Most of us have close friends we count on to enrich our lives, support us when we need it, and put up with us when we’re being our most unlikeable. But friendships evolve and are often life-stage specific, like young mothers focusing on children, and then some expire from lack of attention. If you need to increase your circle of friends in your 50s and 60s, finding and forming new friendships can be challenging.
An article on Huff/Post50.com explores the topic of making friends after 50. The author is a psychologist specializing in relationships and offers suggestions for those looking to add new friends in their lives. One point she emphasizes is not every new acquaintance has to become a BFF immediately. Here are some of her tips:
- Find people with similar interests – Joining a book group at your local library or taking up a new sport will put you in contact with people with like interests. That is a good foundation on which to build a new friendship.
- Don’t move too fast – Starting slow with that new acquaintance and see how the relationship develops. Appearing too needy, sharing very personal information too quickly or expecting too much too soon can derail a potential new friendship.
- Make your “virtual” friends into real ones – The author suggests meeting people with whom you have an online relationship on Facebook or Twitter serves two purposes. If they live close enough for a face-to-face connection, you have a new buddy to pal around with AND it gets you out from behind your computer monitor!
- Shift your expectations – When looking for new friends, it’s important to step outside your comfort zone and set of expectations for friendships. If your friends are close to your age, don’t rule out a younger or older person. Maybe a young mom would like to spend time with someone that isn’t currently raising children? Consider candidates that have a considerably different lifestyle than yours. Think how interesting it would be to find out about it.