All through our lives, we inevitably try to fit in with certain ‘groups’. Whether it’s our classmates, friends, or relatives, we’re already aware of several reasons as to why we feel the need to fit in. However, I feel like there’s one more reason that we don’t talk about that often: age.
Sometimes, we might come to a conclusion that the only people we should or could be spending a lot of time with is people our age and not with people of other ages. What’s worse is that as a student it’s really hard to avoid having friends that are our own age, especially since our classmates are usually only a maximum of a one year difference from one another. The same goes with our friend groups as they have the tendency to be our classmates as well.
Since we’re all a similar age and are most likely to be going through the same situations, feelings, emotions, yearnings, and experiences, it is only logical that this appears as a good thing as it means that we are surrounded by people we can relate to, express our feelings to, share similar struggles with and so forth. I am not denying the fact that this is a good thing, I am simply stating that perhaps there are other benefits we tend to ignore that come from having friends in other year groups or noticeably different ages.
If you’ve noticed, the majority of secondary school students only mingle with peers in their year group. But is it really that bad to mingle with students from other year groups? Would it actually be that weird? The answer is no! Having close friends in other year groups and of different ages is a lot more emotionally beneficial than it appears. Personally, since I was quite young, I have always surrounded myself with really good and close friends both relatively older and younger than myself. I learn so much from those younger and older than me and I learn different things from each friend. It becomes a chain of helping each other sometimes. At times, we can seek help from those older than us that, unlike friends our age, have lived through a similar problem but have also perhaps found a solution or know how to cope with it already. Now that we’ve gained this knowledge, when those younger maybe decide to do exactly what we did and seek advice as well, we can help them.
Those that are somewhat younger than you can sometimes help you become a more responsible and mature person because you’re aware you influence them. Sometimes, they may even look up to you, so their feelings and even actions could be in your hands. This makes you become more thoughtful, caring, and perhaps even protective. Sometimes, their speck of innocence and lack of stress and worries can just simply help you have a good laugh and a real good time. Their sense of humor can help you forget about things that are bugging you. But don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not saying those younger than us are unable to help us simply because of their younger age. It’s not like they haven’t experienced problems. Sometimes they have the answers to our problems because they can state the obvious solutions that sometimes we choose to ignore. This is mostly because the older we get, the more we may want to hide the obvious solution.
Having friends older than you can help you step out of your comfort zone (watch out for negative peer pressure though), it can help you prepare for the future, and also it’s sometimes easier to relate to them. Having friends of all ages can help you develop a personal stimulus, become aware about different points of views and experiences, and the fact you probably don’t see them every day can make you appreciate them even more and surprisingly lead to you being closer. I highly encourage it and feel like it’s a truly underrated relationship.