4 Ways to Make New Friends After You Retire
Making new friends is never easy. Do you remember your sweaty palms as you walked into a new school for the first time? However, it is an entirely new challenge after retirement.
Many people choose to move when they retire to be closer to their family, downsize their homes, or relocate to an area with a better climate and lower cost of living. However, moving is often synonymous with leaving behind a lifetime of relationships and starting afresh in a new environment.
Now that you finally have some time on your hands, you are likely eager to make some new friends during your retirement. Not only does it make life more enjoyable, but breaking isolation also has some proven benefits for your health. But how does one make new friends after 55+ without the socialization of a workplace or young children? Well, here are our tips for helping to make friends after you retire.
Join a Club (or Several)
The best way to make friends during retirement, particularly if you are in a new place is to extend your social circle. Before retirement, you likely met new people through a combination of circumstances, at your workplace, your children's school and activities, and so on. Now, it is up to you to make new connections.
A quick Google search will likely give you a whole array of clubs and meet-ups open to new members in your area, catering to a broad range of interests: book clubs, gardening clubs, crafts, and so on. You can also look into the advertising boards of social centers, from public libraries to community centers. It may take some trial and error before finding the right fit for you, but don't get discouraged after a disappointing experience or two.
Finally, if you can’t find the perfect club for you, why not start one yourself? After all, if you are looking for something in particular, other people in your neighborhood may be looking for a similar retirement activity. For example, if you enjoy entertaining, have you thought about starting a Wine & Dine group?
Find a New Passion
How many times, during your active years, have you thought about learning a new skill or picking up on one left aside during your busiest years? Learning is, after all, a lifelong activity. Maybe you always wished you could play an instrument or refresh your high school French in the hope of traveling to Paris. You may have an interest in local history, but no time to investigate until now.
The good news is that it is never too late to learn a new hobby! Besides the advantages of acquiring a new skill, it is also a great way to meet other people, students, and teachers, many of who could become new life-long friends during your retirement. A new passion hobby can also keep your brain and your body active and alert.
Depending on your interests, check different resources, such as your local community college or adult learning center. If you want to learn a specific craft, stores that sell supplies can also be an excellent resource to find classes or give you the name of someone who might be able to provide lessons. And if you are knowledgeable and passionate about a subject yourself, you can also offer to teach students some new skills as well!
Volunteering is a popular retirement activity and with good reason. It is an excellent method to maintain personal connections and keep the skills you have acquired throughout your career active. Besides, there is no better way to give back to your community nor make new friends.
If you don't know where to start, you likely only need to ask around to find new volunteering opportunities. For example, if you are a member of a church, they are often happy to welcome new volunteers. It is also a great way to get more involved in the running of an event you already enjoy attending. You may even get some free or seriously discounted tickets in the process.
No matter your tastes, there is likely an organization near you that would appreciate an extra pair of hands. Animal shelters, public libraries, historic homes, botanic gardens, soup kitchen, etc.: many of these associations depend upon the goodwill of volunteers for the smooth running of their operations and volunteering gives you the opportunity to meet a whole slew of people you would not have met before.
Move To a 55+ Retirement Community
If you are moving to a new area for retirement and are worried about finding yourself isolated, moving to a 55+ community might be the right fit for you. The benefits that active adult communities offer are numerous and include services and amenities, specifically catered to your new 55+ lifestyle. More importantly, you will find yourself surrounded by people in a similar situation who are also interested in making new friends during their retirement years.
Many retirement communities also feature onsite lifestyle directors that will help you settle in your new home and make connections. These directors can help you find the right clubs to hit the ground running and form new friendships as soon as you move in.
If you are interested in a social, fun-filled retirement, Del Webb retirement communities might be the right fit for you. With dozens of communities located across the country, you are sure to find a retirement community near you that matches your geographical preferences and can help you in your journey of making new friends after you retire.
Contributed to The 55+ Society by Alix Barnaud
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