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How to Find Friends and Fight Loneliness After 60 (In 5 Steps!)

Despite everything we know about the importance of maintaining social connections as we get older, finding friends after 60 can be a challenge. As we age, the easy social connections that we enjoyed as schoolmates, parents, and colleagues change.

As a result, many women find themselves facing shrinking social circles and needing to make new friends. In other words, we find a void in our lives and no easy way to fill it.

  1. Don’t Hide from Your Feelings
  2. Define What a “Friend” Is to You
  3. Start with Your Existing Social Network – But Don’t Limit Yourself to It
  4. Embrace Your Passions Instead of Chasing New Relationships
  5. Don’t Rule Out Friendships with People of the Opposite Sex

In our search for companionship, technology is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, services like video chatting and various social media allow us to stay connected with friends and family throughout the world.

On the other hand, with everyone focused on clicking, it feels like “connecting” has taken on a new, softer meaning. Like many women, I often feel like I have 100s of “friends” and no-one to share my deepest dreams and fears with on a daily basis. Do you sometimes feel the same?

Despite all of the challenges, it is still clear that making friends and maintaining worthwhile relationships is essential after 60. Having good friends is not just a “nice to have” – it is essential for our health and emotional well-being, as I discussed in an interview with Suzanne Braun Levine.

Here are some other facts about loneliness we all should keep in mind:

  • Loneliness, living alone, and poor social connections are as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010)
  • Loneliness is worse for you than obesity. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010)
  • Lonely people are more likely to suffer from dementia, heart disease and depression. (Valtorta et al, 2016) (James et al, 2011) (Cacioppo et al, 2006)
  • Loneliness is likely to increase your risk of death by 29%. (Holt-Lunstad, 2015)

The good news is that having a rich social life after 60 is absolutely possible – but only if we take matters into our own hands! There are millions of wonderful people in the world who want more friends, people just like you.

But, in order to find them, you need to face your fears, explore your passions, use your network and, most importantly, take a chance on reaching out to others.

Here are a few ideas for making new friends in your 60s.

Don’t Hide from Your Feelings

Do you ever feel lonely? I do. That might seem strange to hear, coming from someone who started a community of over 600,000 women over 60. But the truth is that we all feel lonely from time to time.

I know women in marriages and with big families that feel like they have no-one to talk to. Feeling lonely from time to time is natural. What we do about our feelings of loneliness is a choice!

The first step to dealing with loneliness is to separate yourself from the feeling so that you can give yourself permission to make positive changes in your life. Let me be clear.

If you are feeling lonely, you are not alone, as George Monbiot wrote in “This is the Age of Loneliness.” You are a good person and you deserve true friendship, love, and attention.

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 halfway 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!

Read YOU ARE NOT ALONE! 6 TIPS FOR DEALING WITH LONELINESS AFTER 60.

Once you prepare yourself mentally for the road ahead, it’s time to define what “friendship” means to you. After all, as the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

Define What a “Friend” Is to You

What do you value most in your friends? Do you look for people who enjoy the same activities as you? Do you like spending time with people who share similar beliefs to you? Or, do you prefer acquaintances that challenge your beliefs and make you think?

Perhaps you enjoy the company of people who share similar political or religious beliefs. No matter what your preferences, it pays to be conscious in your choice of friends. This is true for a few reasons.

First, and most obviously, when you know what kinds of friends you are looking for, you can choose to engage in activities that will give you an opportunity to meet new people of your choosing. For example, are there political, religious, sports, social, or other groups that you could reengage with?

Second, taking the time to think about what friendship means to you will make it more likely that you will see opportunities to start conversations in more natural settings – at the supermarket, in the post office, or in the park.

So, give some thought to what you’re looking for in a friend. Write your thoughts in a diary if you have time. Friendship takes time, effort, and advance planning. Think about the type of person that you’d like to meet, and you just might increase your chances of meeting them!

Read DIFFERENT KINDS OF FRIENDS AND WHAT THEY MEAN TO US.

Start with Your Existing Social Network – But Don’t Limit Yourself to It

One of the easiest ways to find friendship after 60 is to reconnect with your old friends from high school, university, or work. But there’s a twist. Sometimes the people that you find you have the most in common with may not be the people that you knew when you were younger.

Read THE DREADED HIGH SCHOOL REUNION AND THE 5 THINGS I DISCOVERED PREPARING FOR MINE.

So, don’t be afraid to reach out to people that you already know – but also don’t be afraid to use reunions and other events to meet other people with a similar background to you.

You might be surprised that you have developed common interests with your old friends in the years after school. Or, you might find that an old friendship that lapsed due to distance can be picked up where it left off.

