How to Make New Friends after 50
The early years of midlife are a hectic time for many people.
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Around the time many people reach their late 30s and early 40s, they’re balancing the responsibilities of a career and a family. But as people enter their 50s, some of those responsibilities tend to be less significant, leaving more time for recreational pursuits.
Hobbies and other pursuits outside of work are often more fun when enjoyed with friends. People over 50 undoubtedly recognize that it’s not always so easy to make new friends, even though it’s undeniably beneficial to have supportive relationships into your golden years. A 2017 study from researchers at Michigan State University found that valuing friendships was a stronger predictor of health and happiness among older adults than valuing family. Those results align with an earlier Australian study that found Australians age 70 or older tended to live significantly longer if they had more strong friendships.
Making friends after 50 might not be as simple as it was during your school days, but these strategies can help men and women in midlife build new friendships.
· Identify your interests. Fifty-somethings who have spent the last couple of decades building a career and raising a family can give some serious thought to their interests outside of work or passions they hope to pursue now that they have more time to commit to such pursuits. The more interested you are in a given activity, the more likely you are to stick with it. And the longer you stick with something, the more likely you are to meet like-minded individuals (i.e., future friends) willing to make similar commitments.
· Utilize social media. In years past, men and women over 50 may not have had any readily available tools to reach out and connect with new people. Social media has made it much easier to build such connections. Even the most obscure passions likely have a social media group of locals devoted to them, and these groups can be great ways to meet new people. A local runner’s club may have its own social media accounts, and local governments and community groups often share information about sports leagues and other groups via social media.
· Sign up for group outings. Communities often sponsor group outings to museums, the theater, sporting events, and other day trips. Signing up for a bus trip to a local museum presents a great opportunity to meet people who share your interests, providing the potential to build lasting friendships built on a foundation of shared interests.
· Broaden your horizons. Just because you’re in your 50s doesn’t mean your friends have to be. Don’t hesitate to invite younger or older acquaintances and colleagues over for dinner or on weekend excursions. Friends come in all shapes, sizes and ages, so you could be missing out if you’re not willing to extend a hand in friendship to people of different ages and backgrounds.
Making friends after 50 can be challenging. However, various strategies can help men and women over 50 connect with new people.