Golden Friendships: How to Make Friends as a Senior

Helen and Friend

Making friends when you were a kid was so simple. They wanted to play kick the can, so did you. Voilà! Friends for life. But when your hair starts to gray, how to make friends becomes a little grayer, too. At least it was for me. Luckily, you have me and 30 years of attempting to make friends to learn from. Here are my words of wisdom in the matter.

 

Practice.

Talking to new people can sure be intimidating. Especially when you haven’t had to make new friends in years. Practice starting up conversations at the grocery store, at the bank or at the gas station. You may not make any long-term friends, but practicing never hurt anybody. And who knows, maybe your new bridge partner is in aisle 3.

 

Put your neck out.

This may just be the hardest part. Getting yourself up and out to an activity. It changes up your routine, but you’ll thank yourself later. One of the easiest ways is to visit your local senior center. They’re always hosting some event or another. If you’re living at a senior facility, sit at a different table one day and strike up a conversation. Or, find out if there’s a club there that suits you. You can always visit your local library to see what’s going on in your community. Choose one route and test it out. Maybe I’ll see you at poker.

 

Be sensitive.

You’ve found people, now how do you get past names and deceased spouses? Test the waters. I’ve definitely offended new residents who didn’t understand I was just joking around.

 

Be attentive.

Your hearing and eyesight could be just fine, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s is. Take other people’s senses into consideration, and adjust the way you speak to them accordingly. It’ll build stronger connections and reduce the risk of, “What?”

 

Be yourself.

Same as when you were a kid. Be yourself and stick around the people who make you happy.

 

Phone a friend.

Following my instructions is simply not possible for everyone. If you’re more of an introvert or find it very difficult to leave your home, you can always find a friendly voice on the Friendship Line at 800-971-0016.

 

I really hope this post leads to a swell new friendship for you. If you ever want to chat, just leave me a message.

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