Why is it we feel it is harder to meet new people and make new friends as we get older?
While there has been much interest in Internet Dating and finding love over the past 10 years, much less attention has been given to the subject of making new friends in midlife. The difficulty people experience in making friendships later in life can be attributed to a number of reasons:
- as we get older we have a tendency to do fewer new things. We tend to stay in our comfort zone and thus, reduce the number of new people we meet
- we can become more selective about those we let into our lives, avoiding people who are unsure of themselves or who may have problems
- our lives are so set in schedules that it is hard to make time for new things
- careers can be rewarding, and relationships and friendships can flourish at work, but once you leave, you are soon forgotten, and often, the workplace friendships stay with work, and are not inclusive of family, spouses and location
- people get married, have children and get tied into the routine of family life
- people can relocate so readily these days that we know little history of our neighbors, which can fragment communities
- our first 20 years are typically spent in school, where we are constantly learning to make friends with our peers. Once we leave, we are either at the mercy of the people we meet in our workplaces, or our own social skills
- the older generation may already have a tight circle of friends and just aren’t looking to add any new ones
- the press has encouraged us to become wary of strangers.
So how do we make friends these days?
Where you go or what you do doesn’t matter as much as mixing in different social groups. The more people you are exposed to, the more likely you’ll bump into compatible people and potential friends.
Whether you are new to an area, or live in the same place you were born, it requires effort and desire, in order to meet new people. Luckily, there are hundreds of activities we are now able to take part in, and although we may have spent our lives so far interested in specific hobbies and interests, we now have an increased opportunity to try many new ones. This all opens the doors to meeting new people.
The internet has been a godsend in enabling us to discover what goes on in our regions, or around specific interests as well as providing platforms for social networking, dating sites and research into special interests and hobbies.
Some of the ways to meet new people and make new friends include:
Joining a club, a class, a group, a gym or volunteering. Finding something you already enjoy and getting together with others who also enjoy it provides an immediate commonality, which enables conversation and common ground between people. Relationships can build from this point.
The key is putting yourself out there. Potential friends won’t knock at your door, you have to get out there and find them. Whether it be joining clubs, or using internet tools, like MatureFreeAndSingle.com to arrange meetings with likeminded people, it is all down to you.
And don’t forget what we innately learned as children, “you have to be a friend to have a friend.” Do thoughtful things for the people you would like to get to know better. If you are friendly and a good judge of character, this won’t be hard once you make time to get yourself out with others.
Good luck with your friendships, and be brave!