If you are getting older, you might find that your social circles are getting smaller. Maybe you have retired and no longer meet people at work. Maybe you have relocated to a new town. Perhaps your friends have moved away. No matter the reason, you might be craving some new friends and acquaintances.
Making new friends at any age may seem like a daunting task. There are many ways to make it easier. First, recognize that you are not alone. Many people over the age of 50 find themselves in a similar situation. Social isolation can negatively impact your emotional and physical well-being no matter your age.
Volunteer Your Time
Shared interests. Put yourself in more positions where you will naturally meet people with similar interests in your age group. This is a great place to start. If you are able, volunteer work is a wonderful way to make friends. Plus, you contribute to your community at the same time. Here are a few ideas for volunteer opportunities that are available in most communities:
- Walking or caring for animals at local shelters
- Participating in a park or roadside cleanup day
- Serving meals at a local shelter or community kitchen
- Helping out with a local community gardening project
- Volunteering with a local church or community organization
If there are limited volunteer opportunities in your area, consider organizing one based on something that you are passionate about.
Pursue Your Passions
Is there a hobby that you enjoy on the weekends, or maybe a passion project that you left behind long ago? There is no day like the present to take an art class or join a bird-watching group. This is a great way to ensure that any friends you make will likely have similar interests. Here are a few ideas you can consider:
- Join a local community theater, either on stage or behind the scenes.
- Join a local community choir.
- Take an art or another class at a local community center or college.
- Sign up for an exercise class, such as yoga or water aerobics.
- See if a local nature reserve offers tours or meet-ups.
- If you play an instrument, see if there are any open mic nights or jam groups that meet nearby.
Take a Trip
Get out of the house. If you love to travel, you could consider going on a trip to meet some new people. Pick a trip where you know there will be group activities upon your arrival, such as a travel tour or a cruise.
If you enjoy traveling and seeing new places, this is a wonderful way to make new friends with memories that will last a lifetime. What better way to start a friendship than with inside jokes and moments to reminisce over?
Group trips. There are organizations out there that put together group trips for retirees or persons in a specific age bracket. Many of these trips are all-inclusive with an itinerary. This means you don't have to worry about organizing activities. You can opt for an extended trip like an international vacation. Or, consider something more regional like a bus tour.
Visit your doctor. It is recommended that you see a doctor a month before you take a trip. They’ll know whether you’ll need additional vaccines how any medical needs may affect your trip. Travel should be an enjoyable experience. Be mindful of any physical limitations that you may have and be prepared for discomforts like jet lag or motion sickness.
Consider Utilizing Technology
Social media. Many people over 50 form new friendships in online communities and through social media networks. You can use social networks to keep in touch with friends and family members who don’t live close to you.
An online friend who does not live nearby, but that you can still talk to about your interests, thoughts, and feelings will provide companionship. It doesn't matter whether you can see each other in person regularly.
Websites. Technology helps you maintain friendships with those who are far away. There are also now websites designed specifically to help you meet new friends locally. You can often search by location and interest to find others with similar interests who are also looking for people to spend time with.
Reconnect With Old Friends
These tips are all about making new friends. Even so, consider reconnecting with a friend that you haven't spoken to in a long time. Don't let the time that may have passed since you last spoke stop you.
Our modern tools make finding old friends easier than ever. Is a friend from high school on social media? Does your high school or college have an alumni association? If you find someone online that you lost touch with, consider reaching out and inviting them to a movie or out for dinner.