• Making Friends

Finding upbeat friends when you are over 50

Published: March 8, 2016 | By | 12 Replies Continue Reading
An over 50 woman is tired of finding people who only want to talk about their problems.



I’m in my late 50’s and want to connect with groups/people who don’t want to talk about their problems past/present, and want to enjoy what years they have left.

How do I find these people without having to invest in trying to solve their problems? I would I would love to find a group of people who want to travel, converse, and explore the remainder of their healthy years to get some enjoyment out of life.

Signed, Rhoda


Hi Rhoda,

Given the record high life expectancies of women in 2016, it’s likely you have many more years to enjoy all the opportunities posed by this next passage of life.

The best way to find new friends is to mingle with people who have a positive attitude and zest for living. If you identify your own interests, you’ll be able to find kindred spirits. A few examples of where you might start:

  • Are you a reader? Find a book club to join through Meetup.com or your local library.
  • Do you like helping people? Join a group of volunteers at a local nursery, hospital or nursing home.
  • Do you have a passion for the arts? Become a docent at a museum or enroll in a fine arts class.
  • Do you like to travel? Take a trip on a riverboat or smaller ocean cruise. Increasingly, cruise lines are eliminating the onerous “single supplement,” encouraging solo travelers to come onboard.
  • Do you like gardening and dirtying your hands? Join a garden club or interest group at a botanical garden.
  • Do you knit? Join a knitting group sponsored by a local yarn shop.
  • Do you like playing bridge, Mahjongg or Bunco? Find out if there is a local group in your neighborhood.

Be cautious about getting too close too soon and be wary of others who do the same. You can’t expect to make friends immediately but you’ll be placing yourself in a situation(s) where you’ll be seeing the same people day after day or week after week—allowing yourself to make acquaintances first and then to determine which ones are potentially friend-worthy.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Category: Finding friends at different ages and stages, MAKING FRIENDS

Comments (12)

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  1. Judge Judy says:

    I haven’t noticed that all that many people only want to talk about their problems.

    I’d probably steer clear of making friends with someone who was going through a big life ordeal when I first met them. I, too, want to have fun, not nurse some stranger back to a better place. If they were already a friend, that would be different and I think a certain amount of that would be an unspoken responsibility of friendship the same as they should take an interest in helping us through a misfortune.

    However, I’d find it equally off-putting if someone was Polly Sunshine and overly vivacious at all times. I have a neighbor who is like that and she kind of scares me. In fact, I suspect she’s on something.

    Part of what people do as part of becoming friends is begin to confide in them and consult them on more personal matters and that includes Troubles Talk. So I think a balance would be the thing to look for and try for.

  2. talia says:

    I’m also just entering my 50’s and have been divorced for some time and kids are out on their own. I have no problem meeting people, many of the suggestion Irene provided are terrific ways to meet people. It’s figuring out who you want to try and establish as freinds rather than just acquaintences.

    My experience has been that I’ve met a lot of women in groups or clubs who are recently seperated or divorced and are to some degree angry or bitter. I’ve tried taking the approach that it does get better – I’m happier now than I was in a bad marriage – but some people just need time to wallow. I’m polite when I see these people at various events, but I steer clear of getting too close until I sense their overall mood has shifted to a more positive one.

    Just keep enjoying activities that make you happy. Chances are you will connect with some other kindred spirits in time.

    • Catharine says:

      Best response that I have read. Stop trying so hard, God will send you or me one close to home. I guess getting older is a challenge too. It is another phase of life that some struggle with like me. Thank you Talia

  3. Deb says:

    It’s one thing to have problems. It’s another thing to be a chronic complainer and BOY don’t we all know at least one! I think the best thing around those negative types is to always redirect the conversation. If they complain about not being to able to hike a big mountain anymore say, “Well, sure it’s frustrating. But aren’t we lucky we can still go bowling/rowing/walking? By the way, this new bowling alley just opened up and they are forming leagues!” If they complain about not having money to go out say, “Well, sure I’d like to have more money too. But at least the park/museum/public square is free to walk around and take in the sights! In fact, there’s this great new artist exhibit coming up!” Chronic complainers usually just want someone to enable them to continue complaining. Cheerful upbeat people who try to help them solve their dilemmas just frustrate them. So you will probably turn off the negative nellies and attract the positive types if you stay upbeat but DON’T encourage complaining.

  4. Sandra says:

    It definitely takes time to get to know a new friend, and I agree with Irene about the need to take things slowly so that you can ease into new friendships comfortably. Speaking from experience as a women in her 60s, I’ve found that people tend to be on their best behavior in the early stages of a friendship, and then surprise us later with behavior that’s not what we’d hoped to find in a friend. I think this is common.

    I like what Amy said about keeping “boundaries” from the start. Also, I believe it might help if you try steering the conversation away from complaints and problems. See if that works. If your friends keep circling back to the same old complaints or drama, then you might consider letting them know that you want to keep the talk more “positive” and upbeat. Maybe that would that help?

  5. LauraSL says:

    As we get older, life becomes more complicated and we may have more problems, particularly illness – either ourselves or family member (parent, spouse). A serious illness will take over your life. It’s natural to look to friends for support and opinions.

    Keep in mind if your friend is the one with the illness, this can impact their behavior. People who are in pain are often crabby and complain more than usual. As we get older, health issues become more a part of life and get more air time. Aches and pains and trying to be in the best health become a usual part of conversation.

    There are also other issues that may come up more; deaths, divorces, cheating spouses, financial problems. If you’re managing an elderly parent with siblings, this can create conflict and stress.

    • Irene says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful response. Sometimes though, it seems as if we trade one set of problems for others as we pass through different stage of life.

  6. Susan says:

    Check out, boomerly.com!

  7. Amy F says:

    This phrase “Without having to invest in solving their problems” jumped out at me and made me wonder if you could act differently with people you meet and establish emotional boundaries with them and with yourself so you don’t feel like they want/need your help.
    Many if my friends are in their 50s and 60s and problems are part of life. Health, family, financial and relationship issues happen, but I don’t think my friends expect (or even want) a friend to try to solve problems. Just listening and saying, “I’m sorry you’re going through this” is usually enough. If you have difficulty with wanting to solve people’s problems, that’s something you can work on. If you’re meeting people who want you to solve their problems, you don’t have to accept that invitation.

    Even positive people who love life will have struggles if you’ know them long enough, but you can screen our chronic negative people if you get to know them slowly, you’ll be able to screen out people who don’t have the qualities you are seeking. I’ve never made good friend decisions based on loneliness or trying to fulfill something in me because I seem to focus on filling a slot instead of a more organic closeness based on mutual values and likes.

    Speaking of values, you might also try volunteering for a political campaign. I volunteered for the Obama campaign in 2008 and met energetic, hopeful, positive people of all different ages.

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