Young adulthood is often a time filled with activities and friends, but it can be harder for individuals to make friends later in life. After all, young adults often connect through college classes, internship programs, entry-level career positions, and weekend parties. But when you are in your 50s or older, these types of activities are not as common.
People often pull away from group friend activities as they build careers and create families. Then, retirement has some leaving the workforce. And when social engagements do happen, it’s from time to time rather than a weekly event.
Are you finding it difficult to keep or make friends as you age? If you feel this way, you are not alone. According to one poll, around 20% of adults in the U.S. reported they only had one or two friends, and others reported having no friends at all. When you need someone to talk to, consider connecting with a personal counselor. An experienced counselor can help you work through personal problems.
Steps to Help Make Friends Later in Life
Also, when you work with a counselor, the two of you can discuss strategies for widening your social circle, if you feel making friends would improve your life. A shrinking social circle does not have to remain small, there are ways to connect with others, including taking the following steps.
- Love yourself first.
- Pursue and interest or passion.
- Learn to listen and ask questions.
- Boost acquaintance relationships.
- Connect with people you’ve lost touch with over time.
- Start a book club or walking group.
- Be open to different types of people.
- Volunteer or join a local group.
- Say yes to invites.
- Stay in touch!
Liking yourself can be an important part of the process, which is why loving yourself first is at the top of the list. In order to create healthy relationships, you need to like yourself and build your own self-confidence.
And when you do put yourself out there, do not beat yourself up if the first person you want to befriend does not respond the way you hoped. For example, you may join a local community garden and strike up a conversation with a neighbor who is also volunteering. If you ask them to have coffee after an afternoon of planting and they say they are too busy, that’s ok. Next time, maybe there will be a different person you connect with who has more availability.
Understanding Things Change Over Time
You likely have friends you have lost touch with. This is normal, people move and interests change. Sometimes, you can reach out and reconnect, but in other situations it is best to move on.
Similarly, you may meet a new friend through a language class and really enjoy the company of the group. If so, enjoy it! Yes, there is likely a scheduled end to the class, but focusing on that can make it difficult to have meaningful conversations in the moment.
Kendall Van Blarcom is a senior helping seniors. Contact Van Blarcom Consulting today for help with your personal problems. Or, reach out to provide support for an older adult in your life.