How to Make Friends When You’re Retired
Now that you’ve started the great adventure that is retirement, you may be looking forward to taking some down time, or maybe you’ll even use your newfound freedom to start a few hobbies. But, what happens if you start to miss your workplace routine? Or worse – what if you get bored? Well, there’s good news for you! With over 49 million Americans over the age of 65, you’re bound to meet some new friends who are also retired. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
Volunteer in your community
If you’ve got some extra time, find an organization to volunteer for. Whether it’s at your local farmers market, the library or community center, volunteering is a great way to get yourself out there and meet other people with similar interests. There are online resources like VolunteerMatch.org that can help you find the perfect opportunity.
Go to networking events
There are lots of ways to find networking events happening in a city near you. With websites like EventBrite and Eventful it’s easy to see what’s going on that would be fun to go to. It doesn’t have to always be events for seniors either. You can check out networking events for the industry you previously worked in, or ones geared towards hobbies you’re interested in. Always wanted to be a better public speaker? Try Toastmasters. Looking to meet business owners or invest in a local spot? Check out Meetup.com. Regulars at these events will be happy to see a new face. Or, you can recruit a friend or family member to join you!
Hang out with your grandkids
If you’re lucky and live close to your grandkids – hang out with them! This can also be a nice relief for your kids to have someone to take their kids to the park or out for ice cream. Plus, going out with your grandkids gives you an excuse to chat with other grandparents who are out with their grandkids. It’ll give you time to bond with your grandkids and instill real world knowledge and values into them. If the idea of talking with your grandkids gives you anxiety or you’re struggling with ideas to keep them occupied, try:
– Setting up a time to show them how to fill out a W4 form and file their taxes. It may sound boring to them now, but they’ll appreciate this when they get their first job!
– Hosting a cooking class. Little kids will enjoy baking treats, while older grandkids will be grateful to know how to cook for themselves!
– Helping them create budgets and understand the importance of saving up when they’re young. It can also be helpful to explain the different types of insurance you need as an adult and how to find reliable insurance companies. This can include car insurance, renter’s insurance and even the appropriate amount of life insurance you may need.
Become a mentor
Were you a rockstar in your profession? Do you have a hidden talent that you’re ready to flaunt? Why not become a mentor and show off your skills! Mentorship can be on your time and at your own pace. Whether it’s tutoring for an after-school program or volunteering to teach guitar lessons, you can pick your schedule and who you want to mentor. A good place to start when seeking mentorship opportunities are local libraries, schools and community centers. You can also try Mentoring.org for an opportunity near you.
Try Pet Sitting or Dog Walking
Who said your new friends could only be people? Dogs are man’s best friend for a reason, after all. If you’re an animal lover, why not pick up a couple of pet sitting or dog walking shifts? Plus, dog parks are a fun place to meet other people and get outside for a bit of exercise.
Go Back to School
It’s never too late to learn something new! Going back to school will not only help you grow in a subject matter or personal interest, but you’re bound to meet new people and expand your network of friends. Who knows, you may even qualify for a scholarship!
Join a Senior Center
Senior centers are a great, affordable (if not free!) way to find friends through routine social events, fun classes, exercise opportunities and more. The key is finding a center that feels right for you.
Finding friends in retirement doesn’t have to be hard. There are plenty of activities, events and volunteer opportunities that can help you get out there and meet new people. Try these tips and let us know how it goes in the comments!
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.
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