe our other issues.

Strong friendships are essential at all stages of life, but they become even more valuable as we age. Many challenges that can come up after 50 are much lighter to bear with the support of loving friends. 

Whether facing the demands of caregiving for aging parents, going through the heartache of divorce late in life, experiencing the loneliness of grown children living far away, or having to cope with chronic illness — a phone call or a coffee date with a dear friend is like a revitalizing vitamin for the soul.

Loving, supportive friends provide emotional support and a sense of belonging. They help us see our troubles through another set of eyes, which can bring fun (and even laughter) to our challenges.

So, it is a wise and healthy decision to deepen our existing friendships and look for ways to create new ones. It’s never too late, and we’re never too old to look for meaningful connections to add depth and meaning to our lives.

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Here are a few ideas for how to nurture existing friendships:

Plan out quality time. Make it a habit to catch up with your friends regularly. Schedule weekly or monthly coffee dates or a walking group, or even make a habit of routine check-in calls or texts. Staying connected means caring about what is going on in your friends’ lives and sharing about yours.

Be vulnerable. The more honest and authentic you can be with your friends, the deeper the bond will become. Vulnerability breeds intimacy and trust, which are essential ingredients for strong relationships.

Listen more. When you’re with your friends, be fully present and attentive. Practice active listening, giving your undivided attention. Focus more on hearing your friends’ issues and needs rather than offering advice or your own experiences. Strong friendships become even deeper when there is a balance between sharing and listening. Long-lasting and soul-enriching friendships involve giving each other space to express the feedback of validation and an unconditionally accepting, loving ear.

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Ways to Seek Out New Friends

Explore your interests: Identify activities or hobbies you’re passionate about and seek out clubs or groups to explore your interests and meet others who share them. For example, join a book club, attend a painting class, or take a group travel excursion.

Say yes more often. When invited to a social gathering, say yes. It may force you out of your comfort zone, but you certainly won’t meet a new BFF if you’re sitting at home on your couch.

Offer help. Consider giving back to your community by volunteering your skills and time to a cause you care about. Volunteering is good for the soul, whether lending a hand at a local food bank, participating in a charity fundraiser, or joining a community clean-up initiative. It creates opportunities to meet new people who share your values.

Get online. Social media has its downsides, but remember the feeling of community that you can find online with like-minded people. Join a Facebook group with a specific interest (e.g., fyi50+, fitness over 50, caregivers support, faith groups, dog lovers, etc.) and become active in your new online group by commenting and posting encouraging comments for others. Learning, growing, and building supportive, soulful, long-distance friendships with incredible people worldwide is possible!

Investing in nurturing strong friendships creates a support network that sustains us through life’s ups and downs and is even more important for our mental health as we get older. 

It helps us feel connected, needed, and valued. Quality friendships are scientifically proven to be good for our health! 

So, when you swallow your vitamins tomorrow morning, remember to reach out to your friends to let them know you love and appreciate them. 

Then, get your planner out and create an action list for what you can do this week to actively seek out new soul-lifting friendships.


Marlene Caraballo

Marlene Caraballo is an intuitive life coach, writer, speaker, and spiritual mentor, who works with women looking for soulful guidance to clear what’s blocking them so they can build confidence, master their mindset, and chase their dreams. She lives in rural Orange County, NY and is mom to three grown sons. She shares mindset tips at and blogs about life after fifty at Contact her at or on Instagram @_marlenecaraballo_.

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