Five Tips to Making Friends in Later Life

To overcome loneliness, we need good friends around us. Whilst the need for close relationships does not diminish as we grow older, the opportunity and means for making friends does. If we lose a partner for whatever reason, sometimes relationships we shared with them are lost or damaged and the fear of feeling isolated or lonely becomes greater. Wherever we are on our life transition journey we need people who care for us on our team and need to put time and effort into making new relationships. Here are five tips to get you going.

1. Be proactive and take the first step. If you want to make friends, you have to get out there. Friends will not come knocking on your door while you sit at home watching TV!

2. Talk to people. Socializing needs practice. You can join a club or go to evening classes and you still will not make friends if you do not actually talk to people. Each time you talk to someone new, you have a chance of making a friend. Most conversations will not lead anywhere but once in a while you will actually make a friend.

3. Join as many groups/activities as you can. The wider you cast your net the more likely you are to find someone who has the same interests as you. If you have something in common with people, it can make it a lot easier to start a conversation

4. Volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to meet others. By working together you build relationships with people, and you might meet others who enjoy doing the same things as you.

5. Use the Internet. In general, the world wide web is a great place to make friends. Be careful to follow safety guidelines

It is unlikely that one person will meet all your needs for friendship. Maybe the walking group you join will satisfy you to some extent, talking a concern through with a colleague and going to the theatre with a neighbor will fill the rest. One friend might be a good listener while you may have to go to someone else to have a good night out.We have to make an effort to meet a range of different people across the social spectrum to meet all our needs for friendship. Each one of which will fill a social need in some way but one person is unlikely to meet them all