Despite everything we know about the importance of maintaining social connections as we get older, finding friends in later life can be a challenge. As we age, the easy social connections that we enjoyed as school friends parents and colleagues change. As a result, many older people find themselves facing shrinking social circles and needing to make new friends.
The increase in technology has made our search for companionship, both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, services like Skype and Facebook allow us to stay connected with friends and family throughout the world. However, on the other hand, with everyone focused on staying “connected” online, we are losing the ability to connect in real life.
Are You Ready to Admit that You’re Feeling Lonely?
The fact that you are feeling lonely is not your fault nor is it something to be ashamed of. Once you admit this, you are more than halfway to building the social life that you deserve.
What is a Friend to You?
Once you have decided what kinds of friends you are looking for, you can choose to engage in activities that will give you an opportunity to meet new people of your choosing. For example, are there political, religious, sports, social or other groups that you could engage with?
Thinking about what friendship means to you will make it more likely that you will see opportunities to start conversations in more natural settings – at the supermarket, in the post office, or in the park.
Start with Your Existing Social Network – But, Don’t Limit Yourself to it
One of the easiest ways to find friendship in later life is to reconnect with your old friends from school, university or work.
Don’t automatically give up on old friends just because they have moved away. Even if you have to maintain your friendship from a distance, it’s better than losing contact altogether.
Keep in mind that the first few connections will always be the hardest. The more people you are able to connect with, the easier it will be to find other long-lost friends.
Follow Your Interests to New Friends
What are you passionate about? Do you have a favourite hobby like gardening, chess, knitting, tennis, golf, writing, cooking or reading? Do you have any special skills that other people might be interested in learning?
When you attend an event, club, or activity, don’t be afraid to connect with strangers. One of the ironies of social events is that everyone tends to think that they are the only one that is nervous to talk to others. Talking to new people can be scary, but, don’t be afraid to take a chance on strangers. As long as you are in a public place, the worst that can happen is someone might not be what you are looking for in a friend.friends, happiness