Don’t automatically give up on old friends just because they moved away. For all you know, they might be in the same situation as you. They might be nervous to reach out to you, thinking that you are “too busy” to take their call.

So, send a short email or use video chat platforms like Zoom to stay in touch. Even if you have to maintain your friendship from a distance, it’s better than losing contact altogether.

Keep in mind that the first few connections will always be the hardest. The more people you are able to connect with, the easier it will be to find other long-lost friends.

Even if you feel a bit awkward at first, don’t let your feelings hold you back. Yes, people are busy and there is a chance that you won’t get a response. But, more than likely, your old friends will get back to you, even if it’s just to catch up on the news.

People almost always like to stay connected – and you never know where a new contact will take you.

Read STAYING SOCIAL AFTER 60: HOW TO MAKE SOMEONE’S DAY BY WATCHING FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO CONNECT.

Embrace Your Passions Instead of Chasing New Relationships

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.

What are you passionate about? Do you have a favorite hobby like traveling, gardening, chess, knitting, tennis, golf, writing, cooking, or reading? Do you have any special skills that other people might be interested in learning?

While you are exploring, don’t feel limited to meeting people your own age. Be open to connecting with people of all ages! Some of the strongest friendships that I have are with people decades younger than me.

Read THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING MILLENNIALS AND GEN X’ERS IN YOUR LIFE AFTER 60.

When you attend an event, club, or activity, don’t be afraid to connect with strangers. One of the ironies of social events is that everyone tends to think that they are the only one that is nervous to talk to others.

Talking to new people can be scary, but don’t be afraid to take a chance on strangers. As long as you are in a public place, the worst that can happen is someone might not be what you are looking for in a friend.

Don’t Rule Out Friendships with People of the Opposite Sex

Based on my conversations with the other women in the Sixty and Me community, many of us want to have male friends in our lives. However, it is also important to keep in mind that the dynamics between men and women change as we get a bit older.

There are many fantastic men out there who would love to be friends with you. But, unlike when we were teenagers, you may need to take the initiative. If you know a man who shares similar interests to you, don’t be afraid to ask him out for a coffee.

What’s the worst that he can say? “No.” If he does, who cares? Just smile and move on to the next friend.

There is also nothing wrong with using online dating sites to find new friends. Many single men and women over 60 are starting over and developing casual, relaxed relationships, without the pressure. And, who knows. Maybe one of your new friendships will lead to something more romantic.

If online dating takes your fancy but you don’t know where to start, have a look at The Top 5 Best Dating Sites For Seniors

Read 5 ONLINE DATING TRENDS FOR 2023.

Also read 10 ONLINE DATING TIPS THAT YOU RARELY READ ABOUT.

Even if your friendship is totally platonic, it can still be a source of fun, fulfillment, and companionship. If you are interested in finding a romantic partner, you may enjoy my interview with dating coach, Lisa Copeland.

Finding new friends after 60 can definitely be a challenge. But, if you face your fears, define what you are looking for in a friendship, make the most of your own network, and reach out to people who share your interests, there is no need to be lonely.

You deserve to have friendship in your life, and I hope that you find people that make you truly happy!

Read THE JOY OF NEW FRIENDSHIPS AND THE COMFORT OF THE LIFELONG ONES.

Also, UNEXPECTED FRIENDSHIPS ARE EVERYWHERE, WAITING TO BE FOUND

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What do you think? Have you found it easier or harder to make friends after 60? Do you agree that this is “The Age of Loneliness,” and if so, what can we do about it? Leave a comment and let us know. Let’s Have a Conversation!

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Nancy

This is definitely a lonely time for me. I’m a widow of 1 1/2 years and live right outside of New York City. I’d love to make a new friend or two. Someone to have coffee or lunch with once in a while. It’s winter and also Covid is still an issue here so that adds to the difficulty of making new friends. I’d also welcome an internet friendship.

Michele

I can definitely agree with the need to have a larger social circle. I live in south jersey, married but with children and grandchildren not in the immediate area. I also would welcome new friends and look forward to this happening in 2023. Take care.

David

Talking is so therapeutic,but like souls are hard to find, just to talk about music and books is one of life’s great treasures

Sarah

I agree David. It is wonderful to talk & connect with someone that you feel “gets you.” I am a classical musician, 61, avid reader, creative person, interested in life long learning, kind of a brainiac, christian. I recently moved to be closer to aging mother, however, feeling so lonely & displaced! Anybody recently moved?

