Tips For Making Friends as We Age
When we were young, we didn't give a second thought to making new friends. In school, forming bonds on the playground was as easy as asking someone to play with you. As parents or office employees, we developed relationships with others over shared interests and tasks. In retirement, making friends can feel harder, but it doesn't have to be. Here are some helpful tips for making new friends after the age of 65.
Pursue your hobbies
When working 40-hours a week, it can be hard to pursue activities that bring us joy. In retirement, there is more time to spend on hobbies, whether it's cooking, sewing, gardening or golf. Whatever hobbies you enjoy, be it a more individualized activity or a group one there are likely local clubs or classes in your area where you can meet other people who enjoy the same thing. If you don't know what hobbies you'd like to pursue, take it as an opportunity to try new things.
Attend community events
Summer is a great time to seek out events in your local community. With the weather warming up, it is simple to find fun free things to do no matter where you are. From movie nights and free concerts at a local park to lectures and author signings at your local library, check around to see what things are going on in your community. It will be easy to talk to people once you’re there since you all came out for the same thing.
Be open-minded and have confidence
When we are younger, our friends tend to be around the same age as us, but as we age that no longer has to be the case. Don't be afraid to make friends with someone younger or older than you— as long as you have a shared interest it can lead to a great friendship. Be open when talking to new people and ask them easy, non-prying questions to get the conversation flowing. It can be scary getting to know new people but having a bit of confidence can open a lot of doors.
Spending your time volunteering for a cause you believe in can be a great way to meet new people while also making a difference. Many nonprofits are constantly on the search for help. Whether you want to give your time to a local animal shelter, a boys and girls club or a food bank, there are plenty of organizations that could use whatever time and skills you have to offer. Volunteering can help you connect with likeminded people and can lead to lasting friendships. To search for volunteer opportunities in your area, you can use websites like Volunteermatch.org.
Attend religious services
If you are religious, attending services can be a fulfilling way to build a community. Most religious organizations also host community events outside of service, such as potlucks or religious study groups. Because there is already a shared faith between you and the other members, it may be easier to connect with people and begin building friendships.
Keep in touch with old friends or reconnect
Making new friends doesn't mean you have to let go of old ones. The internet is a great way to reconnect with old friends with whom you may have lost touch. As we age, people move away or lose contact, but with social media, it is easier than ever to reach out to old acquaintances from a former high school flame to your third cousin who lives three states away. Reaching out to old friends can make us feel more connected even if physically we are far away.
It doesn't matter what age you are; making friends doesn't have to be hard. Just remember to smile, be friendly, and put yourself out there; new connections will start to form. And, remember these tips for making friends as we age.