Slipping past childhood's temporary boundaries of child/parent relationships to the much more healthy adult/adult ones, happens at different times for different people. I know I didn't slip into a woman/woman relationship with my mom until I was late into my thirties, which seems like far too late, now that I'm thinking about it. I was late to do everything in life, as it turns out, though I'm not sure why. What counts is that we finally got there. I know I disregarded some sterling advice from her, more times than I care to admit to, to my own detriment.
We all have friends who are much older than we are and some who are much younger. It doesn't matter, where friendship is the common bond. It does however come in handy when problems crop up in relationships, or in child rearing, or in dealing with grief or stress, a new job or a boss who is less than a gentleman. Experience is a great teacher and each of us has had differing experiences and learned some lessons along the way. The beauty of friends who vary greatly in age is that we can help each other navigate some of the bumps in the road.
The tricky part is being willing to listen, hearing the wisdom in the offered words and be willing to take them to heart. No, a friend's situation will not be exactly the same as ours, but it will be similar in many respects. People are people and we are born putting ourselves before everyone else; it is a great survival technique: Save yourself! Stay alive! Every man for himself! and all that. We have to learn compassion and selflessness and how to be gentle with the other person, in essence a stepping out of and away from one's self and seeing the situation through someone else's eyes and feeling their feelings. It is not an easy skill to master and takes a lifetime of practice to keep it well honed.
One of the things that we can change most easily is to work at only speaking words that bless the other person, words that build up, encourage, comfort, praise or respect the other person. Hurtful words, especially idle words spoken in jest, do terrible damage to the heart and soul of those who hear them. Our entire life should be a long process of self improvement, of becoming the best person we can be, for the good of the world and all who live in it. Kind words, loving words spoken with attention can be a great place to begin. If such words are not our current habit, it will take some active awareness on our part to begin making the change. Change for the better is good thing; a very good thing.