Whether you’re seven or 70, a common fear about moving is the fear that we won’t fit in. We won’t make new friends. We fear to leave behind the comfort of what we know because we’re uncertain of what lies ahead.
But making friends isn’t as hard as it sounds. While a seven-year-old has a bit of an advantage when they are placed in a classroom full of other seven-year-olds, there’s still a way for senior adults to build purposeful and meaningful friendships.
If you’re at the store, don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation. People respond to friendliness, especially if that friendliness is genuine. A compliment about a hairstyle may lead to all kinds of conversation.
Look into a Silver Sneakers program. With over 15,000 participating locations, Silver Sneakers offers a variety of ways for seniors to stay active and build friendships.
Internet proficiency is optional as long as you can ask for help searching the internet for groups of people who share some of your interests. If you love photography, old movies, or if you’ve spent a lifetime fishing or birdwatching, there are likely groups in your community who would welcome a new member and your input.
But if you are internet proficient – be social! Join social media and join groups that are based on communities or common interests. As always, be careful when you’re meeting people online, and don’t give out too much personal information.
Take a continuing ed class at the local community college. It’s a great way to meet new people who share a common interest and learn a new skill at the same time! Win-win!
A book club is a great way to meet people, especially for those who are introverted bookworms! Book clubs stimulate the mind and can help you explore new ideas and meet new people!
The ideas are endless, but sometimes, we just need to think outside the box. Churches are always looking for volunteers and committee members. Consider joining a community garden. Attend a council meeting. Go to local events and festivals. The important thing is to be willing to put yourself out there. Do not be afraid to ask to join, rather than waiting to be asked.
Making friends as an adult is really no different than making friends as a child. Step outside your comfort zone and meet some new friends!