Mark

I retired early to take care of mom, sold my place in the country and built a small house in town , she was able to live with me for awhile before the dementia got to the point skilled nursing was the only option , home care was so unreliable especially with Covid . I did it though and don’t regret it! Playing music was therapeutic and I did see a therapist because I didn’t want to always unload on my only daughter and friends. Life has changed , now she’s gone and I’m trying to rebuild MY life. I get it

Ann

I did the same thing,now she is gone and I feel kinda lost.I am a 61 year old woman divorced,an avid animal activist.

Liz Haller

Hi Ann, i am 63 and i too am an avid animal activist. I am in Cleveland, Ohio. Are you near?

Malia Brandt

Boy do I understand what you are going through! Sounds like my story! Retired early to take care of parents! Since they passed 5 years ago I have been lost. I am married but my husband still works. Covid sure didn’t help. My daughter also lives close by , but she doesn’t need to hear everything. Hard to build friendships now, others will based around my parents health or my work. Now that’s all over I’m a lonely mess, I too get it!

Clarity

I get it. We had a bit more to do when mom and motherinlaw were aging and needed us. They passed in 2018 & 2020. I’m an orphan now. My extended family don’t communicate. Covid shut down my social group at a gym of 55 & up (I’m almost 65 now). I won’t go back now because the workouts were already too hard on my body. My husband also still works and I rely on him to be my buddy to go places, but he doesn’t want to go anywhere. Just asked him about tomorrow doing something other than taking items to the recycling centre and he said–we can grocery shop!! I said I meant more fun. He said, well that needs to be done. snark snark snark. Gardening kept me busy over the summer and I know I need to get out to activities on my own and stop relying on boring husband, but during the day I’m tired and lazy. I know I was healtier mentally when I went to my gym group a few times a week so I’ll have to push myself I guess now that it’s fall. I have picked out a couple things online to try. But it is hard.

George

adults whose parents have died are not referre to as orphans.

Mark

I moved to take care of mom I get it

Felicity

Hi Sarah. Email me we can chat and see if we will be able to build an online friendship. Blessings Felicity a2kvnc1@gmail.com

Lynn

I have the same experience. I moved to a new city almost 2 years ago and have not yet made any deep social connections. I am thinking of volunteering…

Lisa

Yes. Moved to different state to a tight-knit small town with people know everyone all their lives. Very difficult to connect, extremely lonely. Joining a local church helped but still difficult. Online dating stinks. Many are not honest + so many scams. Be careful!

Last edited 10 months ago by Lisa
Mar

Hi Sarah, I too moved to a small town about 12 years ago. I neighbors that I say hello to but I haven’t made any close friendships. At church everyone has there groups and in a small town most people are related to each other. I lived in Cleveland hts and Puyallup Washington where I mety friend of 30 years. I am wanting to move to Florida near the Ocean in the near future if I can talk my husband into it. Yes I am married and looking for a platonic friend.

Jennifer

Hi David!!! What type of music and books do you like?

Russ

I’d be very happy to talk to any of you. I’m recently retired, but my wife still works and then sits in front of the TV most nights. I’d love to share ideas, talk about books, sports, the world and life.

Gwenelle Irvin

Hi Michele, I truly understand your stance, I lost my husband in November 2022, and being alone after many years spent with a spouse is dauntingly lonely, but life goes on, we can’t stop or let go. I will pray for you and please do the same for all who have lost their beloved. Do take care.

Gwenelle Irvin

Nancy,the message addressed to Michele was noted especially for you, please read, friends will come…slowly, but come they will. Don’t be ashamed of your loneliness, you didn’t ask for it, acknowledge it and MOVE FORWARD FROM IT. Be strong and be blessed

Melanie

Tho we have distance, I FELL YOU and I have the same problem. I would love to begin a friendship and find someone who can relate, especially in these older lonely years.
At times I feel so inadequate, yet I have college in law, had a license in massage therapy, certifies herbologuat and reflexology and now people treat me as tho I am old and stupid. This small town is so clicking that it is lost impossible to find true friendship. I’d love to find a true friendship. Are you open to distance and friendly chat?

Edward

Join

Irene

Had a friend with common interests. We would get together for coffee and chats. For me it was the best, uplifting, positive time I spent with another person. For years. They passed away 12 years ago.
Finally ready for coffee and chats again with like-minded person with similar interests. Books, movies, and healthy lifestyles.

Lisa

Ditto

Debra

Hi melani
Where do you live, let’s chat here is my number 847 505 2080
Debra

George

pretty stupid to put your actual number on the internet.

diana

i am…my name is Diana

Felicity

Hi. You are welcome to email me. My name is Felicity from South Africa. My email is a2kvnc1@gmail.com. It would be nice to make new online friends.

donna

are you in nassau county ?

