Making New Friends in the Second Half of Life

Making New Friends in the Second Half of Life

When you’re young, it is quite easy to make friends

You meet people at school or during recreational Attribution to Kimberly Recoractivities, forming friendships over shared interests. Once you start a family and have kids, you can bond with other parents over the ups and downs of parenthood.

As you enter the second half of your life, however, making new friends can sometimes be a struggle. Friends are so vital for well being emotionally, physically, and mentally. The opportunities to meet people become less and less frequent, and the friends you’ve had for a long time may start to relocate after they retire.

When you do get the chance to meet new people, you may find that your social skills aren’t quite what they used to be, leaving you feeling awkward and resistant to trying to make new friends. When you enter the later years of your life, you may feel that you are too old to start making new friends, leaving you feeling lonely and isolated. With loneliness being a key contributor to stress and anxiety in older people, finding companionship can be one of the best things for your health and your mental well-being.

So how do you go about making friends at this point in your life? We’ve compiled a list of suggestions below to help you build your social life and find the friendships you want.

1.    Follow Your Interests
By involving yourself in the things you love – whether it be arts, physical exercise, volunteering, etc., you open yourself up to people who share a your interests. Having something you can bond over can be the first step to building a meaningful friendship with someone.

2.    Don’t Be Afraid
One of the biggest obstacles people face when making new friends is the fear of rejection. By reaching out to other people, and actively pursuing friendships you are opening yourself up, making yourself vulnerable. Although that’s a scary place to be, it’s also the way deep bonds are forged between two people.

3.    Say ‘Yes!’
Try saying yes to every invitation you get, even if it doesn’t sound like something you’re interested in. You never know what sort of fun you’ll have, and any sort of social interaction is great practice.

4.    Volunteer
Volunteering is a great place to meet new people. Find something you’re passionate about, and see what sort of volunteer opportunities are available. Bonding over your shared desire to help others is a great start to any friendship.

5.    Join a Club
There’s a club devoted to nearly any interest. Popular sites such as allow you to find interest-oriented clubs that meet on a regular basis in real life. You can check your local community center or library to see if they have any resources or recommendations for local clubs.

6.    Get Fit
One of the big things about building new friendships is having the confidence to do so. By joining some sort of exercise program, you can ‘kill two birds with one stone’. Exercising will make you feel strong and energized, boosting your self-esteem, and providing you with the opportunity to meet new people.

7.    Don’t Discriminate Because of Age
Friends come in all forms… and ages. Just because someone is younger or older than you doesn’t mean that they won’t make a good friend. Don’t rule someone out based on the fact that they’re not in your age bracket. As we get older, age gaps tend to mean less and less, and there are mutual benefits to having friends in various age groups.

8.    Stay Connected With Old Friends
We live in a day and age where technology allows us to stay connected no matter what. By keeping in touch with old friends, you’ll remember what you want and need out of a friendship, and what you contribute to a friendship. Just because someone doesn’t live next door anymore, doesn’t mean that you can’t still keep in touch. Use Skype or FaceTime to schedule a time where you can talk face-to-face, device-to-device. You can use technology and still maintain a personal touch.

Author: Kimberly Recor, staff writer at Designing Brighter Tomorrows

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