The active-adult years should be the best ones of your life! Of course, sharing your time and experiences with friends is so important to getting the most out of them. A rich and rewarding social life is also essential to keeping up your mood, mental acuity, and even your physical health as you age.
But if you move to a new place in your 55-plus years, especially following retirement, you’re likely to find yourself displaced from the community and friends you’ve known. You’re among strangers. And that can be intimidating and depressing.
To quote a popular cliché, though, strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet!
OK, no, you won’t like everyone, not everyone has friend potential. But many do! Keep an open mind, be both approachable and outgoing, and resolve to make new friends. It all starts with your attitude. Having a positive one goes a long way toward building a new social network in your new home. Once you take care of that, here are some tips for finding your new friends.
10 Ways for Active Adults to Make New Friends
- Don’t hold yourself back assuming everyone your age already has all the friends they want. It’s common in the 55+ years for life changes to separate us from familiar people and places, plus most people are always happy to have more friends. The more the merrier!
- Move to an active-adult community They’re specifically designed to facilitate making new friends. Just make sure you pick the right one for you and investigate its social program.
- Hopefully, it goes without saying, but just in case: Take advantage of the social program! Join clubs, attend the organized outings and events, chat at the pool or fitness center, take classes, and be friendly while you’re out and about in your community.
- Enroll in continuing education classes. Many leading active-adult communities offer them, and they’re usually available at low cost at local colleges. It’s enriching and a perfect way to meet people with shared interests.
- Go where you’re invited. For many reasons, lots of people pass on social invitations, especially to things that seem less than thrilling. But you have to get out there, and someone has made the effort to reach out to you. Don’t miss out. Focus on the people, not the event!
- Join an area Meetup group for active adults or based around a particular interest or hobby. For example, if you’re one of our Central Florida neighbors, we have a 55+ Meetup group. It’s all about making new friends, so come on out and join us!
- Volunteer with a local organization or cultural institution to support a cause you believe in and meet others who feel the same way about it. Helping out feels great, and doing good with new friends is even better!
- Consider a part-time job doing something you enjoy. It’s another way to meet people with similar interests, and hey, who doesn’t like having some extra spending money for going out with their new friends?
- Reconnect with your faith. There’s lots of socialization at churches, synagogues, mosques, Buddhist temples, and other faith-based places. This usually includes organized events, and most go out of their way to welcome new community members.
- Keep up with old friends over the internet. Facebook, Skype, and other sites make it easy. Not only does it feel good, but often you’ll learn that someone you know happens to know someone near where you live, and this can be a great source of new friends.