How to Find New Friends at Any Age
Isolation in seniors is a real concern that presents dangers and heightened rates of illness and even death. This makes finding companionship essential for the millions of seniors at risk. Even if you have lots of friends and a strong family unit, it’s worthwhile and healthy to grow these relationships. Luckily, many of the ways you can meet new friends are fun and enriching experiences on their own. Making friends happens to be a very nice bonus!
Explore Your Interests
One of the most effective ways to meet like-minded new friends is to explore and cultivate passions and interests, both new and old. These could be anything from cooking to book clubs!
Join a Hobby Club
Hobby clubs are groups of people who all share the same interest in a hobby and either use that club to discuss their hobby or enjoy it as a group. One example is the aforementioned book clubs, which sees readers meet to discuss a common book they’re all reading. Another example would be a hiking club. Basically, if it’s a hobby, there’s a good chance people are meeting to enjoy it together.
Similar to clubs, taking a class allows you to meet people with similar interests to you. Plus, there’s an added benefit of learning a new skill or becoming better at one. One of the most common classes you can take are cooking classes. These are often led by a professional chef who will teach you how to make a specific dish, teaching new skills along the way. Other classes include woodworking, sewing, or even writing workshops.
Join a Senior Center or Senior Travel Group
Another way you can meet new friends is joining groups specifically for seniors. Whether you’re looking to stay close to home or travel, either group offers you a chance for new experiences with new friends.
Finding a Senior Center at Home
Senior centers are local and national institutions that bring seniors together for activities and events. Many times, they’ll host clubs and classes similar to those mentioned above.
Senior centers often host clubs and classes like cooking classes or hobby clubs.
Many centers meet essential needs of their community’s senior citizens, like providing meals, health programs, and employment assistance, but they also have many educational programs, recreational activities, and fitness programs. If you’re looking for fellow seniors in your area, a senior center is a great place to start.
Joining a Senior Travel Club
Travel can really help you meet new people and form strong bonds as you experience new things together. While you can certainly travel on your own, a senior travel club can help you save money and adds a degree of continuity. This allows you to build on new friendships over the course of several trips. Traveling together not only introduces you to new friends, but is shown to bring you closer as you share new and exciting experiences, too!
Reconnect with Old Friends
One way to find new friendships is to rekindle old ones. Whether you had a falling out years ago or simply fell out of touch, there was something that drew you to them initially. Perhaps a phone call or friend request is enough to help reignite that special relationship.
The Power of Social Media
Finding an old friend and getting back in touch has never been easier ever since social media became popular. With the growing number of seniors flocking to social media, your chances of finding an old friend is significantly heightened. All it takes is utilizing the social media platform’s search tools or looking at the suggested friends or accounts feature many platforms offer. Once you’ve found your old friend, all that’s left is to reach out and see what happens.
Don’t Just Relive the Past
Once you’ve restarted your friendship, it’s important that you look to experience new things together. While it can be comfortable to sit back and reminisce about the past, it may make the relationship difficult to sustain. After all, there’s only so much about the past you can talk about. The future represents infinite possibilities.
While it can be comfortable to sit back and reminisce about the past, it may make the relationship difficult to sustain.
Find common interests that made you friends in the first place and do those together. Go see movies you both enjoy, or concerts for bands you both like. Take trips together or even simply have a lunch together each week to relax and chat. By forming new memories together, you can strengthen the friendship further.
Join a Sports Club or Gym
Staying physically fit and active are important factors to aging healthily. It’s also gets your out to meet new friends. Specifically, taking part in sports or joining a gym are great ways to do both. It’s just a matter of finding the right one. Whether you’re taking an exercise class at your local gym or playing a round of tennis, you’ll be interacting with people who equally care about their health and have fun at the same time!
Joining a Senior Sports League
The beauty of sports, in relation to meeting new people, is that they’re competitive and cooperative. Whether you’re playing a solo sport, like tennis, or a team sport, like soccer or basketball, you’re either competing against or working with other people. Many sports are safe, healthy, and fun for seniors, especially low-contact sports or ones that scale.
Many sports are safe, healthy, and fun for seniors, especially low-contact sports!
As mentioned previously, tennis is a popular sport with seniors since it’s a no-contact sport that focuses more on technique than physique. Golf is another example of this. Soccer and basketball are team sports that are popular with seniors, with many having 50 and over or senior leagues.
Meeting Friends at the Gym
Gyms don’t have to be just about working out in silence. While there are certainly people that won’t be interested in meeting new people at the gym, it is possible to establish a friendship with regular gym-goers. Your chances are further increased if you take an exercise class, which are communal and generally more interactive. Just make sure you follow gym etiquette so you don’t accidentally upset someone.
If you’re looking for a way to meet people that care about the same things you do and you have free time to spare, volunteering is worth trying. Whatever your passion is, there’s a charity or organization that’ll happily allow you to volunteer and take you on. Once you do that, you’ll be working side by side with people who have the same passions. Whether it’s animals, the environment, or your local community, following your passion is a great way to meet new friends.
● ● ●
As we get older, it can become difficult to meet new friends. Sometimes, it’s as simple as falling into the same pattern, which means we run into the same people. For others, you don’t know where to find them. Either way, you’re never too old to make new friends, enriching both your own life and the life of your new friend!
Psychology Today — Making friends after the age of 65: What are the options?