If you are starting over and feeling lonely, just remember that you can make new friends at any age. If you think that sounds like work, it is. But, it’s necessary and worthwhile.

One thing I realized when I was starting over was that as much as I loved my friends, most of them were married. For a big part of our lives, we were all married together. I was not married any longer. So, even though they were still a huge part of my life, they had a life at home. I did not.

It wasn’t very long until I figured out that I had to attack this loneliness head-on. Sitting at home crying myself to sleep had to stop. No one was going to come look for me in my apartment – that’s like sitting in a movie theater waiting to be discovered!

So, I found some ways to get to know new people – people who were not part of my past. They know me as I am now. If you need help with loneliness try these tips.

Volunteer

Whether it is faith-based, through your community or is directed where you work, get yourself into some volunteer activity.

Not only are you doing something good-hearted, which makes you feel better automatically, you make friends with the people on either side of you. You are working together. You already have something in common – you like to help others.

If it is a recurring activity, you will naturally bond with your fellow volunteers and coffee or a glass of wine can’t be far behind. Everyone has a passion for something philanthropic, so get engaged in it and see what happens.

You will reap such benefits. You will feel good about your accomplishments while meeting new friends. You will fill some of the extra time you have in your new life. And finally, you will let a few more people in the world know that you are single and looking for other opportunities to meet new friends. Bingo!

Take a Class

Want to learn something new? Then, learn it! For me, that’s knitting. I like to knit, so I take knitting classes where I meet women around my age who become new friends. We talk while we knit and get to know each other. If we enjoy each other’s company, we might get a cup of tea afterward.

Perhaps you would like to meet some men as well. Take a class that offers you that opportunity. Any class or training allows you to improve yourself and make some new acquaintances, male or female, at the same time. You can even plan to take another class together, to keep the friendship going.

I love spending time with young people. Taking a class at a local university or community college allows you to do that while bettering yourself.

I am a lifelong Spanish class taker. I have taken so many Spanish classes without seeming to learn a word of the language, but I keep trying and I have met some lovely young people in the process.

Become a Regular

When I left my big fancy home and moved to a one-room loft space downtown I had some bleak evenings. I could walk into my place at 5:00 p.m. and not talk to another soul until the next day. Once I walked Red, my cute dog, we were done for the night. Horrible!

So, I walked myself down to one of the restaurants on my block and sat down at the bar. I introduced myself to the bartender, Tony, who was the Thursday night shift. I told him I was new to the neighborhood and that was all I had to do.

He introduced me to a couple of guys who were super connected around my area, and they helped me learn about the neighborhood organization that meets monthly. I ran into a couple who I had known in my previous life, and they invited me to a party.

I went to that restaurant every Thursday night and still do. I did the same thing at another place near me and had the same results. And, it can be a neighborhood coffee shop: it doesn’t have to be a bar.

Just a place where you can walk in and introduce yourself and let people know that you are there and want to be social. Is it hard to walk into a bar and sit down by yourself? Absolutely. But without having done that, I would still be sitting in my apartment, watching TV with Red.

Meetups

There is also a thing called Meetup.com. There are meetup groups in every city around the world about any topic that you can imagine. They are held at restaurants and coffee shops and are groups of people who have similar interests. It is exactly what it sounds like, you meet up and discuss the topic of choice.

There is a knitting meetup. There is a Spanish meetup that I want to attend but am too afraid since I have learned virtually no Spanish! There is a running meetup, social media meetup, French meetup, wine enthusiasts’ meetup, parenting meetup. You name it, there is a meetup for it.

Please don’t think that I am being flip about loneliness. I did all these things and I was still lonely after my marriage broke up. Years lonely. Still sometimes lonely.

But, you must be proactive, and you must do the work that it takes to get yourself back on your feet. Try just one of these tips, and you will be amazed at how you will feel.

How have you made new friends as you have got a little older? Have you found any tried and true methods of beating loneliness? Please share them in the comments below.

Paula HarerAfter a 30-year marriage crumbled, Paula Harer found herself single for the first time in 35 years. She felt like she had something to say about her experience, so started writing a blog called Starting Over at Sixty. She addresses everything from loneliness and reinvention and offers ways to create a new outlook on life.

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