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Here’s your sign for finding intergenerational friendship in Salt Lake City

A conversation with my neighbor about bugs (more on that later) got me thinking about intergenerational friendships.

Driving the news: For a long time I was without many friends outside of my own age group.

  • With no religious or family ties to Utah, my social vectors mostly pointed to other Xennials.
  • Then COVID cut me off from my older and younger work friends.

Why is this important: Many of us yearn for more intergenerational bonds, according to a report this year by the non-profit organization Encore.

  • Psychologists say these friendships are important for both young and old.
  • In 2019, an AARP investigation found that cross-generational friendships were particularly likely to be long-lasting and to involve frequent face-to-face contact.

By the numbers: According to the Encore study, Gen Z and Gen X were the most eager to bond with other generations.

  • Nearly 90% of Hispanic and Black respondents hoped to work for social progress with people at least 25 years their senior.

The good news (for me): COVID actually strengthened friendships within my neighborhood because it was easy to visit outdoors.

So about these bugs: Yesterday I, 43, was walking with my 74-year-old neighbor Gwynne when we started listing the bugs we’ve seen this week.

  • Gwynne is a backyard naturalist, and I’m a gardener, so it’s really not weird.
  • But as he described a wasp attacking a katydid, and I shared details of my last encounter with a grasshopper, I realized we probably looked like a couple of 8-year-olds.

The bottom line: You’re never too old or too young to have a bug best friend.

  • And insect friends are never too old or too young either.

Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion