How do you meet new friends as you get older? It can be a little more challenging to find friends or meet new people when you’re a boomer. Finding friends naturally was easier when you were younger. You didn’t stop and think about it you just hung out!
As we get older we tend to be less outgoing, more hesitant to make the first move and just plain stuck in our habits. But having friends is good for us. Keeping close ties with friends and community is a proven winner when it comes to living longer. We feel more connected and supported in life’s hiccups. Friends give us a sense of belonging and purpose. When we get with our tribe we feel we can face the world.
What are some ways to meet new friends? Here’s five.
Meetup is the go to site for meeting peeps who share your love of let’s say watching The Crown or any other British obsession you have (or is that just me). Fishing for trout or learning how to code. More prosaically: groups that share your love of dancing, hiking or real estate investing are waiting for you to join. Meetups are all over the world. Hop on the website and search your local community to find groups that interest you. Meetup groups are run by an organizer who pays a monthly fee, but typically it’s free to attend unless the organizer specifies otherwise. Search for “over fifty” and I’ll bet you find kindred spirits.
Where to start? One of the glories of retirement or working a reduced work schedule is finally having some “me” time. If you’ve got some extra time on your hands and you want to make a difference, go and find a cause you’re passionate about and volunteer. You’ll meet other like minded new friends AND feel like a rock star for helping your cause. Google your favorite organization and reach out.
Learn Something New
We’re never too old to learn. The best part? We’re not trying to please anyone but ourselves (sorry mom and dad). Learn something you always wanted to know more about. Go somewhere you’ve always had a fascination for. Fascinated by history?
Join the National Trust and go immerse yourself. Better yet pick up a part time gig, or volunteer. Into nature? Try the National Parks for similar options. US residents can try the National Park system for volunteer opportunities or ideas on how you can learn more. How about learning while you’re traveling?
Then there are countless university and classroom opportunities to pick up some new skills, languages or just have fun learning for the sake of learning. Meeting new friends when you’re sharing a common interest becomes a lot less stressy.
Want to try out a classroom setting? Fortunately there are tons of options that are free if you’re of a certain age. Go learn something new and make a friend or two. In the US similar options are available, here’s good state by state resource.
Social Media Can Be Your Friend
When it comes to meeting new people, sometimes your virtual “friends” can turn into FIRL -friends in real life. I recently joined a Facebook group for over 50 women and discovered there are women in my neck of the woods who I could potentially hang with.
I’ve seen a few ladies reach out to others who are in the same time zone so why not you? Start chatting online or in the group and see where it goes. Sounds a bit like dating doesn’t it? But it doesn’t have to be a popularity contest or fraught with nerves. Just realize most women and men for that matter get a little lonely at times as we all do and it’s nice to have a virtual natter.
Facebook is probably your best bet to meet new friends. Search for groups to find folks you may have common interests with and ask to join.
Join a Gym & Get Active
You knew I was going to get around to this one didn’t you? I have a friend who loves going to the women only club Curves because she has a built in cadre of women she can gab with and get a workout at the same time. Curves is international so check it out if you want to get fit and meet friends at the same time.
What moves you? Do you like to dance, play tennis or hike? Chances are there’s a group (try Meetup) or club you can join to share your moves with potential new buddies. How’s your golf game?
Of course with all of these suggestions you’ll have to get out of the house. At some point. I know that’s the hardest part sometimes if you’re out of practice. But trust me once you make the first move it will get easier. Just pretend you know what you’re doing and smile! Before you know it you’ll be making new friends like a pro.