Most people struggle with making friends and unfortunately, not everything gets better with age. Having friends is scientifically proven to be important; reducing stress, taking away loneliness, facilitating healthier lifestyle choices, and a lot more, but things like social anxiety, personality clashes, geographical location, and cultural and language barriers make it difficult to frequently connect with other people.
Still, it’s possible to learn how to make real friends at any age, and here are some tips for making real friends after 60.
Use Your Interests to Your Advantage
One of the easiest ways to make real connections with people is by bonding over shared interests. For one thing, it means having a topic of interest at the very first encounter!
So think about what you’re passionate about and use it to find like-minded people you can form real connections with; if you could hours and hours in your garden join a garden club or go to farmers markets, if you can’t go a day without poring over books find a book club or frequent local libraries, if you love to cook surprise your neighbors at home or your senior living facility with freshly cooked meals or volunteer at shelters – you get the picture.
Plus, the great thing is that all of these things have been made easier because of websites and social media platforms. You can join clubs in minutes or find nearby meeting spots with ease.
Reconnect with Old Friends
Life happens, and it’s more common than you’d think to lose touch with people you care about. Luckily, you can always reconnect with old friends! Why not reach out and arrange a coffee date or brunch and find out if you’re still compatible as friends and can pick up where you left off?
Plus, old connections often have their own network of friends you can then be introduced to.
Social media and websites come in handy here again, as you can now easily find most people. Try searching for their name and email address on social media sites, or conducting a Google search with identifying information like their hometown. Alumni websites and online directories are also viable options.
Be Open and Vulnerable
The key to making real friends is being open and vulnerable. Of course, you don’t have to narrate intimate details of your life over the first brunch or even weeks into the friendship, but for any friendship to be meaningful, important personal details will need to be exchanged by both parties.
If you have trouble being open and vulnerable, you’re not alone! Just try to share your feelings honestly, talk about impactful life experiences, and listen actively. With time and genuineness, you’ll get there together.
Making friends as an elderly person can be daunting but using your interests to your advantage, reconnecting with old friends, and being vulnerable is a good place to start.