How To Deal With Cliques And Friendship Challenges At Midlife

Midlife can be a friendship shakedown.  It’s pretty much impossible to do the heavy lifting of change, whether it’s in our relationships, our career or in our life direction, and not notice who’s on our side. Just like this time of life brings up the things that don’t work, so it goes with our feelings of belonging and comfort with our own skin when the friend “chips” go south.


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This week’s podcast was inspired by a question from one of our followers Sue. Sue lives in a small village and wanted to know how to do deal with a clique that makes her feel ignored. A brilliant question because it leads us into the overarching concept of this whole “friendship at midlife” thing.

Here’s what we know about friendship at midlife:

We’re social people. We need friends and we have a need, as humans, to belong. Friendship can actually save our life and I wrote a guest blog about this truth a while back. You can check it out here

But what if your friendships aren’t cutting the mustard? What if your real time social networks suck? What if your circles leave you depleted and feeling ignored and unloved? If we don’t know exactly how to answer these questions, it can land us right back to the school yard.

I read a touching blog post by Dr. Kathy McCoy, an American psychotherapist, who enlightened me to the crazy concept that clique-ish behavior, the whole “mean girl thing”, is alive and well in the senior community. Wait a minute! Aren’t we supposed to evolve and actualize as time goes by? Nice idea but clearly it’s not the case.  It reminded me that for many of us, high school drama doesn’t seem to have a use-by date.

One thing that is really important to ask when it comes to a clique situation is to question whether you’re safe. Is there a potential for harm here? If so, trust your gut and take action. Even a toxic workplace, where finances are part of the equation, can and should be addressed.

But if this isn’t about that, if instead it’s about feeling surrounded by people that don’t fit who you are, the process to work through it can actually be an AWESOME opportunity for self growth and a spiritual, soul searching quest. In times of struggle, the first place that I go to is me. It’s often all I can control! And I ask myself “What can I learn from a challenge?” “What is this bringing up for me?” “Why am I having this reaction?” “What are the possibilities?” “Where is my focus and where else can I look?” And on and on.

The benefit of working with these kind of questions is that they lead you to becoming your own best friend. They help you develop coping skills that will not only protect you in wobbly scenarios but will align you with true friends who share the same values that you have. You know, the kind that can save your life….

This kind of self inquiry is not for the weak. It takes total balls to ask them! All the time we see people who’ve settled for lousy relationships and draining scenarios their entire lives, simply because it was easier to stay put rather than rattle cages. But what I believe about right here and right now is that our midlife generation is the luckiest ever. We have so many resources, tools and opportunities that can give us the support we need to buckle up for life’s bumps in the road. and to emerge stronger.

Great question Sue and I look forward to sending you a copy of my book How To Find Your Purpose After 40:The Secret To Unlocking Your Unique Gift To The World !

Other resources mentioned in the podcast:

Dress For Success

My video this week on “What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Shirley Valentine Full Movie on YouTube 

Also, a shout out of gratitude to the online friends who have inspired me:

Britt-Cheri Havenstein from Beauty Boutique Manly. She does my facials and always makes me feel great!

Elisabeth Popp –  Elisabeth is a Danish singer/songwriter and you can listen to her beautiful music here. She is also doing a gray hair adventure and you can check our her transition here.

Janet Heald – Janet is warrior when it comes to her wellness. Follow her on Instagram for inspiring food pics.

Need some advice about a midlife issues? Want me to research something you’re confused about? Ask me! All you have to do is leave a message – keep it to about one minute maximum – and if possible, I will include it in an upcoming episode. You have the choice to leave an email address and if you do and your question is used in the podcast, I’ll send you a digital copy of my book Be Your Own Change Guru: The Ultimate Women’s Guide For Thriving At Midlife.

So, with that in mind – got a question? What is on your mind and how can I help you? Record your message now.

Podcast – TCG 2.0

The Change Guru 2.0 is a new weekly podcast on iTunes dedicated to all things over 40. These are candid, unscripted chats, often solo, sometimes with guests, where I share what’s on my mind. Every episode is loaded with tips and inspiration to make your life rock.

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Did you enjoy this week’s podcast? What’s your take on cliques at midlife? Share your thoughts here:

3 thoughts on “How To Deal With Cliques And Friendship Challenges At Midlife

  1. Hey Sue, Great podcast. Many great thoughts and ideas. Could the feeling we get when we are left out go back to cave man times? If you didn’t fit into a group around a fire you would probably die. Maybe that’s
    the bad gut feeling we get? Signing off from Holland I love you. Mick

  2. Hey lovely Elisabeth

    My pleasure – thank you for your great energy and sharing your music with me.

    I think the big misconception about true friendships is that we need a lot of them and that we have to be busy with them all the time. To have a few very good girlfriends and an awesome family is priceless. I wonder too if creatives need to have a little less “noise” and psychic energy around them so they can work and create their best?

    lots of love xx

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