12 Does menopause affect friendships? | A.Vogel Talks Menopause
 
 

Does menopause affect friendships?

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14 May 2018

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be talking about, "Does the menopause affect your friendships?" And it's amazing how many women contact me and they're worried about things changing with their friends. They're finding maybe their friends are not being very communicative, and they're wondering, "Is it me or is it them?"  

So yes, the menopause can cause problems with friendships. There can be several issues for this.

Mood Swings

You know, we can get mood swings. One minute we can be absolutely fine. The next minute we can be really irritable, or irritated, or angry, and sometimes, it can be difficult for our friends to understand why we're getting such severe mood swings when we're out, supposedly having a nice time. 

Social Anxiety

We can get social anxiety that can be quite a horrible one where you get to the point you don't want to go out, you don't want to be in a big group of people, you know, the worst case scenario, your worst nightmare would be going into a pub with loud music and lots of people talking.  

Lose of confidence

We can be low in confidence and this can be just due to the fact that falling oestrogen is affecting our confidence generally. It could be due to body image as well. Our bodies change, we can put on weight. If all our friends are all nice and slim and we put on a few pounds, you can feel really awkward, you can feel a little bit of an outsider with that, and even when we do try and dress up, we can be so self-critical that sometimes, it's just not worth it, the effort.

Poor Sleep

It can be due to poor sleep. If you've had a really rough night, you maybe had night sweats, you've been waking up, maybe you've had to go up to the toilet because your bladders are under pressure, the last thing you want to be doing is going out at 9:00 at night and going to a party or going round the town. All you really want to do is just cuddle up in the settee, and probably try and get a little bit of sleep.

Why friendships are important during menopause

It's also, as far as friendship goes, it's important that we feel supported and sometimes, especially if our family and our workmates don't understand what's going on, then our friends can be a really important lifeline for us during the menopause. And we don't really want to sabotage that if we can. 

Toxic & unsupportive friends

We can sometimes end up with toxic friends. I mean, I'm sure we've all had one somewhere, where the friend just wants to spend the whole time talking about themselves, maybe they have no idea what they're going through and that they're just being totally unsupportive and that can lead you to the point where you're just thinking, "Why am I here? Why don't I just stay at home?I would be a lot happier on my own than being in this person's company."  

It can also be other menopausal friends, and this is something that does come up. If your other friends who're going through the menopause have maybe not had such a toughest time that you have, then again, they may be less supportive of you. We've had some women who've had friends saying, you know, "What on earth is wrong with you? Just get a grip. We haven't had much of a problem at all."  

And that can really make you feel down and very unsupported, and it's really important that we do, if we can, try and maintain our friendships. It can be difficult, especially if we've got those types of friends, but it can be more difficult if you shut yourself away during the menopause.  

What to do to help maintain friendships

It can be much more difficult to start new friendships up once you're through the menopause and maybe feeling that little bit cheerier. So we are sort of saying make a little bit of an effort if you can, but maybe be a bit more selective with the friends that you're going to go out with.

Give your mood a boost

Boost your mood if you feel that you have got a little bit of a low mood. There's wonderful supportive herbs like Hypericum, make sure you're eating well, you're drinking plenty of water, and get a little bit of exercise because that can really boost your mood as well, and that can sometimes give you a little bit more energy for some of those late nights.  

Try a new hobby together

The other thing that you can do is maybe try new hobbies, and I know for me this was a lifeline. I just wanted to go out and explore the world. So maybe try and have some adventures, if you can. Do something different, maybe just pick one friend that you know would be up for something of a little bit of a challenge or a change, and that can really boost your self-esteem.  

I know for me, I have a walking friend and just once a month, we make a point of meeting up, we go out into the Scottish countryside, we have a walk, just the two of us, we have nice picnic even if it's howling a gale or even snowing. We make a real effort to get out and be with each other for that one day a month.  

We just talk about things, about how we're feeling, things that are going on in our life, and it's such a boost for both of us. We really, really look forward to those few hours that we have together, and we don't see each other in between, so it becomes a real special event. The other thing that you can do is talk about it.

Talk about it

Try and get your friends to understand, maybe that you're having a little bit of a rougher time and that all you want is their support, and maybe a little bit of help just to get you through a particularly difficult time. Maybe join a menopause group. Why don't you set one up yourself? If you know a number of people in your area who are going through the menopause, then maybe take it, in turn, to go around each other's houses, once a month, just for a little cup of good coffee and a little bit of a chat.  

Do it at work. I've started doing corporate workshops for businesses in my local area, and they get all the menopausal women together for a little bit of a workshop and a talk, and it's amazing how many of the women, who maybe didn't know half the people at that group, have started to make friendships just because of that one workshop.  

So doing something like that at your work, if you're in a big enough company can be a real boom for you, and for all the other ladies that are going through the menopause as well.

So I hope this has given you a little bit of an insight. Friendships can be very difficult in the menopause, but they can also be very rewarding. And they can be very precious and very helpful as well.  

I will look forward to seeing you next week for another edition of A.Vogel Talks Menopause.

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