Over 65 and looking to make new friends? Try these five simple tips
5 minute read
Friendships and family circles can shrink, especially after divorce or bereavement. But making friends could be easier than you think by trying these five simple tips.
There are many reasons why our social lives get smaller. Life can get complicated by changes such as divorce, loss of a partner and friends, or when family members are busy with careers and kids.
While it can be a bit nerve-wracking, there are all sorts of ways to get back out there and make new friendships.
Here are five helpful tips.
Find a Chatty Café
The Chatty Café scheme aims to have cafés, pubs, community centres, libraries – anywhere people can sit – designate a table that customers can choose if they fancy a chat.
Here’s one woman’s experience: “I have lived in my town my whole life and met a lady who lives on the same street as me at a Chatter & Natter table! We now meet every week. Since my husband died, I miss just talking about what’s going on in the world.
“It took a lot for me to go along to the Chatty Café, but it was the best thing I did.”
Click on Chatter & Natter and ‘find a Chatty table’ in your area.
Drop in on Men’s Sheds
Sometimes, men can find joining groups tricky, so if this sounds like you or someone you know, suggest they search online at Men’s Sheds, which offer practical interests and skills such as mending, building, or brewing beer. Based across the UK, they’re just as much about friendship as having fun.
The membership group even has a podcast that talks about what other ‘shedders’ are getting up to around the UK. The podcast also has guests that share their expert advice, even on those topics some men too often avoid talking about, like prostate cancer.
Join or create a meetup
The MeetUp website caters to all types of people, all over the world. It has meetups for almost everything, ranging from pub nights, LGBTQ+ events, learning languages, bowling, free acting classes, music events, badminton and there’s even one for insomniacs!
Typing in your location shows what’s in your area and there’s an option for people to create a group of their own. Why not go online and have a look?
Be determined and positive to build a new life after losing a loved one
After her husband, Ian, passed away, Renfrewshire-based Irene had a lot of time on her hands.
“I knew I had to keep busy, so I volunteered at a charity shop where I’ve met new friends and it gives structure to my week. It can be a lot of fun.”
While it hasn’t always been easy building a new life without her husband, Irene says having a positive attitude and a bit of determination helps. She is going on holiday to Cyprus with a friend who recently lost her partner. It’s a place Irene loves and often went to with her late husband.
“As two single women, we are sharing a room to make it affordable! I’m sure it will be fun – just different.”
Take some life coach advice: seek activities that mirror your values
If you are struggling to come up with ideas of where to meet people, you can always try Age UK, the charity for older people we support, which works with friendship centres across the country.
Life coach Shreyne Christie of Olivia James Consulting has some useful advice that could help you get over any initial concerns about meeting new people.
“When we make new friends later in life, we tend to look for something different from when we were in our 20s or 30s. We want people who complement our values, those deeply set ways that seem to show up more as we learn what’s important to us as we move through life.
Christie suggests finding new friends is likely to come through doing the activities you enjoy.
“If you want to meet like-minded people, spend time doing the things you enjoy or that you’ve always wanted to try. There just might be someone trying that very thing for the first time too, hoping to meet a friend just like you.”
Looking for more life coach advice? Listen the Age Co podcast episode where we have a chat with life coach Sue Brown who offers some tips on getting out there after a big life change.