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Why and How to Make Friends of All Ages

Marlo Thomas on the benefits of timeless friendships

Among these young guns is my niece Kate, a film wiz who helped me create my site. As a documentary journalist, she knew how to shoot on the fly; and as a longtime producer, I knew how to tell a story. Our collaboration was ageless.

And then after work, I'll go out to dinner with some of my pals whom I've worked with in television. My dear old friend from my That Girl days, writer Bill Persky (83 going on 39), is a favorite dinner date. He puts life in perspective for me, and never fails to remind me that getting older is just a state of mind.

"At least 197 of the 206 bones in my body are telling me to stop," he once said to me, "but, fortunately, my brain doesn't listen." Billy always makes me laugh, and laughter crosses all generations.

And I've always felt that way. That's because the people I've chosen to be with since the very beginning — from my father's friends to Billy to the younger people who work with me on my website — have always been funny and smart and engaging. And if you're entertaining, it doesn't matter to me if you're 17 or 70 — I'm interested.

John Lennon once noted, "Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears" — and I truly believe that. In the end, the people with whom we share life are our own beautiful melting pot: the peers with whom we talk in shorthand (and we trust to get our jokes!), the younger people who open our eyes to new and fascinating things, the elders if we're fortunate enough to still have them in our lives. That's the big secret of intergenerational bonding: It knows no age.

Actress, author and activist Marlo Thomas appears online at

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