Robin

I think the hardest thing for me is missing conversation. Yes, i have several friends and still.work, go to plays, love the movies…but i miss having someone here dsily…to just talk to. I aso wonder if the things that always made me appealing to the other sex are still relevant. Im so used to finding telationships organically, overtime. How do you start.

diana

Me and my bf had such stimulating conversations, about every topic under the earth, but he was 10 years younger than me i am 66. i miss him so much, i literally have no-one to talk to that made me that happy.He left me “wanted children”, blindsided me, i am still caught up, and reliving memories of the past, don’t know what to do.

becky

Hi Robin. I found a great guy on nextdoor a year and 1/2 ago. We golfed, hiked, walked, traveled. It was wonderful. He recently left me for another. Even with a new special friend there are no guarantees. He always said we had something very special. Guess not.

Sally Wilkinson

Many of my younger friends and direct family are always too busy. They are great when they have the time! I want friends in my life that are more available. I was widowed 2 years ago, and since we were living apart, any and all grieving has been done. I’d like to go out for coffee and to the movies. Just having a friend or two around my age would be life changing I think.

Zalina lall

I have been divorce and loneliness is terrible looking for ladies to talk to but I live in Orlando. Thanks

Christina

Hello I am new at all of these. Would love to meet new people. Making friends is very hard for me I am shy and quite. Lost my Mom and husband in 2021 and Mother-in-law in 2022.all in one year. I also live in East Orlando.

Anna Gustavson

Hi. I am looking to meet friends to talk to as well . I am also a bit quiet and shy which goes away once I get to know someone.
I lost my parents I. 2020 and had also recently been divorced. Had moved to town where my parents lived. But now I am here by myself .It has been lonely . I am in the Midwest. 65. Write me if someone is interested in talking.

Mark

Hello Christina. I am also new to this. This is a first for me. I was divorced in 2009 and raised both of my children alone. They are young adults now. It’s not easy for me to meet new people as I am also somewhat shy, and was caregiver for my mother and handicap brother for quite a few years. They both passed in 2020. If you would be interested in chatting, my email is markjtip@bellsouth.net. I also live in E Orlando.

Last edited 8 hours ago by Mark
Helen

I miss having chats someone to go out with have coffee

Debra

I so agree, call me
Take a chance, would be happy to chat maybe you live near me.847 505 2080
Debra

Eliah

Sally, I feel the same way, so it’s nice to hear you talk about the same thing. I too have friends that are great when they have time, but are caught up with grandchildren or are younger and are involved in family life most of the time. I agree that it would be life-changing to have a friend or two to connect with, more than a few times a year!

Katherine Pinotti

Sally, I feel the same way, but my husband is still alive. But we have been separated for over 15 years and I only see him on holidays when he come to visit our grown children. My kids have their own lives now and although they try to fit “granny” in sometimes, but there seems to be so much drama every time. And it isn’t the same as having someone my own age to talk to and share adventures. I have no friends. Just my dog and it gets lonely. Just having someone to talk too and share things with would be so nice. My private email is kjpinotti@aol.com if anyone wants to chat. I live in east Texas so getting a cup of coffee in Jersey or Colorado might be hard, but its nice to think about. Good luck everyone finding a friend. That is my new years resolution not to spend 2024 like I did in 2023. Thanks for letting me vent!

John

I found my new Catholic wife of 62 years after my dear wife died. I miss her, but have a reason to keep living! Our faith is a great help!. John in Albany.

Jake

Very extremely difficult for many of us single guys.

Melanie

As is for single older women. Are you open to friendships with distance?

Mary young

It would be wonderful to chat with an older lady or gentleman. I live in Bournemouth

belinda

hello Mary i live just outside worthing in west sussex iv been widowed for 23 years im older and feel very much alone sometimes and would love to make new friends , close and far afield , just to be able to speak to text to or email im here if anyone would like to make contact

Mary

Hello there
I am 77, widowed and live in Bournemouth. I have some lonely moments too. My daughter lives with her partner nearby. She is a retired psychiatric nurse. We are good friends but it’s lovely to email a friend.

Pramod

yes I search older with truly honesty I’m agree for friend

Felicity

Hi everyone. My name is Felicity Ann from South Africa. Ok..im not 60+, Im 53. I beieve the older we get the wiser we ‘can’ become. I would love to make internet friendships. Those interested may email me – a2kvnc1@gmail.com.
I don’t drink, smoke or take substances.

I am just trying to navigate this journey as best as I know how. I would love to meet new friends with similar values.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at margaret@sixtyandme.com

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