“What becomes better as a person ages?” That was the question posed by a morning disc jockey whose program I had just tuned into during my recent drive from my home in Missouri to Colorado Springs.

More than a few listeners hoping to win a prize package called in with their responses (some of them hilarious and a few somewhat risqué) before someone guessed correctly: relationships.

According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (and available via The National Library of Medicine), this was a surprising find. Previous studies had found that as individuals age, their social networks tend to shrink (for a variety of reasons); scholars thought, then, that “reductions in social network size placed older adults at risk for loneliness and dissatisfaction with their social lives”.

The new study found, though, that (again, for a variety of reasons) social relationships become better as we age and that older people express far more positive feelings about their relationships — with both family and friends — than do younger people.

What about you? Have you found it to be true that, as you age, relationships become “easier”? Why do you think that is? Do any relationships become more difficult, in your opinion? Share your thoughts about relationships in the prime time years via a comment below and visit my Facebook page (Patti Miinch) and join in the conversations we’ll be having each weekday.