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Making friends at 60: “I don’t want to die alone…”

QUESTION

Dear Irene,

How does one get over being so alone? I do have a few very good friends, but too few! I am dying of loneliness! I don’t know what’s  wrong with me that I can’t seem to “connect” and make new friends. I don’t want to die alone too! I’m turning 60 this year. Any suggestions??

Many thanks! Signed, Laura

ANSWER

Hi Laura,

Your question obviously follows my last post mentioning two tragic news stories recently published about older women who died alone without anyone noticing for some time. The imagery was chilling and most people would hate to think of dying that way.

Admittedly, there are times when it is tougher than others to make new friends. For example, college students are continually thrown into contact with other people in similar circumstances. Young moms can take advantage of abundant opportunities to make friends with parents of their kids or with other women involved in school committees. If someone’s working, she might become friends with colleagues. You haven’t told me much about you but it sounds like you’re at a place in life where you need to actively seek out friendships because it isn’t occurring naturally.

Making friends is more a matter of circumstances than age, per se. Unless there is something about you that pushes others away, if you follow your interests and remain actively involved with people, you will be able to replenish your stock of friends. The choice is yours: Get involved with cultural, political, or social groups. Join a gym, book club, cooking club, or take a class. Volunteer in your community at the library or hospital. If you have a dog, start up a conversation with another dog walker on your route. Dogs and new babies are always great conversation-starters.

One caveat: Don’t expect too much too soon. Friendships take time but if you are welcoming to potential friends and pursue your own passions, you’ll be able to turn new acquaintances into deep friendships over time. If you come across as desperate or clingy, it might be a turnoff to a future friend-to-be. Being aware of your loneliness and that you want close friendships is an important first step. I hope this is helpful.

Warm regards, Irene

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Category: Making friends at 60

Comments (1,842)

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  1. Julia says:

    I am 59 years old and lonely. I just recently lost my wonderful cat who was almost 19 years old. I had him since he was six weeks old. I am grieving for him. I have been alone for years except for my beloved cat. I am thin and like to walk and watch old movies. Go to the beach but I never like doing these things alone.

    • Irene says:

      The loss of a pet can be devastating. It sounds like you also depended on that sweet cat for companionship and holding some of your feelings of loneliness at bay. It’s going to take some time to get over the loss. Do you have any interest in adopting another cat? or perhaps, a dog to walk with?

      There may be some movie-lovers in your community. You might check with your local library or online at meetup.com to find out.

      I’m so sorry about your loss! Best, Irene

  2. peter says:

    To the post above. I wondered onto this site because I am at my wits end with loneliness. There I said it, for the first time I actually said those words. I have an image of you and I in a social environment basically feeling the same as described. Would we talk? If so would we be able to find a comfort level to put down our guard and allow ourselves to open up? From experience I have had difficulty with this. I went away feeling like Either I or the other party set the bar to high for a casual chat. The end result is disappointment. A unnecessary fowl, don’t you? I think we are much more similar then not

    For instance. I am on social security disability, so money is I’m a little overweight 63 yrs. old but healthy I like having fun and am playful. I am sincere honest and caring. I feel with this profile I don’t have a chance of ever meeting someone. I think I don’t hit any markers a women wants. Yet I have female friends who will dispute this but I’m convinced it is. I have had to learn to appreciate the things everyone else takes for granted. I still have good relations with me adult children. My biggest blessing. Loneliness is challenging and I wish I had a trustworthy companion to partner with.

    • Pam says:

      I am on social security disability, so money is not really there I’m a lot overweight 60 yrs. old but not healthy why bother once I am gone I won’t bother anyone. I still have good relations with me adult children. I live with 2 daughters and 3 grandsons which are my biggest blessing. Loneliness is challenging and I wish I had a trustworthy companion to partner with. It seems people would rather go to a nursing home to be care for until they die I just don’t understand.

  3. DM says:

    I just have to state to posters and original questions, remember 50s and 60s is not old. Life expectancy is 80 or above in most developed countries, and even in centuries past at advanced ages there was still high chance of many years still ahead. While I am not there myself yet many family and friends are, and I see them only looking forward to what tomorrow holds and the years ahead as well as the present. Finding friends starts with being comfortable and happy with yourself.

  4. Nancy says:

    I have been co dependent with my 2 sons, because my husband passed away in January and my financial state has changed drastically. I do work and they both help with the house and mortgage so we San still live
    here. I also have a 93 year old dad I am attending to when he needs me. Life threw us a hard ball. My heart goes out to you.

  5. Connee says:

    I live in a very small town with nothing to do. I have been codependent on my adult children which is driving them away. I have my 88 year old dad to consider
    Help me I’m going crazy

    [Last name removed by moderator. To protect yourself from spammers, please do not post last names. Thanks! Irene]

    • Pam says:

      Know how you feel I thought I had one daughter left then I realized last night at dinner. Her body is there but her mind is far away in a book on her tablet. So I am talking to thin air.

  6. Single 45 says:

    To Renee102254
    I am a dog lover
    I love old movies from the 40’s 50’s and 60′
    I like Gospel , Christian and music from the 70’s and 80’s mostly light rock, pop music and r&b. Groups like Journey, Chicago, Hall and Oaks, I like Whitney Huston, Anita Baker.
    Lastly I hate cancer. I lost my mom one year 5 months ago to Lung cancer. Thanks for sharing this is a good way to open up.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    The best place for lonely people to make friends is at church. People greet each other, small chat, activities, volunteer, men’s group, women’s groups, youth groups. If you don’t see someone that is completable then you may enjoy the service and may feel more fulfilled after the praise and worship.

  8. Renee102254 says:

    I LOVE OLD MOVIES 1930 1940
    SOFT JAZZ
    CAT LOVER
    I HAVE LUNG CANCER

  9. Rose says:

    I have been a divorced woman for 6 years and moved to a new town. Can’t keep a job, can’t meet good people, can’t meet a man and I’m very unhappy and lonely. I have a MS in Psychology and can not find a job that takes a Masters.

    I have lots of experience and feel sad!

    How do I get help for this?

    Rose

    Last name removed by moderator. Please do not use last names to protect yourself from spammers. Thanks! Irene

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