Friends are essential in our lives, for several reasons. As we get older, people find it difficult to maintain friendships and make new ones, especially when approaching a new phase of life. After retirement, social interactions that we once enjoyed as schoolmates, parents or even colleagues can change radically. In fact, it’s quite common to experience a short period of loneliness and uncertainties when entering retirement. Therefore, it’s crucial to try and keep friendships that help us feel better and supported as we go through challenging times.
Although our social circles tend to shrink after a certain age, it’s also true that many friendships become stronger or even begin in retirement. Why and how does that happen?
One of the greatest things about retiring is that you finally have more time to dedicate to yourself as well as developing new interests and hobbies. Taking up a new hobby doesn’t only allow you to meet new people or strengthen an existing friendship with a fellow retiree, but it’s also beneficial to your mental health and general well-being.
Meeting someone new when you’re both doing a new activity, means you instantly have something in common with them the conversation can be much more comfortable, and it flows naturally. Talk about why you’re there and the reasons why you’ve decided to try new activities. Sharing more about your personal life becomes easier and you may want to tell the other person about your previous job, your family and your interests. Similarly, finding out that you have things in common will potentially lay the foundations for a strong and durable bond. This also happens because as we age, we get over the fear of being judged by others and, as a consequence, opening up and sharing become easier.
Reminiscence is also a key factor leading to solid friendships. Someone in their 60s will undoubtedly have more things in common as well as similar points of reference with a peer rather than with a younger individual. How often do we hear elder people talk about a historical event or a TV show that was popular in the 1950s? Discovering this can inevitably make you feel at ease, willing to know someone better and eventually to consolidate that bond even further.
Another reason for blossoming friendships in retirement relates to the popular statement ‘quality over quantity’, which distinctly resonates after a certain age. There may have been a time when you wanted to be surrounded by many friends, but our discernment in what type of people we want in our lives becomes much clearer over time.
It goes without saying that we should always dedicate time to friends, even at a younger age, however, we really start to understand who we want to be close with over the years. For this reason, we invest more time in cultivating our friendships after retiring. We spend more time with friends, plan activities and vacations and bring families together.
When planning your retirement, never forget to invest in friendship, too. A happy retirement isn’t just about money and being able to afford a peaceful and stress-free life for you and your family. One of the greatest blessings in life is to have friends you can count on and with whom you can be yourself.