No matter your age, nobody wants to be lonely. However finding friends, companionship or love after 60 can be a challenge for many.
Thinking back, you may have found finding friendships was effortless in your earlier years. Back in your school days making social connections was easy. Becoming a parent brought with it new friendship circles, not forgetting, finding new friendship through your work colleagues.
Beyond 60 and with those stages of life behind you, many people find their social circles begin to shrink. This too can be exacerbated by divorce or the death of a spouse. With space in your life to fill, the challenge can be where to find new friendships or relationships that can bring you the happiness and the companionship you want, which experts say is essential for health and emotional wellbeing.
Here are 5 tips to consider when looking for companionship after 60 …
- Technology can be a mixed blessing. Whilst Facebook and Skype, text messaging too, can allow you to stay connected with family and friends. For many, those types of digital connections do not replace the deeper connection and sharing that can result from spending real time with a friend – perhaps going for a walk, sharing a cuppa, glass of wine or dinner and a movie. These are the times we share our deepest thoughts, concerns and fears. Not the kind of stuff your share over a message or Facebook post.
- It’s okay to admit to yourself and others if you are feeling lonely. We all feel lonely from time to time. Senior blogger Margaret Manning states “The fact that you are feeling lonely is not your fault. Nor is it something to be ashamed of. Once you admit this, you are more than half way to building the social life that you deserve. Loneliness is your mind’s way of telling you to get out there and engage with the world. The longer you stay in your own cocoon, the greater the chances that you will slip into an even darker mental state, like depression. So, act now!”
- Give some thought to what a friend is to you. Do you want a friend who shares your beliefs or love of theatre, maybe trains, dogs or travel. Look into how you might meet a new friend who has these characteristics. Perhaps at church, a club such as sports clubs, social clubs – perhaps a local Rotary, Country Women’s Association or Probus club. Look at your local newspaper or visit your local library to discover what other clubs or events you could attend.
- You could reconnect with old friends. Think about who you might have lost touch with and reconnect, male of female.
- Finally, find like minded friends by taking up a passion or interest. Margaret says in her blog, “One of the fantastic things about being 60 is that we finally know what we want. We understand our values and know what we want to accomplish in our lives. If you are like many women over 60, including myself, you may have a feeling that, with less time in front of you than behind, it’s time to focus on adding people to your life that share your passions and dreams. This is one of the reasons that your passions, interests and skills can be such a great source of friends.”
Despite all of the challenges, it is still clear that making friends and maintaining worthwhile relationships is essential after 60 for your health and emotional well-being. Next time you are feeling lonely, remind yourself it’s your mind’s way of telling you to take a get out there and engage with the world.