Friday, February 6, 2015

Making New Friends

I read an article this week which stated that one of the most difficult things for people in their fifties was making new friends.

At this time in our lives, there can be many changes that take us away from familiar environments. It might be that we retire from a job we have had for many years. Perhaps the children finally leave home and you become an empty-nester. A marriage may end by choice or by the passing of a partner. It may be that you move to a different neighborhood in order to downsize or a different state to escape the cold. 

As you enter into this new phase of your life, how will you make new friends?

As always I will use myself as an example. I have experienced several start-overs in my life and I am an introvert so it was even more daunting to try to make new friends.

Just last year I moved into a new neighborhood when I decided to downsize. During the first month, I was invited to attend a neighborhood women's breakfast. At first I thought "I don't have time to do this!" but I put my chores aside and got dressed and went to the breakfast. I met several ladies who have become friends that I look forward to seeing often during our frequent get-togethers.

Volunteer to help. You will meet like-minded people. For example, if you are interested in music, volunteer to help your local Symphony, get involved with a school program or start one at a nursing home.

Go to a place of worship. Actually talk to people and attend any other classes they offer there. Get a part time job at the place you like to shop most. Even if it is for only one evening a week, that is one night you get to dress up a little and be around people. Make the most of every minute! Smile and talk to everyone you see.

When you are speaking to someone give them your undivided attention. Ask about them. Look at them not around them. Don't plan what you are going to say when they stop talking.

It isn't all about you. I see this a lot! As a blogger and as a woman who is very active in my community. I interact with people every day who only talk about themselves and everything they see relates only to them. This makes me want to run away screaming!

Drop all negative thoughts. You know that person who when you say "Isn't this a gorgeous day?" will respond "Yeah but tomorrow it is supposed be cold and rainy again." Look at the positive side. If you don't have anything positive to say, be silent and move along.

In order to have a friend, you must be a friend. Be someone that people are happy to see and talk to. Get out of your house and be a part of something greater than yourself.

Find a project that helps those who are less fortunate than you. Make a difference in someone else's life. Share what you know. Share what you have. Be a mentor. Read to people in nursing homes or write letters for them or just listen to them. You may learn important things about yourself in the process.

Before the end of the month, you will have met new people and helped a lot of people. Soon you will start to be included in more and more events. Friends will come along with your efforts and you will have a full life again. True friendships are like a good marriage. They develop over time if you give them a chance and your best efforts.

Please share your own success stories in the comments below. You may be helping someone else who is struggling to adjust to a new way of life.

Thank you for joining Mr. Mickey and me on this wonderful journey through midlife and beyond. The second fifty years can truly be the best!

Susan Street is the President of

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