Making New Friends in Retirement

August 15, 2023

When you retire, you have more time to explore new hobbies and spend time doing the things you love. During this phase, you may go through some changes, like moving to a new area or retirement community. After years of the same routine and being involved in a work community, you may miss that sense of belonging to a group. 

Truthfully, no matter our age, making new friends can sometimes feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these tips for making friends in retirement to help you stay active and make the most of your new home.

Why Making Friends in Retirement Can Be Difficult

It’s easy to become comfortable with your life as you follow the same routines and spend time with the same people at work. You’ve spent years establishing relationships with coworkers, and now those relationships have changed. Luckily, you can find this type of community again.

If making new friends seems intimidating, you’re not alone. Finding people who understand you and your beliefs can take some work. But the intimidating aspects of making new friends are actually what makes this experience so exciting. Meeting new people brings new stories, cultures, experiences and ideas into your life. 

Friends Are Good for Your Health!

Did you know loneliness has similar effects on the body as anxiety, obesity and light smoking? In fact, research shows that loneliness can decrease cognitive function and increase physical illness and depression. Having friends boosts your immune system and can protect the body from Alzheimer’s, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep disorders, stroke and heart disease. 

So, not only does spending time with friends make you feel good, but it also has true physical and mental health impacts. With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to reach out to members of your local community to boost your health and feel a sense of belonging to help you navigate this new stage of life.

How Do You Make Friends When You’re Retired?

Making new friends in retirement may take some time. It’s worth the effort for the sake of your physical and mental health as well as your overall happiness. Follow these tips and learn how to meet new people while retired.

1. Consider Social Media

While you may prefer to meet friends in person, don’t ignore the various connections you can make online. When brainstorming how to make friends as an older adult, social media might not have come to your mind as a place to make new friends, but rather as a place to stay connected with current ones. But social media and apps can introduce you to new communities nearby.

While you’re probably familiar with dating apps that connect you to people romantically, did you know there are also apps to help you find friendships with people like you? Explore the following apps for meeting people near you:

  • Friender: This activity-focused app links you to individuals in your local area and age group who share your interests and values.
  • Nextdoor: This private social network is only for the people in your neighborhood. Use it as a springboard to narrow your search for a friend based on local activities or common hobbies.
  • Meetup: This platform allows you to find nearby activities and groups that you enjoy. Start a new group or join an existing one to learn a new language, try local food or improve your skills.
  • Bumble BFF: The dating app Bumble has a program that helps you find friends the same way. Create a profile with some information about you and a picture of you. Then, look through the profiles of other users and reach out to the ones you like.

You could also look to groups on social media, like the “events happening near you” page on Facebook, to find people nearby interested in the same events and activities as you.

2. Reconnect With Old Friends

Remember those friends that your work schedule always made it difficult to connect with? Since your schedule is more flexible now, consider reaching out to them. 

Connect with them on social media or give them a call to catch up. Share some photos with them and make plans to get together to bond over old memories and discuss what has happened since you last saw each other. Your new schedule may even mean you can make this meeting a weekly occurrence. 

3. Find a New Hobby to Meet Like-Minded People

Making friends with people who share common interests with you lets you spend time doing activities you both enjoy. Spending time doing what you love plays on your strengths and helps you find joy and happiness. Consider these ways to find like-minded people based on your hobbies and interests:

  • Attend local events: Make friends where the people are, such as a local festival or sporting event. Since these activities serve the purpose of an organic connection, going to an event allows you to casually and naturally interact with the people in your area. Try to attend local events that pique your interest or incorporate your hobbies. Fun activities with the chance to make new friends? Sounds like a win-win.
  • Adopt a dog: While a dog can be a companion in and of itself, having a friendly pet can help you connect with other dog owners. Take your pet to the local dog park at the same time every day, and as you start seeing the same faces every time you go, you’ll have something in common to discuss.
  • Get a part-time job: You may have moved on from your full-time career, but you can stay active and involved in the community by getting a part-time job. Try something enjoyable and easy physically, such as working in a greenhouse or bagging items at the grocery store. You can gain a new group of coworkers to befriend or chat with customers.

4. Join a Club, Group or Volunteer Organization

Social settings are excellent places to meet new friends after you’ve retired. Join a group or club that revolves around your hobbies or shares your values. Maybe this means getting involved in a local church or ministry that reflects your beliefs or joining a woodworking club. From cars and pets to art and reading, you’re sure to find a club in your area with people who have similar interests to you. 

You may also want to volunteer for a cause that matters to you so you can meet people who share a common purpose. Getting involved in something you care about helps establish meaningful relationships with those around you.

5. Consider a Retirement Community

A retirement community gives you autonomy over your life while also encouraging community and friendship among people who are living through a similar phase of life. This creates a community of people who can all, at some level, understand or relate to one another. 

Garden Spot Village is a retirement community in Pennsylvania that focuses on bringing residents together and living with purpose. We offer a variety of activities and community events that encourage socializing and friendships. That way, you can conveniently find friends right outside your doorstep instead of going to another part of town.

Whether you enjoy volunteering, attending local events or walking through nature, you’ll find what you need to make friends and enjoy yourself during this new stage of life. Create everything from casual friendships to meaningful relationships that make you feel like you belong.

6. Be a Friend to Yourself

Don’t forget to be a friend to yourself by taking care of your mind and body. With the pressure of work, you may not have always prioritized your own health and happiness, but now is the time to focus on your needs. By learning to love yourself, you’ll have the confidence to enjoy the day, whether your friends are busy or available, and to make new friends.

Make a habit of eating nutritious foods and working out often. Plus, take some time to consider your strengths and weaknesses, what you like about yourself and where you want to improve. Forgive yourself for your past and accept yourself as who you are. 

While we encourage socialization among your peers, sometimes being a friend to yourself requires some alone time. Make a habit of finding time for yourself to reflect and express gratitude. With that self-reflection, you can feel confident in who you are and let your personality shine to new potential friends.

Learn More About Our Community at Garden Spot Village

Meeting people while retired is much easier when you’re part of an established community. Garden Spot Village provides a warm, inviting place for you to live while connecting with people in your same stage of life. Take care of yourself through our health and wellness center, and be on the lookout for our upcoming events to make connections with new friends. 

If you’re looking for a new place to live, reach out to us online for more information.

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