The early years of midlife are a hectic time for many people. Around the time many people reach their late 30s and early 40s, they’re balancing the responsibilities of a career and a family. But as people enter their 50s, some of those responsibilities tend to be less significant, leaving more time for recreational pursuits.
Hobbies and other pursuits outside of work are often more fun when enjoyed with friends. People over 50 undoubtedly recognize that it’s not always so easy to make new friends, even though it’s undeniably beneficial to have supportive relationships into your golden years. A recent study from researchers at Michigan State University found that valuing friendships was a stronger predictor of health and happiness among older adults than valuing family.
Making friends after 50 might not be as simple as it was during school days, but these strategies can help.
Identify your interests. Fiftysomethings who have spent the last couple of decades building a career and raising a family can give some serious thought to their interests outside of work or passions they hope to pursue now that they have more time to commit to such pursuits. The more interested you are in a given activity, the more likely you are to stick with it. And the longer you stick with something, the more likely you are to meet like-minded individuals willing to make similar commitments.
Utilize social media. In years past, men and women over 50 may not have had any readily available tools to reach out and connect with new people. Social media has made it much easier to build such connections. Even the most obscure passions likely have a social media group of locals devoted to them, and these groups can be great ways to meet new people.
Sign up for group outings. Communities often sponsor group outings to museums, the theater, sporting events, and other day trips. Signing up for a bus trip to a local museum presents a great opportunity to meet people who share your interests, providing the potential to build lasting friendships built on a foundation of shared interests.
Broaden your horizons. Just because you’re in your 50s doesn’t mean your friends have to be. Don’t hesitate to invite younger or older acquaintances and colleagues over for dinner or on weekend excursions. Friends come in all shapes, sizes and ages.