For kids, making friends is often as easy as saying, “Hey, do you want to be my friend?” If the other kid says yes, you’re off and running! In adulthood, the process becomes more difficult for a variety of reasons. Adults have busier lives, more responsibilities, and established routines, and they tend to be more selective when evaluating potential new friends. Fortunately, in our sunset years, our lives open up again. Now that you have more free time, it’s time to expand your social circle! Scroll down to learn how to make friends as a senior. It’s easier than you might think!
How to Make Friends as a Senior
Check out your senior living community’s calendar.
One of the wonderful things about joining a senior living community is that the monthly calendar is filled with fun activities and events, from walking clubs and card games to movie nights and holiday parties. Keep an eye on the schedule so that you know what’s coming up, and make an effort to attend classes, parties, clubs, and outings that entice you. Since all of these events are built around a specific activity, you don’t have to worry about making spontaneous small talk. Simply show up, join the fun, and let the conversation progress naturally.
Look for other opportunities to meet new people.
While a senior living community provides a wealth of opportunities to make new friends, it’s obviously not the only place where you might strike up a friendship. Explore other options in your wider community, such as the following:
- Join a support group.
- Attend a religious service.
- Enroll in continuing education.
- Join an art class, a choir, or another creative group.
- Participate in community theater.
- Attend author readings or educational seminars.
If you like someone and want to be their friend, don’t hide it! People tend to like (and want to be friends with) people who like them. It makes sense, right? If you think someone enjoys spending time with you, wouldn’t you want to spend time with them? So, try to avoid being aloof and standoffish. If you like someone, don’t hesitate to tell them so. Remember that it doesn’t have to be some grand gesture. Here are some things you could say to show your affection to a potential new friend:
- I love spending time with you.
- You’re really funny.
- I’m so glad you’re here.
- You’re always so helpful.
- You tell the best stories.
- I love your outlook on life.
- I’m so glad we met.
Or, simply ask if they’d like to hang out again!
Become a “regular.”
One of the reasons you probably found it a lot easier to make friends in your youth is that you were often going to the same places on a repeat basis. Every weekday, you went to school, obviously, but that’s probably not the only place you frequently showed up. Maybe you were on a softball team that had weekly practices. Maybe you had a part-time job. Maybe you liked to bike around your neighborhood after school. Because you were in the same places frequently, you probably stumbled into friendships with the other “regulars” (your classmates, your teammates, your coworkers, your neighbors). Does this ring a bell?
According to some experts, three of the four primary building blocks of friendship are proximity, duration, and frequency. In other words, who are you repeatedly close to for a lengthy portion of time? Those people might be your future friends! So, seek out activities in which you can be a “regular,” a person who keeps showing up week after week. Senior living communities offer prime opportunities for this, from bridge clubs to yoga classes. If you keep showing up, you’ll undoubtedly make a new friend eventually.
Just say yes.
The temptation to stay home can be tantalizing. Who doesn’t enjoy a quiet night at home with their favorite snacks and a fun TV show? But if you don’t push yourself outside of your comfort zone, it’s highly unlikely you’ll make a new friend. So the next time someone asks if you’re interested in that tai chi class or a game of chess, say yes! Even if you’ve never tried tai chi or chess, give it a try! Even if you don’t like the activity, you might make a new friend.
What do you think? Now that you’ve learned some tips for how to make friends as a senior, are you ready to get started? Putting yourself out there is always a little scary, but it’ll be worth it when you walk away with a new buddy.
Are you looking for an assisted living, memory care, or physician-directed nursing community in Kansas City? Check out The Piper. Our team of experienced and compassionate professionals ensures that residents feel secure and comfortable right away. At our warm and welcoming community, which is truly a “home within a home,” we foster social interaction, engagement, and the right amount of care. Our residents always come first. To learn more about our services or to schedule a tour, please give us a call at 913-361-5136 or contact us online.