Remember when we were kids, how easy was it to make friends? Youd pick a classmate or random kid on the playground, kick a ball together and Voila! You were friends.
Believe it or not, you don’t have to shy away from making friends once you reach your senior years. It is not the lack of opportunity to make friends but our mindset that holds us back. As children we never worried too much about the rejection, as older adults, the fear of rejection, being less tolerant of people, quick to judge and even more worried about our appearances, is exactly what demotivates us to walk up to someone and become friends. The hunt for solid friends can be a task, but just like everything else in life good things take time and nuturing. Finding quality friends is an obstacle at any age, but older adults have a much harder time. Making and keeping friends as an adult can be hard. On average adults have just two or three solid friends who they feel totally comfortable with but know that friendship is an essential part of life. You can’t choose your family but you most definitely can choose your friends. These are people that you have hand picked to be part of your life. Friendship can be a powerful medicine, almost like a proverbial “vaccine” for your overall health.
Making friends later in life can be challenging, but not impossible. Fortunately, there are ways to make friends after 30, after 40 and even as a senior. Fret not!
This is how to make friends after the 50 year mark —
Lead with a smile- The easiest and best way to make yourself more approachable is to have a smile on your face. When you’re trying to make new friends, make an effort to have a warm and welcoming expression. It makes you more appealing and friendly.
Don’t overthink it- Channel your fearless childhood self when trying to make friends as an adult. Do not let the fear of rejection keep you from playing the game.
- Don’t be afraid to make the first move- Much like dating, friendships require you to take chances and put yourself out there. It takes initiative to talk to someone new which can be daunting and awkward at first but don’t let that demotivate you. If your invitation is rebuffed or you don’t have a strong connection, don’t take it personally. Move on and try again with someone else.
- Join a class, community or volunteer group- Look for opportunities to regularly see the same group of people. People who share common interests, hobbies and values as you. Be it a book club, card playing group, fitness class, laughter club, volunteer group, community committees or even becoming friends with other pet parents.
- Look at the people you already know or reach out to old friends you lost touch with- Whether it’s a friend from your hay days, a colleague, your children’s friends’ parents, or your neighbour. Look around you, there are so many potential friendship prospects. While building new friendships from scratch can be an option, developing a deeper relationship with the people already in your life. Who knows your new best friend could be right around the corner.
- Reach out to friends of friends- Your current friends can be a great resource when it comes to making new ones. You can meet people through your existing network of friends and expand your social circle.
- Say hi to strangers and strike up a conversation with them– Want a quick and easy way to make friends past your prime? Say hi to strangers, maybe your co-passenger on a flight, in line at the grocery store or even on the street. Dont be afraid to strike up a conversation. What’s the worst that can happen? They don’t respond to you. Don’t take it personally and move on.
- Have an open mind- No one likes to be judged at face value. When meeting new people, have an open mind. Try to be a little more forgiving, flexible and give the person time to open up and grow on you.
- Travelling alone to meet people from different countries and cultures- Exploring the world alone may be daunting a thought but it’s an incredible way to learn about new cultures and meet new people. When you go on a vacation with the goal to meet new people, you will put yourself out there to connect with new people. You might just find your new best friend on a boat in Bali or on a train in the Swiss Alps.
- Don’t be afraid to ask to tag along- There’s no shame in asking for an invite. Ask your friends or people you know if you can tag along with them for their plans. Most people won’t mind the additional company.
- Don’t forget to reciprocate- Friendship is a two-way street. Healthy friendships require both sides to put in effort and to be invested. In a “give and take” relationship, you also don’t want to be all give or all take. Be authentic and vulnerable, but don’t use your friendship to take advantage of someone. Being a good friend is a way to make friendships last long.
- Join a dating site for friends- in this new age of technology and social media, there’s an app or website for just about anything. There are apps to help you forge non-romantic connections. It’s time to download these apps and start meeting some new friends.
If you find that you’re struggling to make new friends, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Any relationship or friendship takes work to maintain and nurture.
Make time and a conscious effort to take care of these important relationships in your life.
Finding friends can be challenging at any age but don’t let that deter you.
Man isn’t an island, and shouldn’t be one.
You new BFF might be right around the corner!