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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 (1,859)

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  1. doris says:

    hi ibeen a mother of a disabilties person for 38 yrs. now a widow for almost three yrs. hard to find the time and people or person who would want to be involed.with a mother with a disabilties person . people don,t want to be involed. even family don,t want to be involed it,s hard ,but would never give up with my 38 yr.s person. i was married for 36 and half yr.s. now lonely for something i used to have. been looking for help their,s no one .i hope your real. else .don,t answer .this

  2. JB says:

    Looking for a purpose in the last portion of my life. Widow, retired,
    have supportive family, but need my own life interests and goals. Have always been out of the norm – moved often as post WWII California growth sent my father to newly built facilities. Put ahead in school so always a year younger than classmates. Not raised with church or religious affiliation so also out of sync there. Lots of casual friends, but few long-time relationships outside of my family. When I was younger, I was a member of volunteer groups. Not sure what my value would be now. Attending teas and social functions does not have the same appeal. I want to be helpful where I can bring some thought to solving problems or making a situation better. And yes I would like to be able to talk to someone who
    can relate to this perspective.

  3. Ida Fernandez says:

    i am a divorcee. From India. My daughter is grown up and she lives her life. In two years she also will will get married. Loneliness kills me. I feel I am getting into a depression thinking that I would some day die alone.

  4. Carole says:

    Hi I’m exactly the same as you I’m dying of loneliness and it would be great to have someone to talk to a couple of times a week send me your address I will send you a birthday card it’s not nice having nothing on your birthday , just to say I’m 60 and spent 27years caring for my disabled son so I’m very isolated hope to hear from you Carole

    • Irene S. Levine says:

      Thanks for reaching out with kindness, Carole.

      Just a reminder. This site isn’t intended to match visitors, either for romantic or platonic reasons. I’ve repeatedly asked people NOT to post any identifying information because it makes you a target for scammers.

      Iff you want to connect with someone in real life, you can do that through a special group page I’ve set up on Facebook. See:http://www.thefriendshipblog.com/something-new-check-out-friendship-blog-connection-facebook/

      There are currently 724 members in this closed group!

      Thanks for your cooperation~

    • carol ann says:

      Dear Carole,

      I am 66 this year and also so lonely. I do not have any friends left. I have a 46 year old son who is mentally challenged and mentally ill . I spent the last 10 years helping my mother when her husband past away, then my mother had dementia and I went through hell. My siblings went non existent and we no longer have any contact. I too am isolated …I worry what will happen when I die…my son etc.
      Carol Ann

      • Irene says:

        Hi Carol Ann,

        I spent a large portion of my career working closely with families of people with severe mental disorders. Your concern, what will happen when you’re gone, is a common one among family caregivers.

        NAMI is a grassroots national organization that can be so helpful to you in offering you support as a caregiver and also in planning the future. It’s also a place where you can find friendship and understanding.

        I strongly urge you to find out if there is a local group near you: http://www.nami.org/Local-NAMI/Programs?classkey=72e2fdaf-2755-404f-a8be-606d4de63fdb

  5. Carole says:

    I am a 60 year old lady who has spent 28years caring for my disabled son I feel very isolated and lonely , just would like a friend to pop in a couple of times a week for a chat I feel like I’m going mad can anyone help

    • Irene says:

      Being a caregiver is an extremely lonely and exhausting role. I’m not sure what kind of disability your son has but is there any way you can arrange some respite care so you can get some time off to recharge your batteries? Also, there may be some support groups of carers who are handling the same disability who can offer friendship, support and practical advice.

      I know it can be daunting to look for this support on your own. You might start with your own physician or your son’s for some advice. If you belong to a house of worship, you might find some caring people there as well.

      Don’t forget that you need to take care of yourself, too!

      Best, Irene

      • Carolethank says:

        Thanks for your kind words I have a carer that takes my son out who has spina bifida 3 times a week for a couple of hours but I’m very lonley the rest of the time it was nice to here someone cares thankyou again Carole

  6. 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

    • B says:

      Sorry to hear about your cat, its like losing your best friend when you loose a pet. Can you get another cat or a dog? there are absolutley loads in shelters that are desperate for a good home. You must be doing something right if youyr cat lived till 19!.My oldest cat was 17.
      If not what about volunteering at a shelter? you will be helping the animals and meeting new people.

  7. 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.

      • Brenda Skeen says:

        Hello Pam

        Have just read your post and felt the need to say hello to you.I am 65 ,and in similar situation as yourself,little income,not too good health although I do live on my own and manage day to day life. This lonliness is awful, and while i have no answers at the moment to change my situation i want you to know that your not alone . Thank you for taking the time to read this.

        Brenda

    • Helen says:

      I feel the same way, Peter. I’d just like someone to chat with once in awhile. The past few years have been horrendous, loss of so many family members. I don’t see anyone saying where they are located. Where are you? Before you choose to answer: I just turned 70 this month and I had no one to celebrate with…though I did get a card from a cousin.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    • Helen says:

      Could people put their cities/states in please? maybe some of us are close enough to visit!

      • Irene says:

        HI Helen,

        You are probably new here. Welcome!

        This site isn’t intended to match visitors, either for romantic or platonic reasons. I’ve repeatedly asked people NOT to post any identifying information because it makes you a target for scammers.

        Iff you want to connect with someone in real life, you can do that through a special group page I’ve set up on Facebook. See:http://www.thefriendshipblog.com/something-new-check-out-friendship-blog-connection-facebook/

        There are currently 723 members in this closed group!

        Thanks for your cooperation! Best, Irene

        • Helen says:

          Thank you. I really wasn’t trying to connect romantically, I just thought if some of us were close by each other we could get to be friends.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Renee102254 says:

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

  14. 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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