24 January, 2023

Empty nest friends

We often bemoan the fact of having different lives from our friends with kids. But you get to an age - usually in your 50s or 60s, but sometimes earlier - when you friends’ and families’ children have left home and are living their own lives. And then we have a lot more in common with our friends. I’ve been very lucky that one of my best friends had children relatively young, and so she’s been free for fun for a long time! But not everyone has this, and I know it can be really hard.

Still, eventually it will come to us all. I had a reminder of this the other night, at a barbecue with old friends. Their kids flew the nest quite some time ago, but due to their overseas travel (living there) we haven’t socialised very much in recent years. They noted that they’re going to take a break in February, once all the kids are back at school, but the summer is still in full fling. Which is exactly what we are considering. They don’t have grandkids (yet), their children are independent, capable adults, and – like us – they are free and easy right now. Their kids hardly came up in conversation (thankfully, my husband remembered to ask after them!), not because we’re not interested, but because they’re not part of their day-to-day lives now. They’re not childless, and their children are still in the country both as supports and potentially needed support. But day-to-day their lives are as a couple, not as parents. Just like ours. 

I guess I’m saying this just to give some hope to those of you who aren’t here yet. You get your friends back – some sooner than later. And that makes you feel as if your network is that much wider.


  1. This is lovely. And a lovely flip side to the sadness some empty nesters feel. There's positive social benefits! I have found that as my friends' kids get older, there is a little more flexibility. They are now basically sports chauffeurs, but it is coming! Thanks for the reminder that our lives won't be too terribly different at some point, in the near future.

  2. I made a co-worker friend a couple of years ago, a woman I really like. We text occasionally but still haven't hung out because her schedule is so busy with work and family. She's married and has three kids. But the way time is flying... Her youngest (6th grade) will be graduated or at least busy with her own friends and activities in high school soon enough. I don't want time to fly any faster, but what you're saying is very true. Our parenting friends will be available again. Kids grow up.