Hanging out with much younger friends

Not in a skeevy way!

I’m a 38 year old woman and recently I joined a dance group. I really love the dance style and the group really bonded as well, so we’ve started to see each other socially too. Thing is, the lessons are being held very near the university, the “gym” is sort of an occupied space (I’m in Italy, this is a common thing here) and the teacher is very young (but extremely capable). All of this conspires for the group to consist of people, mostly women, in their early twenties. Apart from me, the oldest one is 25 and many are younger than that. Basically, I’m enjoying myself and also, my lifestyle is similar enough in a way in that I’m poor and without kids. I don’t feel as if I don’t fit in, I don’t feel like anyone minds me being there, but still, when people ask my age I feel, well, awkward. Should I? Would you?

I mean, I could do this style of dance in a different place with a slightly more “mature” group, but the day and place are more difficult for me, and I consider these women my friends, so I’d have a hard time explaining why I was leaving. I’m having fun, but sometimes I wonder if it is odd. Oh, by the way, I do have and have always had plenty of friends who are my own age, I just kind of fell into this particular social scene because of a shared love of the same dance.

Doesn’t sound like a problem to me!

Awesome! Keep hanging out with people you enjoy hanging out with!

I have spent some time with friends-of-friends who are in their early 20s, without the intermediary friends, and I’ve had a great time. I haven’t noticed the age difference at all while we hang out (I’m 36). I got to go to 2 weddings in the last 2 years because of my friendships with them. More fun than all the old married folks I know! :slight_smile:

Thanks guys! That’s more or less how I feel. Except sometimes when people ask my age I cringe a bit. I do skip some of the more studenty parties they go to, though. Kind of been there and done that, but I feel we have enough in common to make hanging out fun.

I might feel the same way, but it is really silly. I suspect it is based on the fear: “wont’ they think I’m a pathetic old person who wants to act younger then her age?”

There is this idea that everybody should be in their twenties, or at least look young. And if they don’t, well, they’d better …
a …have a lot of other accomplishments to show for it, and
b … everybody should only want to hang out with people of the same age, because otherwise one is not acting one’s age.

Robert Putnam, a very influential thinker, recently wrote a book, “Better Together: Restoring the American Community”. One of the things he says is that a community, misses out if people only hang out with those who are very similar to them. But when people of different ages, different social stations in life mix, everyone wins. People can complement each other. Learn form each other, give each other energy, ideas, contacts, experiences, encouragement, means. And they can find each other in activities they like for the activities’sake, whether it is work, a hobby like your dancing, just hanging out, or a community effort.

I have liked nature from a very early age, and that usually meant hanging out with retired people.

Also, the older you get, the pool of people you can hang out, dwindles if you only want to hang out with people your own age. Should I just ignore every fun and interesting person between 21 and 45 just because I feel abit uneasy if I would be friends with someone younger? That’s ageism ! :slight_smile:

I’m 37 and I often hang out with the people from the university tabletop RPG club who are mostly around 25, so similar situation. I sometimes joke about my age, they don’t seem to care much. There’s some other ancient post-university people in the same group which makes it even less weird but mostly it just seems one of those things that isn’t an issue if you don’t make it one.

If you are having fun, keep on having it. :slight_smile:

Don’t try to talk yourself out of something you clearly enjoy; there’ll be enough small-minded idiots to do that for you, don’t give them a head start. If they wholeheartedly accept you, that’s friends showing you who they are.
This past spring I stared going to Meetups for free events, board games and hiking, as well as a couple for people in my 40+ age group; the least enjoyable are those limited to people my age. The sameness is stultifying.

I’m over 60 and do a lot of my socializing with people in their late twenties and early thirties. I seem to have a lot in common with them because I am always being invited along to stuff they are doing. Last year I was invited to 3 weddings even though they were all tightly budgeted affairs and the invitations surprised me. I go out sometimes with the groups associated with my friends’ children - more often than they go out with their parents because we like the same bands etc.

I have never noticed whether anyone else ever notices that I am far, far older than the rest of the group.

I have some younger friends. I’m 39 and some are early 20’s. We having gaming, computers and that sort of stuff in common and it’s fun to discuss. They also enjoy my stories of the 80’s …or I just enjoy telling them, not sure which. Likewise, I have enjoyed hanging out with elderly people too and live for their stories, advice and chatter about what politician we hate.

Diverging a bit, from the mainstream of the thread: Maastricht, this stood out for me. No snark at all intended – I’m just interested – but how does this follow? In the Netherlands, is this pursuit largely confined to the older generation?

It’s an interest of mine also – in my country, throughout my life there have been around, people of all ages with whom I’ve been able to share it. “Doing nature study” does require a fair amount of leisure time; but one’s impression would be that – in the First World anyway – most people of whatever age, get a fair amount of that commodity.

Go big :slight_smile:

A fairly large percent of my social circle is a fair bit younger than me (I’m 40 and they’re often in their 20’s) just because several of my primary hobbies skew younger in age demographically (computer games and Magic the Gathering playing specifically).

I used to feel a little weird about being a decent chunk older than most of them, but mostly I’ve gotten over it :slight_smile: I have friends the same age as me also - it’s not that all of my friends are a lot younger than me. One of the younger crew mentioned to me one time that it was nice for him to have an example of someone who can still enjoy the same activities when they get older - when you have hobbies that skew towards a younger demographic, if there aren’t any older people doing it too sometimes people get the notion that when they get older they have to give up their hobbies. Like hobbies are age-limited somehow.

I’m 57. On Wednesdays I hang out with a group of guys at the bar who are in their 40s - 60s. On Mondays I’ve started hanging out at the bar with a group of guys in their 20s - 30s (at their request).

The biggest difference is the younger guys are all after [del]women[/del] pussy and have no money. The older guys are mostly married and are better off financially.

Yes, I agree. In fact, this is a great thing about my biggest passion, Irish music. Especially in Ireland you really get all ages (and walks of life) with that and it 's quite common to have pre-teens play with eighty-somethings, respecting them and learning from them. It’s great and it’s missing from society at large.

Well, the IVN, our national nature study community, emerged in the 70’s and attracted a lot of young people then. The group has naturally aged, and many young people have founded new clubs around new issues. As a result, IVN members in the netherlands are now mostly over 60. Greenpeace members are usually in their late fourties, animal rights activists in their late 30’s, etcetera. I’m surely not entirely accurate but you get the idea.

Of course there have always been a small percentage of people interested in nature. "Naturalistic intelligence"is even one of the eight types of multiple intelligence) . But the big social movement was in the 70’s, in the Netherlands at least.

Pookah, I looked up what Putnam says about it. He calls it “bridging”.

That slight uneasiness you feel about being older then others in the group, is exactly one of those challenges to “bridging”. And it is a very good thing if you don’t let that stop you !

Thanks – that’s illuminating, I get the picture now. I have the impression that where I am in the UK, enthusiasts for the natural world / the animal kingdom are pretty much randomly across the board age-wise; but that could be from, on my part, rather superficial knowledge of the scene.