Women over 60 are much more technologically savvy than most people give us credit for! But, even if you are comfortable with technology, it can often be difficult to know where to look for people who share your interests. This is especially true at a time when we need to be more careful than ever about our privacy and security online.
To help you get started, here is a list of sites that can help you to meet new people online who share your interests.
An obvious choice – Facebook is the world’s largest and most popular social networking site, but many people might wonder how to use Facebook to actually meet new people, rather than just re-connect with old classmates, colleagues and friends that you already have in your real-life social circles.
One of the best ways to meet new people on Facebook is to join groups that suit your interests. For example, you can join our Sixty and Me page and join discussions on the various articles and topics that we post about there. You can find new groups by typing in your interest into the search bar at the top of your Facebook homepage.
Once you have joined a group, take part in the conversation! If you see someone who makes some well-thought out comments that you really agree with and identify with, perhaps you can strike up a conversation with them and eventually send them a friend request.
Many people find that their Facebook friends are just as fun to talk to and have friendships just as valuable as some of their “real life” friends who live in the same city or neighborhood.
One of the best ways to meet new people who share your interests, as I’ve found from starting Sixty and Me, is to start writing a blog of your own. As a demographic, we have so much to offer to the world, and we should be proud to let our voices be heard and share our creative expression.
What would you like to blog about? It could be anything and everything. For example, many women over 60 might want to start a blog related to a specific life experience, challenge or interest that they have or are working through – especially if that topic could attract other people who share that interest.
For example, you might want to write a blog about “caring for aging parents,” to share her insights about what the experience was like to help her parents through their final years.
Blogs can be personal, humorous, practical, or all of the above, but no matter what kind of blog you want to create, if you write well and respond to comments, you might find yourself attracting your very own audience of new online friends. If you want to start a free blog, check out WordPress.com where they have free templates you can use to quickly create a nice looking website.
I have been very honest in several articles on Sixty and Me about my own experience with loneliness. Perhaps, like many others, it started with the loss of my mother when I was quite young, and constant moving as a child, leaving me with an ongoing sense of aloneness.
So, perhaps like you, I have struggled with loneliness, as opposed to simply being alone, all my life. I have however recently started to change my mindset and have started to make friends in an unusual way.
I discovered Meetup.com, which is a worldwide online tool that enables anyone to start a group on any subject. Say for example you want to get together with women who love to knit, or people who love theater, movies or hiking.
I started a social group for over 55’s in my town and in the first week got 20 new members joining. They are fascinating people and we have already been to a concert, a jazz cafe, a train journey and have lots of other things planned.
So for anyone struggling with loneliness, I would recommend taking action and starting, or joining, a group, re-engaging with people and making new friends!
Before you start meeting new people online, it’s wise to be cautious. Don’t give out your personal information to just anyone – and be wary of people asking you for personal information when they’ve just barely “met” you. Here are a few tips for how to be safe online and avoid becoming a victim of an online scam or identify theft.
Have you met any valuable “online friends” that have turned into “real” relationships? Where do you go to meet new people online? What tips would you offer for how to safely, effectively meet new people online? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Find out more about the importance of girlfriends for women over 60 in my interview with the inspiring Suzanne Braun Levine.