Adult Son's Friend Too Old for Him?

Updated on December 09, 2010
K.G. asks from Fort Worth, TX
20 answers

My 22 yo son recently lost his job and moved in with us. My husband and I have recently moved to this area of the city (6 months now). Our neighbor next door who is 42 yo owns a business not far from here. We have talked to him a little about the neighborhood, lawn problems, etc and have seen him and his wife (whom I have talked to only once) and their 3 children out in the yard from time to time. My concern is this: the neighbor saw my son out working on his motorcycle and befriended him and offered him a job at his shop which of course my son accepted since he needed one. Now the neighbor asks my son over for dinner with his family, over to play pool with him or asks him to go to the car races with him. My son says he feels obligated to accept and I say the neighbor may be a little old for him to hang out with. My son has his own friends and still sees them. My son says this neighbor always asks him questions about me and my husband (like what we do in our past times, do we drink or party). My husband and I are both pretty private and have always been but we are still friendly with our neighbors. Is this 42 yo guy too old for my son to hang around with? (My husband and I are in our early 50's and this neighbor gives us the feeling that he is not very comfortable when we try to talk to him.) Am I being too motherly about my son? Thanks.

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So What Happened?

Thanks to all for your insight on this situation. I have never chosen either of my son's friends nor will I start now. No matter how old they get I will always give them advice when I am asked. My son would never give out personal information about our family. I have always told them "what happens in this house stays in this house." As for letting him grow up, I did that long ago because he has always had such an independent personality. Think one of you is correct in that his wife probably won't do things with him (which is sad) and his kids are too young (oldest is 10). Thanks again.

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answers from Seattle on

LOL.... When I was 23 my closest friend was 51 (she's still one of my closest friends at 31 & 59). 20 year gap a little old to date? Usually, but not always. To be friends with? Not at all. That's one of the great benefits of being an adult... having friends across the age spectrum.

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answers from Washington DC on

Well, you yourself did define your son as "adult" so I think that pretty much says it all. Just let your son know that you're not cool with him handing out the details of your personal life and leave it at that. He's his own person and has to lead his own life.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Your radar is up and I for one think you should go with your gut. I would give your son an excuse (he can still use you) to turn down these invitations AND avoid being alone with this guy. Help him find another job altogether and say you and your husband thought it was a better fit for him. You don't know this man. Yes, all could be innocent, but it is feeling uncomfortable to both you and your son, so why in the world continue to do something through a feeling of obligation... to who, and why? Instinct says back off, so do!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

No, I don't think he's too old for your son. Your son needs to learn to say no to any aged friends. If he is doing other weird things I would worry, but if he just wants someone to do some of these things with (maybe his children are too young and wife isn't interested?) then it's not bad. What is bad is that you all sound uncomfortable about it. So saying a polite no might be the way for your son to handle it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Hi K.,
Your son, as an adult, can socialize as he feels comfortable with another adult and his family. However, if your son is asking you if it's okay to turn down some or all of these invitations because *he* doesn't want to attend, this is your place to step in and teach him how to decline respectfully.

As far as your privacy is concerned: did you teach your son not to air the family's dirty laundry when you were raising him? If not, your son will have a hard time redirecting this guy to mind his own business, if he is crossing the line between friendly conversation and "nosiness."


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

If the neighbor's intentions are good, then no he is not too old for your son. I have always been able to get along with people older than myself just because I am naturally more mature than people in my age group. Like right now, I'm 18 and my boyfriend (The father of my baby) is 30. I also have just friends that are far older than I am. I think that being around older people has helped me become more responsible and more mature.

However, I am not sure if your neighbor's intentions really are good or not. Yes, he could just be very friendly. Yes, he could just want to show support of your son. Yes, he could just really enjoy hanging out with your son. But, the way that he asks about you and your husband doesn't sit well in my mind.



answers from Dallas on

The only other thing I can think of not already in a response is that the neighbor might be curious about his new neighbors (you guys) because he's thinking about his young children and what kind of influences you might be. I live in an old established neighborhood and always wonder about new neighbors and how my children might be impacted. Just a thought. Good luck!



answers from St. Cloud on

I think it's fine for him to be friends with him IF he wants to. HOWEVER, it is not right for the neighbor to ask such personal questions about you and your husband. So your son should think of a way to decline answering those questions if he chooses to still hang out with this guy.



answers from New London on

your son is 22. Just tell him to watch out and be aware because there are people that are out there that take advantage of other people, especially if your son is doing things because he feels obligated to do so. If he feels obligated just tell him to tell his boss that he feels that he needs to separate his work life from his social life and that he hopes he understands. Perhaps your neighbor is just lonely and is asking questions about you both in hopes of "partying" with you or hanging out. Either way, it is up to your son to set the bounderies, all you can do is warn him about the potentials dangers and conflicts of interest with hanging out with your boss. No one is ever too old to hang out, but people can definitely be too creepy.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I think that if you and your son both feel that something isn't right, I would follow that instinct. I think I'd help him find ways to politely decline the invitations, as well as the questions. I don't think the age difference itself is necessarily weird. I often found myself being friends with older people at work. At 25, I had a friend who was at least 15 years older. We had lunch together often, went out occassionally in the evenings. She was someone I trusted and enjoyed spending time with. But I also didn't have any feelings that something wasn't quite right.


