"Sailors plan for safety. For escape. For survival. Sailors rely on plans, on strategies that have worked before. Trust me, most mariners are conservative. We stick to the tried and true." Randall Peffer, "Listen to the Dead"

Saturday, August 28, 2021

10 Ways to Make Friends in Retirement

     I'm still on vacation, but I thought this was a useful blog post, written by Kimberly L. Curtis for the Wealth Legacy Institute, so I got permission to reprint it here. (She did reference my blog, which is always a good thing.) Otherwise, I myself will be back after Labor Day. Cheers!

What’s the key to a happy retirement? Is it a big trust fund or a country club membership? While having enough money is certainly a factor, there’s a host of data indicating that when it comes to happiness in retirement, money isn’t everything. 

One researcher from American College of Financial Services identified three pillars to a happy retirement: money, health and social well-being. These three pillars give people the foundation to live a vibrant, fulfilling and stress-free retirement. 

We see lots of articles about money and health, but social well-being is often neglected. Developing relationships can take some time and effort, but whether you're approaching retirement, or already retired, it is an investment that often brings immediate results -- and certainly pays off in the long-run. Here are ten tips to help you build your social network and make new friends in retirement.  

1.  Take a Class for Adults

Following your passion is one of the quickest ways to find people who have something in common with you. Whether your hobby is cycling, painting or classic cars, take the next step and find an event, class or hobby group. For retirees in Denver, for example, classes for adults include everything from language learning to brewery immersion. Or you can also teach a class in your community like Tom explains in his Sightings Over Sixty post Opportunity Knocks.

2.  Small Group Travel 

Even if you didn’t enjoy group tours or all-inclusive travel when you were younger, they may have new appeal now. Most of your transport, reservations and meals are taken care of, plus pre-planned itineraries and a group of fellow travelers to share memories with. Of course, you’ll want to find a travel company geared towards seniors (or at least not aimed at partying college students)

3.  Facebook 

Love it, hate it, or never been on it, Facebook (or Instagram or other social site) can be a great place to keep in touch with people from all areas and all eras of your life. Facebook has a robust Groups section where you can connect with people based on similar interests. To find in-person activities, use Facebook’s Events Section. Clicking on the Events tab on the left side of your Home page will show a list of public events going on in your area.

4.  Meetup.com

Meetup.com is a free digital service you can use to find local events and casual meet-ups. With over 56 million users worldwide, Meetup.com is the place to connect with people who share your interests - and there’s a whole section just for seniors! You can easily browse groups in your area, but you need to register for an account to join a specific group or event. 

5.  Get a Pet

Owning a pet can be a great way to meet people and stay active at the same time. Dog walkers routinely meet neighbors or find themselves striking up a conversation with strangers. Going to the dog park is another way to make new connections - plus your furry one gets to make friends too! If you can’t or don’t want to permanently adopt, volunteering at an animal rescue or participating in temporary foster programs can be equally rewarding.

6.  Serve Your Community

Getting involved in your community is a great way to enrich life in retirement - and meet new people. Many retired and semi-retired folks find joy and purpose by volunteering their time and expertise to causes they care about. The experience puts you in direct contact with other volunteers, members of the organization, and in some cases, the individuals you are helping.  

7.  Look Outside Your Age Group

Hanging out with people younger than you keeps you connected to new trends and technologies and exposes you to new ways of doing things. Retirees who interact with people of all ages, especially young children, say they have less stress, anxiety and depression. So why not offer to babysit the neighbor’s kids after school? Or bake something and take it to the young family down the street. 

8.  Dating Sites 

Online dating has become routine in the last 20 years. For retirees who are divorced or widowed, the idea of dating again may be exciting, scary or a mix of both. If you’re looking to maybe meet that special someone, there are a number of online dating sites for older singles, like SeniorFriendFinder and SilverSingles. And you never know, a date that isn’t “the one” could still end up becoming a friend.

9.  Utilize All of Your Relationship Circles 

Although you may not realize it, you’re supported by rings of people with whom you share varying degrees of connection. If you think back to the close friendships in your life, they often began as classmates, co-workers or acquaintances from church. By recognizing the importance these “outer circles” can play in your life, you evolve your relationships and open yourself up to more joy and appreciation. It’s possible your new friends are already in your life, just waiting to be discovered.

