Making Friends After 60
After retirement and a move, a woman has trouble making friends.
Don’t be convinced it’s impossible to make friends as you get older.
After retiring at age 65 in the middle of the pandemic, I moved to a new town where I knew no one. I have yet to make a single friend.
I'm convinced it just isn't possible to make friends after 60. People are associating with their children and grandchildren, neighbors, work colleagues, and childhood friends.
I see no room for new friendships to flourish. I've read many, many articles on how to make friends, and I take the recommended steps. Yet here I am, friendless in a new town after almost two years. Short of moving back to where I came from, do you have any suggestions?
Yes, you’re correct. Making friends after age 60 can be challenging, especially when you’re retired. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible!
We have some suggestions that might help you move forward:
1- Get out of the house
When you have no one to meet up with, it’s easier to make a habit of staying at home. If you routinely get outside, particularly when the weather is nice, you may find yourself bumping into people in your neighborhood. Go ahead, don’t be shy about being the first one to say hello.
That doesn’t mean you’ll make fast friends, but you’ll begin to feel part of your neighborhood, and this type of casual contact with neighbors— even storekeepers—can help ease loneliness. And it may even lead to an unexpected bonding with another person.
2- Join something
Whether it’s a civic group, church, gym, or adult education class, pursuing your own interests will put you in contact with kindred spirits. How about a walking club or a book club? Many libraries have book clubs; some even host bridge or mah-jongg games or lessons. Also, check into local “new neighbor” groups, where you’ll find other people new to the community.
Seeing the same people over and over makes it easier to spot friend-worthy people and turn acquaintances into friends. It’s not unusual to find one or two (or more!) people you like when you share the same passion for a hobby or activity.
3- Leave your comfort zone
Take the first step to say hello, smile, or invite someone who seems friend-worthy for a cup of coffee or tea. Often, other people are hesitant to “break the ice” too; putting yourself out there can help ease their discomfort and start a conversation. After all, someone (and why not you?) needs to make the first move.
It’s worth a try: The worst thing that can happen is that they’ll say no and you’ll be no worse off than when you started.
4- Nurture old ties
Just because you moved doesn’t mean your legacy friends are a thing of the past. Try to stay in contact with your old friends, and arrange occasional get-togethers. This can certainly help fill in the gaps and ease your sense of loneliness.
5- Don’t give up
Don’t fall prey to the myth that everyone already has their friends. Friendships are dynamic; they come and go. You’re likely not the only one looking for a friend; if you’re in this situation, surely other people are, too.
It may feel daunting, and something you haven’t done in a very long time—chances are, you haven’t! But in today’s nomadic world, you’re apt to find many other people in the same boat as you.
Hope these suggestions are a helpful start.
Irene & Sheryl
Don’t fall prey to the myth that everyone already has their friends. Friendships are dynamic.
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