answers from Dallas on

Well not sure about his intentions. He could just be offering some support. You son is not a child but an adult so it's hard to say. I would diffidently say that the questions regarding you and your husband are not appropriate. And you son should say so to him. If your son is now in a position of feeling very obligated to him because of him giving him a job, the relationship is NOT healthy and maybe should be reconsidered by your son. Even if it takes him leaving his new job and seeking employment elsewhere. Though I would chose my steps wisely since this is next door neighbor and you don't want to stir up some grief for yourself or your son. If you son agrees then offer him help on what to say and how to back out of the relationship without causing much grief on any of the parties. Also do you know any of the other neighbors? If so have you tried just asking them about the neighbors without directly asking about him. Might help you get an idea of his character (?).
Best Regards,



answers from Boston on

You sound worried mom, I might be also. The only cure for this is your son getting another job. He needs to grow up an little bit and take matters in his own hands. I think its fine for you to advise him.



answers from College Station on

Why in the world would this neighbor be asking about you and your husbands life if he is just trying to be friends with your son? IDK the situation, but that part sounded fishy to me! I am 19 and have 40 year old friends! Its truely not a big deal, expecially when they work together! I go to church and at my church am friends with all the older ladies and couples bc I like their company better then the girls my age. They see me as an adult and treat me like that (married with 2 little girls so I deserve it). However I noticed when trying to be friends with people my age they are imature and party a lot and I dont! I also work with a lot of people older then me only one my age.... she is great and is like me on so much! I think if he wants to be friends thats fine (age should not matter on friendship or anything actually) that sounds a little wrong judging someone by there age! I do however wonder why he asks about you and your husbands life thats private and he needs not know things about your life! Just my opinion...


answers from Dallas on

I don't really have time to read the other response BUT I will give you my opinions.

1. All you can do is advise your opinions to your son as like you stated he is an ADULT.

2. Tell him not to tell the guy any of your private business. That is kinda weird but at the same time he could be just making convo. I mean I have friends that as late as I can remember would say: hey what do you parents do, are the cool blah blah blah

3. I am 26 and I work with mostly older people, i sit and converse and talk about life with them and most of them are 35-60.

Just tell him to be cautiouse once he feels weird then is the time to back out.



answers from Washington DC on

I'd say that your adult son's boss (because he really is his boss, and not primarily his friend, if he hired him) is not necessarily too old to be his friend. Sometimes it happens in the workplace that the boss will organize more social events with employees, so that is not necessarily unusual.

But this guy certainly sounds questionable in your mind, and maybe in your son's as well. It's tough with the job thing, and it might be hard to find a new job, so it is a dilemma. But I would say that anything that makes you too uncomfortable is not worth it - more often than not, trusting your instincts serves you well.

Btw, I would say that your son is legally an adult, but intellectually, research has found that people do not fully mature in brain development until around age 25, so he is still in need of good advice from mom and dad, especially if he is in a vulnerable place of feeling obligated to someone because they hold the key to employment.

Best wishes.



answers from Eau Claire on

Hi! I would certainly, under any and all circumstances, let my son know that I am always leery of the "the neighbor guy."
What bothered me...above everything else you wrote, was: "......this neighbor gives us the feeling that he is not very comfortable when we try to talk to him."
Have you looked his criminal history up online?
I too have a problem with people that can't look me "in the eye", especially when they are involved with someone that I love.



answers from Dallas on

Your kid is a 22 year old legal adult. He can make his own friends, good or bad. It's time to let him grow up.

When I was 18, one of my best friends was 41! Your son will either like or dislike this person, but it's up to him, not you, to figure out his friendships.


answers from Phoenix on

i too agree that if the nighbors intentions are good he is ok like her i am in a 25 yr difference relationship and have some older friends you need to ask your son if he is uncomfortable with the situation though and if he is then something needs to be said and if he looses his job then he didnt need that one anyway. you dont really know these people and perhaps by them asking questions about your past time is their way of getting to know you and your dislikes and so on just tell your son to try and push out there that you would like him to not share too much info and if the neighbors are persistant stand up to them its ok to say something you have a right



answers from Dallas on

he sounds like a nice man. Maybe you should make friends with him as well. Why is the world moved away from being neighborly and close knit in the hood?
most of my friends have been older than me all of my life - 8-25 years older. I was often told I was an old soul. They are wonderful people that give great advice from their life experiences - I can have more thoughtful conversations and meaningful moments with them. They help when my parents aren't around and I'm sure I bring some sense of youth or fill a nurturing need in their lives as well. none of the friends my age like to birdwatch or garden nearly as much as my older friends! 22 yr old boys often just drink and talk and have rather silly concerns. Maybe he's having some more adult conversations? On the other hand, if the person is from a different walk of life than what your son has experienced thus far - this relationship could offer him first hand witness of way to be or not to be as he grows into manhood. - After all - this man is a business owner and a parent. . not bad things to be!
now if your son doesn't want to hang out with the man so much. . this could be an early lesson in standing his ground and being true to himself and doing what he really wants to rather than what someone else wants. . or in learning that sometimes we are obligated to do things we aren't thrilled about to show respect. . also good lessons and often learned a bit later than 22.



answers from Denver on

I would be suspicious about the neighbor's motives. That's all I am going to say.

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