Making new friends was a cinch when you were in school. The same was true for bonding with other parents as your children grew. Now, however, meeting new people and creating new attachments can be unnerving or even awkward. The benefits of making new friends, however, greatly outweigh these difficulties.
For example, according to recent research, close relationships and large social networks have a positive impact on memory and cognitive function as people age. Furthermore, social networks may facilitate healthy behaviors, such as trying new exercises.
It’s never too late to make new friends. If it’s been a while since you’ve tried, and you’re feeling a bit rusty, check out these five tips on making new acquaintances and engendering new friendships to get started:
Be Local and Active
The first step in meeting new people is to think carefully about your interests and seek local events or organizations that peek those interests. Attending music performances, shopping at local Farmers’ Markets, volunteering in a community organization, or simply joining the gym for a new class are all great places to meet new people with similar interests.
Accept and Offer Invitations
Think carefully about invitations you’ve turned down in the past. Did you decline because you were too busy or not interested in accepting? Or was the fear of stepping out of your comfort zone simply too great? If you answered the latter, remember: You’ll never know until you try!
When neighbors invite you over for a cup of coffee or out to dinner, take them up on the offer. You never know what interest you may share. Trust isn’t earned easily, but an optimistic outlook is essential in building a new friendship. After your meeting, reciprocate the offer to foster your relationship.
Explore Continuing Education
No matter our age, we never stop learning. If there is a subject you’ve always been interested in learning more about, consider enrolling in a class or two at your local community college. The classroom environment promotes a sense of camaraderie among students, which provides a great opportunity to meet new people of all ages who are interested in sharing the learning experience.
Get Social Online
According to a recent report, the use of social media sites among Internet users 65 and older has tripled in just the last four years. And while many older adults use social media networks like Facebook to connect with distant family and old friends, social media is also a great way to meet new people. With the right knowledge and instruction, social media websites can be a powerful tool in finding individuals, groups and communities that share your interests. Click here for more information.
Begin a Part-time Job
Retiring doesn’t always mean you want to stop working. That’s why many retirees pursue part-time work. Not only does a part-time job help you stay active, it can also introduce you to new people you otherwise would not have met. Co-workers are known to adopt “team spirit,” and friendships can be easily made on the job.
For more tips on having a successful retirement at home, download this free guide.