• Making Friends

5 tips for making friends after 50

Published: June 5, 2011 | Last Updated: July 14, 2013 By | 8 Replies Continue Reading

Worried about making friends after 50? Here are some tips…

If you feel bereft of friends, you’re not alone. Women are often stressed to the limits while they’re simultaneously juggling careers and caring for children and/or aging parents. During those busy years, spending time with friends may feel like a self-indulgent luxury. Later, when we reach our 50s, we finally get a reprieve from some of these responsibilities and suddenly realize that our list of close friends has dwindled to only a few or is virtually nonexistent.

It’s true that many friendships shift with the seasons of our lives. Friendships we thought would last forever are left behind after we graduate high school and college. Young mothers form fast but fleeting friendships with the parents of their children’s friends. And it’s common for women who work outside the home to develop close bonds with their workplace colleagues, with whom they spend so many hours.

But after their kids leave the nest or they stop working, women may find themselves drifting apart from friendships that turn out to have been situational—linked more closely to being at the same place at the same time than to feeling like kindred spirits. When we lose common ground, relationships don’t always mesh the way they once did.

Others may find that the friendships they’ve maintained have begun to feel too stifling, complicated, or unsatisfying. A feeling of loneliness creeps in and they wish they had at least one friendship that was comfortable and easy, someone to call at the last minute to go for a walk or catch a chick flick— a friendship that’s spontaneous rather than one that needs to be scheduled weeks or months in advance.

Here are a few suggestions about how and where to find that special kind of friend:

1. Pursue your interests.

Making friends is more a function of circumstances rather than age, per se. No one is more attractive to others than someone who is engaged in life. Whether you join a gym, take an art course, sign up for dancing lessons, or volunteer at a nonprofit, find something that stirs your passions and places you in regular contact with the same people week after week. Friendships will follow.

2. Initially, look for acquaintances rather than close friends.

Every best friendship starts off with the exchange of a smile, question, or comment. Best friends don’t grow on trees and real relationships take time to nurture. As two people get to know each other, the layers peel away until they fall into a comfortable groove. Don’t fall prey to expecting too much too soon or act too needy; give deep friendships a chance to blossom by being open and honest.

3. Join a group or several groups.

Become active in your community: There is life after the PTA and scouting. Can you become a friend of the library? Participate in local government by serving on a committee of one sort or the other? Join an existing book group or cooking club, or start one of your own. Go to www.meetup.com to find out about various interest groups; they are catalogued there by zip code.

4. Turn your virtual friendships into real ones.

Perhaps you are spending too much time behind your computer screen. Find out if any of your online friendships have the potential to be face-to-face ones. Do some of your Twitter or Facebook friends live nearby? As an added bonus, reducing the amount of time you spend online will give you more time and motivation for forming real friendships.

5. Reframe your thinking.

Perhaps you have been limited by looking for people who look just like you. You can expand your pool and might be better off seeking out people who are little bit different, in terms of age or lifestyle. Is there an elderly neighbor on your block who might welcome your company, or a young mother who would love to have some adult companionship once in a while? Intergenerational friendships yield valuable payoffs on both sides.

Many women are lulled into thinking that midlife is too late to make friends and that everyone else is paired up already, just like the twosomes on the Ark. But if you look around, you’ll find that there are other women as hungry for friendship as you are and it’s just the right time to make friends for the rest of your life.


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Category: How to make friends, MAKING FRIENDS

Comments (8)

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  1. Sandra Lowe says:

    I had my heart broken and felt let down by the man I’ve loved since I was young always dreamed we would one day get married only for him reck my life

  2. Roy says:

    I just happened to fall upon your website. I am 53 year old man that is so alone it’s unreal I’m disabled I have a bad back and can barely get around with a caneI try my hardest everyday to make myself feel better but the loneliness hurts the worstI go to the pool for days a weekthere is a woman there and I would like to need but I’m too scared to talk to hercuz I’ve been hurt so many times I don’t want to be hurt.

    again plus I don’t know what to say to herI love your website so it was great I want to read more I’m really tired right now

    • elaine fawcett says:

      hi roy im 55 got divorced when i was 39 met a few mwn after had my heart broken but now i am not looking for anyone other than friendship i have a few friends but feel content much better than the hurt

  3. Carol says:

    Hello, The whole idea of having the courage to make new friendships or keep the current ones growing, for me is about using creativity and spontaneity in my life. These are energies that are loaded with shadow. They represent powerful threats to the ego which longs for the safe and familiar in our lives. As someone who has been on the planet almost 75 years, I never forget the many trials and errors in attempting to keep friends, leave friends, make new friends and feeling so inadequate to the task. It is a lifelong task to continue to know yourself well enough to by-pass that hungry ego and put the self you have grown into out there when it feels inviting. For me the most important process I have gone through, learning it with each loss, was how to grieve through the loss.
    I feel I have become the person I was meant to be because I just kept reflecting on the loss and tried to understand my feelings and know that as an individual I did it my own way. I had to learn I held the answers to my life’s journey, yes, others could encourage me, make suggestions, but it was up to me to create it. The truth has a habit of revealing itself and I just keep looking for my truth.

    Best to all, Carol

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi, Thanks for sharing. I am 53 and don’t have children/grandchildren to crow about. Seems to be a major topic to share with other mature women. I happen to be gay and in a long term relationship, but I find friendships with only other gay women limiting and mostly couples anyway.
    The irony is that I am often jealous of my straight sisters who seem to have groups of ‘girlfriends’ who they go to brunch with, movies, etc.
    Anyone have experience with having male ‘buddies’? I am at a point were coming out to both men and women is matter of fact, though some straight men don’t or won’t back off. I am afraid that when I come out to straight women whom I may share an interest with, camping, art, football they might think of it as a “come on”.

    Yes, I am friends with my spouse, but everyone needs a healthy relief valve outside of marriage! Any experiences/ideas would help!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great piece. I am 51 and this falling off of friends happened around 40 when 1.) I came down with a chronic illness and lost pace with my fast track friends and 2.) I didn’t have kids.

    So the past decade was that long corridor you’re in, you know? When God closes a window, he opens a door, but the corridor can feel like forever.

    A lot of trial and error, trying to make female friends. But I realize that as a happily married woman in “my prime” I don’t really have to worry about making friends with men and anyone getting the wrong idea anymore.
    I’ve always gotten along with guys, and I find that it’s key not to just look to women for friendship. And don’t forget that it’s Gay-Lesbian-Bi-Sexual-Transgender week — remember that someone who might be quite different from in a sexual way, may turn out to be a soul-mate in a more fundamental way. And they will be grateful for your open-mindedness.

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