Making friends — for most of us, it’s something that came naturally when we were schoolchildren or college kids. After all, being constantly surrounded by people from the same age group and similar backgrounds makes meeting potential friends a breeze.
As many know, making friends as you get older isn’t always easy. Adult life is just a lot more complicated; work, romantic relationships, childrearing and other obligations make it harder to meet new people, and finding a pool of available peers in your age cohort who share your interests and values can be difficult. After a certain point in their lives, some people stop looking — but you don’t have to!
Loneliness is normal in people of all ages — fortunately, there are tons of ways to meet new people your age who share your interests and values. In this blog, we’ll share helpful tips on how to make friends as a senior citizen.
Decide What Friendship Means to You
When relearning how to make friends when you’re older, you first have to decide what kind of friendship you really want. What do you value most? A friend who shares your biggest passions? Someone to explore a new hobby with? A group of friends to meet for coffee and brunch? A confidant who challenges your preconceived notions? A buddy to go to church with? Maybe all of the above?
While friendship usually happens naturally, you should still be deliberate about the people who enter your life. As an adult, you have the experience to discern which people will enhance the life you want to lead — and which personalities might make it worse. Making friends as you get older is all about making those decisions. Take the time to think about it — maybe even keep a journal — as knowing the type of friend you want to make will help you take steps to meet them.
Reach Out to Reconnect
What’s an easy route to making friends as you get older? Reaching out to old acquaintances and rekindling your relationship. In fact, many older adults find that former classmates, colleagues and childhood buddies make even better friends years down the road. Modern technology gives us a lot of different ways to reach out (including email, Facebook and other social media services) and provides an easy way to keep up with friends from all around the country — of course, there are always the traditional means of reconnecting, like attending high school and college reunions.
Embrace Your Passions
When looking for new people to befriend, it helps to avoid forcing the issue. If you’re unsure how to make friends when you’re older, engaging in your passions will make them come to you — going out to do the things you love will naturally bring you into contact with like-minded people of all ages.
What are you passionate about? Art, film, writing, gardening, cooking, knitting, or sports like golf and tennis? Whatever it is, finding an interest group that provides a structured way to engage in your hobbies will mean that you and your potential friends always have something to talk about and events to look forward to. This is beneficial for one clear reason — proximity and repeated contact are two proven ways for people to become friends quickly and easily, even if they’re from a different age group or social background.
Why Friends Matter
Put simply, friends are key to your long-term health. Senior loneliness and senior isolation are some of the biggest issues facing older adults all across the United States — and their effects, including increased symptoms of anxiety and depression, can seriously detract from your quality of life. As the way we socialize continues to change in the 21st century, the importance of frequent face-to-face interaction will only continue to rise.
So how do you make friends as a senior citizen the easy way? Life at a senior living community like The Buckingham can help a lot. How? Just think of it — spending your time in maintenance-free comfort surrounded by a whole neighborhood of accomplished, welcoming, kindhearted folks who live a lot like you. Of course, there are many more benefits of community living. Contact us to learn more.