Friendships are an essential part of our lives and studies have shown how these can help contribute to our health, wellbeing and our overall happiness. But as time ticks on, you may be left thinking what happened to the good old days of creating those meaningful connections with other people. It can be difficult to hold onto those friendships that served you so well. And when it comes to making new friends? That can be an entirely different ball game altogether.
There are many reasons you may be holding yourself back from meeting new people. Perhaps your interests have changed over the years. Maybe you find that approaching a whole new set of people requires too much time and effort. Or you might be scared to step outside of your comfort zone and find new people at this stage in your life.
But no matter your age, getting social is a vital part of a person’s wellbeing. One that is especially true once you start planning for your retirement. That’s where our handy guide comes in. Here are 5 effective ways for you to reach out and meet new people…
Local meet-up groups
A great way to meet like-minded people is to navigate the world of local meet-up groups and clubs within your area. Check out your local newspaper to find details on any upcoming events within your local community and if you struggle to find any groups with similar interests, taking a look at any local websites is another useful tool.
The kind of activities on offer can range from walking and hiking groups to workshops offering practical classes such as photography and arts and crafts. Not only is this a great way to meet like-minded people but it can also give you the chance to roll up your sleeves and get active. There are even dedicated Friendship Centres dotted around the country with the sole focus of making new friends in your area.
If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, you could stumble across a book club or group that likes to meet in a nearby coffee shop for a weekly chat. And if you can’t find a group to meet your needs? Why not start your own? You could place an ad detailing what your interests are – you’re likely to find at least one other person who shares your passion!
Man’s best friend
If you’re an animal lover, it could be worth investing in a pet. This is especially true if you pick up a pooch, as daily dog walks are almost guaranteed to spark up social interactions, whether you encounter fellow dog walkers or those with an interest in your pup.
Most people will stop to talk to about your dog, which not only provides the chance to meet people but also helps with any potential icebreakers, especially if you’re still a little shy to get out there on your own. It might even help you to get a little bit more social even if this isn’t your natural state.
Whatever area you live in, you’re sure to find a specific neighbourhood route or local park where you can take your dog for his daily walk and are therefore more likely to run into the same people, start conversations and make friends. And if you can’t have a pet, you could always volunteer at a local shelter or offer to walk someone else’s dog as a way to get out there and shake it up.
For those who have approached retirement age and find themselves with more time on their hands, travelling could well be on your agenda and you may not want to do it on your own. In this case, take a look into senior travel groups in order to find a like-minded companion to plan those exciting trips away. These are also an ideal place to make new friendships in retirement.
Not only this but many travel clubs charge a reasonable annual membership fee with offers, discounts and exclusive content. From local excursions to round the world trips, senior travel clubs can offer an entirely new perspective when it comes to meeting people, as well as providing safety in numbers and help with your planning!
Social Networking Sites
Who says social networking has to be for the young? Practically everyone is living their lives in some form of online capacity these days, which means more and more opportunities to network online. As technology grows, online communities have also expanded to meet the needs of all kinds of people.
There are social networking sites that cover just about any topic, from literature to food and everything in between. You can also find places that offer advice and websites you can follow to find out about someone else’s journey. You might even come across someone with a similar story, which could lead to an online conversation and eventually a more meaningful friendship offline.
If you’re not sure where to begin, just do a quick Google search of your favourite hobby or past-time and as you delve into the depths of the internet, you’re bound to come across other people who have similar interests. Depending on which website you choose to check out, you can create your own private profile, find tips on retirement plans and even create groups around your interests.
If you’re looking for ways to give back to your community, volunteering is a fantastic option. It’s also a great way to meet people who want to contribute to the same causes as yourself. And whether you’ve approached retirement age or are looking at planning yours soon, there are volunteering options around to suit most needs.
According to research conducted by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), two out of every five people over the age of 60 have been involved in some form of voluntary work, with some volunteering for two or more charities. And a study published by the journal of the international association for relationship research showed that engaging and investing in close relationships are associated with a variety of psychological and physical health benefits, from healthier behaviour to a lower incidence of chronic illnesses and higher levels of happiness.
For a great introduction into the world of volunteering take a look at this website and get searching for your own project. From social care schemes to mentoring projects and clubs that encourage you to get active, there is something for everyone. So, whether you’re retired or not, volunteering can be a great way to get out in the community and meet new people all while helping others!