10.  Don’t Be Afraid to Make the First Move

For some of us, striking up a conversation with a stranger is intimidating. But new friends aren’t just going to come to you - sometimes you have to have the courage to put yourself out there. Many people are craving connection, but they’re scared to take the first step. So, compliment someone’s outfit or ask how their day is going. Invite someone to coffee. Be willing to try new things or even start your own group. 


Miss Merry said...

Great ideas, but with Covid numbers rising, we are kinda trapped in our homes right now.

Rian said...

I feel the same as Miss Merry. Great ideas - all, but not at this particular time. Outside of our immediate family, socializing has been put on hold except for Facebook, texting, Skyping, Zooming, etc.

DUTA said...

No problem to meet people and make friends. No problem at all.
The problem lies in the fact that retirement is our last phase of life and we should be spending time and energy on ourselves, and less wasting time on other people.
I have a friend with obesity, and instead of dealing with that and its bad consequences, volunteers for the municipality.
De-cluttering of the home is very important for a lot of reasons, yet people constantly delay that, joining all kinds of clubs and groups which are a complete waste of time, money and energy.
The list could go on and on.

Celia said...

Good ideas but Covid :-(. I did find an outdoor exercise class for older folks and our local Audubon does masked and spaced bird watching groups.

Arkansas Patti said...

Yeah, me too on Covid putting a damper on meeting folks. Usually when in a new town, I would join clubs that had similar interests. I miss those groups.

Sue said...

Dear DUTA, "less wasting time on other people." You sure got that right! For many of us, we had allowed in one or more toxic people during our younger years. Such happens, it's only a matter of basic math - there are ALOT of people out there, who are only out for their own selves.

Tom said...

Of course I hear you about Covid. But in the last week we've gone to an outdoor concert with another couple, and spent an afternoon at an outdoor party. I also played golf with my son; and tomorrow we're having sister and brother-in-law over for lunch on our patio. All of these people (inclu. us) are vaccinated. I wouldn't consider any of that particularly dangerous, or a waste of time, but rather, some human interaction that keeps us sane.

Jeanette Lewis said...

I especially like your advice about meeting younger people. Too often retired people tend to spend time with other retired people. Although it's sometimes more difficult to develop friendships with younger folks, it's worth the effort as they have perspectives that open up new ways of thinking about the world.

Sue said...

Dear Tom, oh yeah, human interaction is very important - and so is maintaining boundaries.

Barb said...

I refuse to lock myself in the house. I wear a mask but fo a crafting group and a quilting group and plan to do Olli.in person as of today. I'm going to a real restaurant for my birthday.inside. I do strongly agree with the all ages thing. I do a monthly art in the patio st a eine bar or brewery and am by far the oldest as its mainly 30s and 40s and have a fantastic time.

Tom said...

We're doing the Center for Learning in Retirement (our local version of Ollie) on Zoom again this fall. Not as good as in person, but better than nothing. We go to restaurants occasionally, but always outdoors. Don't know what we'll do after summer is over.

pia savage said...

First I think friendship is incredibly important. Much more important than decluttering which many of us found ourselves doing just so we could live in a pristine house during the worst of times, But I live in South Carolina where I had to go back to sheltering in place, Actually I had a booster yesterday (they let everyone over 60 get one but that's not publicized.) I'm angry that I have to stay home--once again delaying 2020's plans because of the selfishness of some people.

Sue said...

Dear pia savage, so, taking the shot - and needlessly tinkering with an immune system that has worked quite well ... uhm, to do such could lead to alot of (needless) medical issues, down the road. Oh, and at 70-something, guess who ends up footing that bill, for this old hag? Yep, young WORKING, productive people ... don't want to be that SELFISH, thankyoukindly!

Wisewebwoman said...

Maybe it's me but I live in a senior independent living environment and the atmosphere is stultifying. I tried to start some learning groups, theatre, a little choir, craft group and no sirree bob, they'd rather sit around and gossip. I don't have enough energy to pursue outside interests/friendships but count myself lucky to have a cherished few. I do believe in on line learning though and attend stimulating lectures on many topics on line.


Kay said...

These are all really helpful advice. When this pandemic is over, it will be wonderful to get back into life.