A friend of mine the other day brought up in conversation how most people only hang out with their own age group. He talked about how they are missing out on other people's perspectives, and I realized how true that is.
I've always been one to sort of see past age when it comes to building friendships with people. Obviously age affects how you might relate to someone, but it shouldn't stop you from actually getting to know them. People from different age groups have so much to offer. There is so much to gain by spending time with someone that has a different perspective.
Those that are older than you can tell you about things that have happened before you were even around. They have more accumulated life experience. Although not everyone older than you is wise, still many can advise you on avoiding the mistakes they witnessed or made in their own lives. If you listen to them, you can avoid learning lessons the hard way.
Those that are younger than you can let you in on the current status of their generation. Maybe introduce you to what has come out that you are unaware of. They can give you a fresh pair of eyes on anything you are trying to tackle.
Fostering friendships with people both older and younger than you can help you learn more about yourself and how to become a better person, too. More aged companions can help you stay levelheaded remind you of the bigger picture. Those that are younger can help ensure that you stay loose and fun loving. When we stay cooped up in our small circle of peers, everyone tends to take on a similar mentality. There isn't growth there, but with the slight tug and pull that results from interacting with those of different ages, we can be sure that we will change in a positive way.
I have truly benefited from forming relationships with coworkers, teachers, family friends, church goers, etc. that are all considerably older than I am. They have helped keep me calm and sane. They've poured into me and my life in many ways and I'm in debt to many. I couldn't imagine how I would have gotten by if I was just friends with my own peers. Your high school friends won't always (or just can't always) help you through hard times. Sometimes it has to be an adult. It can be very helpful to have adults on your side that are not your parents.
I have also benefited from forming relationships with younger classmates and church goers. They make me laugh and keep me upbeat. I also feel helpful when I am able to pay it forward by advising and pouring into them like I was poured into.So I encourage everyone to befriend your teachers, coworkers, friend's parents, classmates, church goers… of all ages. Make an effort to learn from those older than you and brighten up their lives. Try to pour into those that are younger and guide them on their path. It is very rewarding. You will learn about yourself (strengths, weaknesses) and better yourself.