As you grow older, you come to terms with all the changes happening around you. Some of these changes are positive, like having more time on your hands and more disposable income (maybe), while others aren’t as positive.
There are a number of challenges facing people after 50. One of them facing people in midlife and beyond is being alone. It can be hard to stay in touch with all your friends and family when everyone is busy living their lives. So, you can always make new friends.
Apart from the obvious downside to being alone, that is, if you don’t have hermit-like tendencies, there have been studies to confirm that loneliness has serious implications on our health.
Most notably, being socially isolated was shown to be the cause of about a 50% increased chance of getting dementia.
If you’re wondering how to make friends in your 50s, I’ll suggest some tips that may be helpful. They are as a result of my own experiences – after all, I am over 50 🙂
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can reinvigorate your social life.
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Making Friends in Your 50s
Making friends is incredibly easy when you’re a child. You just approach another kid and ask them to be your friend. I presume that’s crudely how it went. So why is it so hard to make friends when you’re older.
It’s hard to remember how it actually worked but it seemed so easy and natural. As we all know, this changes as you grow older. The art of making friends and changing friends is no longer a seamless act and part of our young lives.
When making friends becomes more of a conscious effort we start looking for specific traits in what we want in our friends.
Some preferences you figure out in life only after 50. For example, you want your friend to be fun or have a good sense of humor or be hugely wealthy – just kidding.
The older you get, the longer the list of traits and the fewer the potential friends. So, at the end of the day, you’re left with a sense of loneliness.
This isolation makes it extra difficult for people to make friends after 50. However, there’s definitely still hope. You can make friends at any age and still be able to grow a strong bond.
So, let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take to make friends in your 50s.
Step 1: Figure Out What You Want
The first step to any relationship is finding out what you want. This doesn’t have to be a list of traits you’re looking for in a friend. It can be as simple as you want.
For instance, you may want a companion to share lazy afternoons with. Maybe you’re looking for a travel partner or group to go on road trips with.
Knowing exactly what you want before you look for friends can make the process much easier. It’ll help you narrow down your search. Still, this may be a little tricky for some people.
Figuring out what you want is a personal process. This is because every detail in your life can come into play. To make this process a little easier, you can try some of the following:
How Much Free Time Do You Have?
The biggest obstacle when making friends as an adult is finding time to meet up. You never seem to be free at the same time.
So, finding out how much free time you have can give you an indication of what type of friendship you’re looking for.
If you don’t have a ton of free time, you may just want someone to call over the phone and talk about your day. However, with a lot of time on your hands, you can branch out a little more, maybe even make loads of friends and become a tribe.
Plot Down Your Daily Routine
Most of us have a set daily routine that we like to stick to. The best friendships stem from people that merge their daily routines.
Plotting out your daily routine will show you what areas you can adapt to if any. Keep an eye out for any activities you don’t enjoy doing alone. Moreover, you can focus on streamlining your schedule.
Take a look at any activities that may be draining you and see if you can replace them. If you can’t change them out, consider if having a friend there will make it easier or not.
Make a List of All Your Hobbies
It’s probably been a long while since you sat down and wrote out some of your hobbies and pastimes. All the things that, over the years, have piqued your interest.
For some reason, as we get older, we seem to forget about this little exercise even though it can be useful.
Knowing your hobbies will help you hone in on people who enjoy doing the same activities. These hobbies can include anything you enjoy doing throughout the day. Even watching TV is a pastime.
It passes the time. Might be a bit dull though – just saying.
Your hobbies can also give you a sense of your social life. If most of the hobbies on your list are group activities, it’ll make finding friends much easier. It means social interaction will be unavoidable when you’re around people.
However, if you prefer solo activities, it may be a little more daunting to get friendly with someone. It doesn’t make finding friends impossible, but it may mean shaking your routine.
Permanent or Temporary
A key factor that most people ignore when making friends is the duration of the friendship. We all grew up hearing that you make friends for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.
That means that not all friendships last forever, and that’s okay. This is especially true for adults.
So, before you go out looking for people in the street to “buddy-up” with, make sure you know what you want. Looking for a friend to show you around a new area will be different from looking for a lifetime companion.
Step 2: Reach Out to Old Friends
Finding friends in your 50s doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make new friends. It could simply mean rekindling an old friendship.
One of the fastest ways to find a new partner in crime is to call an old one. This may be a little tricky depending on how you left things when you last talked.
Still, having a friend that you have a history with makes life so much richer. There will be a readjustment period, but if you stick it out, it’ll be worth it.
Step 3: Look at the People Around You
If old friends aren’t an option, you may want to turn your attention to the people around you. This is especially useful for people who spend most of their time outside the house.
Start paying more attention to the people you interact with on a daily basis. Your co-workers, family, and even your barista are all fair game.
With your eyes peeled, it’s easy to notice common ground between you and someone else. You may find out that your best friend was under your nose the whole time.
Step 4: Put Yourself Out There
After paying close attention to everyone around, it’s possible that you won’t find a match. Still, this shouldn’t discourage you. The next best thing is to put yourself out there. This can mean many things to different people.
Most people assume that it means you have to go out more, but that’s not the case. Putting yourself out there means that you leave yourself open to potential opportunities.
Introducing someone new to your life can be a nerve-racking experience. You open yourself to outside input, which may leave you feeling exposed. Even though this gets easier as you grow up, the uneasiness doesn’t go away.
Therefore, putting yourself out there could mean you break down some of your mental walls. This means giving people around you a chance to get to know you. You may end up making a friend without even realizing it.
Step 5: Shake Up Your Routine
Breaking down your mental walls isn’t enough on its own. You may get lucky and find someone straight away, but that isn’t always the case. If you’re finding it hard to connect with all of the people around you, it may be time for a change.
Being a creature of habit can mean your life runs smoothly. However, it can also mean that you’re stuck in a rut.
Changing your surroundings can have huge benefits to your social life. Not only do you get to see new places, but you also meet new people.
In the beginning, the changes to your routine don’t need to be dramatic. Just add an extra step before or after work. For example, you can decide to go to a new coffee shop or grocery store.
Then, once you’re comfortable with that shift, you can start to make bigger changes.
Step 6: Try Out New Activities
Once you hit your 50s, you assume you need to shift to more mature activities like miniature golf or bingo. However, the world still has so much more to offer. Learn more on how to change your life after 50.
Trying out new activities can be a lot of fun and a great way to meet new people. Among the activities you can try are:
- Joining a trivia team
- Trying out a new gym
- Finding a book club that discusses your favorite book
- Volunteering at a homeless shelter
- Join a local social networking group like meetup
You can also try looking for activity ideas from the people around you. For instance, you can look at what your significant other, or children, are up to. Even if you don’t join them in the activity, it can give you new ideas.
Try out as many activities as you can before you settle on one. This will increase the chances of meeting someone that you like.
One of the biggest struggles of growing up is losing track of your friends. All you want is someone to create new memories with, but you can’t find anyone.
If you’re feeling alone and wondering how to make friends in your 50s the answer can be as simple as a small change in routine. It’s also a good idea to try out new activities, so go out there and see if you click with anyone new.