Tips to Make New Friends When You’re Over 60
Making friends when you’re over 60 can be challenging but it has big emotional, mental, and physical well-being benefits. Here are some tips to make expanding your social circle easier.
Sharing confidences over coffee. Laughing at jokes with someone who gets your sense of humor. Or just spending an afternoon shopping, playing golf, or simply engaging in your favorite hobby with someone you really enjoy being with. The pleasures of friendship are deep and many at any age. But while finding kindred spirits seemed almost effortless as a younger person, it can be a lot more challenging to make new friends when you’re over 60.
Keeping and making new friends is not only important to being happy; it’s an essential part of staying healthy as well. According to the National Institute on Aging and a wealth of scientific research, lack of friends and loneliness are risk factors for a wide range of serious mental and physical maladies. These include a weakened immune system, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, as well as Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and even death.
You can reduce those risk factors by surrounding yourself with a lively circle of fun, caring friends. In fact, following these tips to make new friends when you’re older, can be much easier than you might think.
Reinvigorate your social network.
Over the years, old friends can drift away. Reconnecting with people you went to school or worked with can be the simplest way to jump-start your quest to expand your circle of friends. After all, you already have a foundation of shared experiences and interests that you can rekindle and expand.
Whether you reconnect via searching for and “friending” old connections on social networks or giving someone you haven’t seen in years a phone call, these are easy ways to reconnect with people you already feel comfortable with. Make a point to reach out, attend reunions, and reconnect with people you’ve known over the years but may have lost touch with.
Volunteer at an organization you’re passionate about.
Whether it’s the local historical society, animal welfare group, political cause, or religious organization, almost every non-profit welcomes willing volunteers with wide open arms. There you’re likely to find people your age who have the time and flexibility to attend meetings, pitch in on projects, and support a mission you care about. Forging new friendships with people who love the same things you do will not only enrich your life but also help the organization achieve important goals that can become part of your legacy.
Transform your hobbies into friendship opportunities.
If you love quilting, woodworking, or gardening by yourself, you’ll love it even more when you do it with others who enjoy it as much as you do. Many senior centers host a wide variety of hobby club meetings and book discussion groups you can sign up to attend.
If you’re comfortable going online, you can find people and local events on networking sites like Meetup.com. Here you can connect with new people who share your interests through online and in-person events. Creating an account is free and easy to do.
Combine fitness and friendship.
While exercising alone has immense health benefits, doing it in a class with others multiplies those benefits many times over by giving you the opportunity to meet new people.
Most YMCAs offer low-impact group exercise classes that might include water aerobics, yoga, tai chi, or Pilates. Popular Medicare-affiliated programs like Silver Sneakers which offers over 80 different types of classes like outdoor walking groups and nutrition workshops with instructor-led classes at community centers and nearby parks are another great social network-expanding option. Bending, stretching, and strengthening your body with other people your age is a wonderful way to feel better physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Find friends while strengthening your faith.
Whether religion has always been an important part of your life, you’ve drifted away, or you’d like to develop your sense of spirituality, attending or joining a church can strengthen your faith and help you build new relationships.
In addition to providing spiritual comfort and direction, joining a faith-based community gives you an instant support group, providing fellowship as well as caring help dealing with an illness, loss, or other needs.
The quest to make friends when you’re over 60 is one well worth pursuing your emotional, mental, and physical well-being. With a little effort, you can create or widen your circle of support and have fun doing it.
MorningStar Senior Living — Independent Living Community
Love the sound of built-in companionship, predictable budgeting and the security that comes from living in an independent living community? Our job is to take care of the day-to-day details of home maintenance inside and out, giving you more time to do the things you love. Whether it’s fulfilling a calling, finding a new opportunity through volunteerism, or playing and relaxing, contact us to schedule a tour of a community near you.