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How to Make New Friends
in Your Adult Years
Article Posted on
The older we get, the harder it can be to make new friends. This is especially true when we enter a new stage in life, such as retirement or losing a long-term partner. But it’s exactly at these times of transition that we are most vulnerable to loneliness. According to recent research, having a network of friends is vital for your physical and mental health, self-esteem, and even your longevity.
Here are some ways to meet new people.
If you’re not used to socializing, it may feel like too big a leap to jump right into meeting someone new. Instead, promise yourself that you’ll accept invitations from existing friends and family. You may not be interested in the event itself, but just getting out there increases your chances of meeting new people or connecting with your friend’s own circle of pals. And no matter what, strengthening your existing friendships by spending time together will improve your quality of life.
Take a Continuing Education Course
Many universities and community colleges offer special seniors’ discounts and classes. The classroom is a natural place to make connection. When you have at least one topic – the class – in common, it’s much easier to break the ice and start a conversation with your seatmate. Most professors also encourage class discussions and even group work, where you get to know the personalities around you. Younger students tend to enjoy speaking with older classmates because of the unique perspective they bring with more life and work experience. You may even get to tease them about how you don’t have to take the final exam!
Volunteer or Work Part-Time
You’ll do good – or make some money – while building new relationships. These sorts of positions can be low stress compared with your former career, yet offer the same deeper meaning of contributing to the world by doing work. Focus on volunteer and job posts that are conducive to conversation. You may want to work at a local cafe, run a children’s reading program at the public library, or be a companion to older seniors. You are likely to form meaningful connections with colleagues, regular customers, and the families of people you serve.
Consider Getting a Dog
While getting a pet is no small decision, dogs offer close companionship, and daily walks together provide excellent exercise. With your new fluffy pal by your side, you will be sure to meet other “pet parents” at the local dog park. These parks tend to attract regulars who you will have the chance to build a connection with over time. Who knows? You might even have a neighbour you can walk with to the dog park!
Explore Social Media
Setting up a Facebook page makes it easy to get in touch with people from your past, and to connect with friends of friends. You could join a special interest community on Facebook by searching under Groups. You can find a groups for everything from antiquing to pet ownership, from travel to crochet. Facebook groups can also help you connect with people who live in your area, so you can meet to discuss your interest over coffee or a meal.
Check out Meetup.com and EventBrite.com
Thousands of group activities and events are planned and waiting for you to join on Meetup.com and EventBrite.com. Simply look up an activity that you love, like hiking, painting, language learning or cooking. The search results will show that virtually every city and town in North America offers an event to suit your taste. Not only do you have the chance to pursue your hobbies and learn new skills, you also have an easy way to meet new people in your area who share the same interests as you.