While making friends as a child happens naturally, working out how to make friends as an adult can be tough. As we change with age, so does our health, our routines and our social circles. For these reasons, it’s not hard to see why loneliness has been a big concern for up to 1/4 of adults over 65. But don’t let that deter you from connecting with new people! Want the secrets to making friends as an older adult? You've come to the right place.
Tips for making new friends in retirement:
- Be confident
- Go in with a smile
- Be a good listener
- Meet people through shared hobbies
- Get a pet
- Go volunteering
- Reconnect with old friends
There might be a stigma to making friends in old age, but pay it no mind. As with anything in life, making friends is a lot easier with a bit of confidence. Go out with a positive outlook on life, introduce yourself to new people, or get stuck into an activity where you can meet new people. Challenge yourself to make the first move. What’s the worst thing that could happen? There will be millions of people in your position, so don’t be put off!
Go in with a smile
Going into any situation with a smile will make you look a lot more approachable. A smile is a signal that you mean well - you wouldn't want to make friends with people who frown when they see you! A study showed that simply flashing a smile to someone leads to feelings of affiliation and togetherness, encouraging them to smile back. If you’re in a social situation, why not give it a try?
Be a good listener
Making new friends isn’t just about speaking to your heart's content - it’s also about listening and learning to other people’s stories! Ask questions to learn more about your new friends. If you show you are interested and attentive, your new friends will know that you are someone they can count on.
Meet people through shared hobbies
Taking part in activities and hobbies you enjoy is the easiest way of meeting new people. This is because it encourages you to speak to people with similar interests, while avoiding the awkwardness of having to introduce yourself out of the blue. Think about what you are passionate about (whether it’s gardening, sports or chess) and find out if there are any local clubs directed at people in your age group. As well as giving you a window to further your passions, you’ll have a solid base to make friends for life!
Get a pet
In many ways, getting yourself a pet is just like getting yourself a furry new friend. But as well as keeping you busy and active during the day, getting yourself a pet opens up all sorts of horizons with human friends. Having a pet is an incredibly easy conversation starter, encouraging new people to introduce themselves and their pets. Better yet, you can join a walking group where you can meet new people and their cute pets!
If you are struggling to make new friends in retirement, why not start volunteering for a cause you feel strongly about? As well as being a productive use of your time, you can meet a lot of interesting people while volunteering. Volunteering is an inherently friendly thing to do, so it follows that you’ll meet some friendly people along the way. Working together towards a common goal is a natural way of making friends because it encourages you to use trust and teamwork! Whether you are based, there are loads of charities and organisations that would value your help.
Reconnect with old friends
Making friends doesn’t have to be all about meeting new people. You can make strong friendships by reconnecting with old friends who you haven’t spoken to in a while. Staying in touch with close friends can be difficult when we experience changes to both our education and our employment. Why not give your old friend a ring to catch up and discuss old times? Depending on the reason for losing touch, you should be able to pick up right where you left off.
Buy a retirement apartment
Looking to avoid feelings of loneliness in retirement? Joining a retirement community is a surefire way of getting you in touch with other people who are in the same boat. With apartments that are built for people in their retirement years, Churchill Retirement Living is a perfect place to create new friendships, share laughs and make memories!