Does it feel as though your social life is off taking more regular holidays now that you’re over 50? Prioritise your friendships – good friends are great for your well being. In this article, we’ll explore some ideas to give your social network a boost in your 50s and 60s.
What’s happening to your social network in your 50s and 60s?
The young folk are taking over your work place. Some of your work mates are looking forward to an early retirement, others have taken up demanding senior positions and you don’t see them as much anymore. If you raised children, your kids are likely to have discovered the freedom of being more independent and don’t need you around as much. Catching up with friends is always a dilemma because your schedules seem to clash.
Your 50s are busy years and the opportunities for extending your social networks aren’t falling into your lap as easily as they did a couple of decades ago. Opportunities for meeting new people are right in front of you. It is just that in your 50s, you may need to be more proactive at identifying them than when you were younger and they were thrown at you.
9 ways to start friendships in your 50s and 60s
1: When an invitation next comes your way say ‘yes’.
If you do come across an opportunity to extend your social network, don’t hesitate, just say yes! For example if Friday night drinks are still regular events at your workplace make an effort to go along to the next one. The more people you see outside of your day to day routine, the more people you will potentially have the opportunity to meet.
2: Host a ‘BYO friend’ event.
Use your existing friendships to meet new friends. Consider hosting an event like a BBQ or Sunday afternoon drinks where everyone invited is asked to ‘BYO’ one friend. If you’re inviting good friends, people that they’re good friends with will have at least one topic in common to talk about – you!
3: Exploit your pets. Find new friends.
If you have a dog that could benefit from regular adventures at a local leash free park, you could benefit too. Local dog parks are a great way to meet fellow local pet owners – it’s an easy way to strike up a conversation, a little like having babies or young children!
4: Leave your car at home. Catch public transport.
If you drive when you could just as easily catch public transport, choose travelling to your destination with a bunch of locals. I’ve struck up a number of friendships over the years that started at the train station with regular local commuters.
5: Keep an eye out for local community events or volunteering opportunities.
If you prefer to keep friendships local, keep an eye out for local community events. Local libraries will often run ‘talk to the author’ events or shire council funded short courses.
Volunteering for a community organisation is a great way to meet people and start friendships. At the same time, you are giving back and contributing to your community too.
6: Book a cruise or coach holiday.
An organised group travel itinerary is always a good idea if you are looking to extend your social network and potentially meet new friends. Any adventure that throws a group of people together sharing new experiences is a great opportunity for friendships.
7: Simply start a conversation.
Most of us will have a familiar someone in our life that we’ve always wondered about but have never actually been proactive in reaching out to. It may be someone you see on your regular walk or run. It may be a fellow regular customer of a favourite cafe. You acknowledge one another, but have never struck up a conversation. Give it a go! The only thing you have to lose is that if it falls flat, you go back to being a familiar face.
8: Invite an acquaintance to coffee…or dinner.
This one requires a bit of pluck and courage. If there is an acquaintance you enjoy talking to – perhaps as part of your business network, or neighbours that live down the road – consider taking it that one step further and invite them over for a coffee, or for dinner!
9: Get out in the front garden.
I love spring time. It gets me out in our front garden on a Sunday afternoon. I suddenly find myself reacquainting with our neighbours. Random conversations spring up with people strolling by. Getting out in the front garden or where the locals pass you by is a pleasant way to strike up a conversation – starting with the weather, of course!
The opportunities are all around you in your 50s and 60s. Starting a new friendship often involves taking a risk and breaking out of your everyday routine. It is a risk that is well worth the reward if it results in extending your social network.