Seven tips for making friends in retirement

Having good friends is important to having a happy life, particularly as we get older. This guide will help you to expand your social circle, as we look forward to restrictions lifting. 

Friends for life

Friendships are hugely beneficial as we age. A study by psychologist William Choprik concluded that not only do friendships contribute to happiness and physical and mental health, they are also a huge source of support in times of need.

‘Friendships become even more important as we age. Keeping a few really good friends around can make a world of difference for our health and well-being. So it’s smart to invest in the friendships that make you happiest.’ William Chopik

Friends help us in the tough times, but they also enrich our lives, broadening our outlook by introducing us to new experiences and social situations. If you feel you’d like to make a few more friends, this guide offers inspiration to get you started.

How to make friends 

1. Reach out to old pals

Sometimes life gets in the way of friendships and we just fall out of touch with people we really like, without really knowing why. So drop an old friend a line. They’re likely be pleased to hear from you and catching up on the intervening years will give you plenty to talk about. Always take up opportunities to go to work or school reunions too.

2. Make friends online

Technology has introduced us to a new and exciting era for friendship, giving everyone the opportunity to speak and connect regardless of location or lifestyle. As well as making it easier to talk to friends and family wherever they live, there are social networks and sites for people to meet and make friends. Find companionship by sharing experiences, stories and opinions on a forum. Or, if you are single, why not try online dating? Even if you don’t find love straight away you may very well strike up a friendship or two.

3. Join a new club

Joining a club is a fantastic way to make new friends. Look out for local sports clubs that are in line with your interests, from swimming and canoeing to cricket or golf. Or ask at your local community centre about social groups, yoga or fitness clubs or hobby/crafting meetups like ‘knit and natter’. Most areas offer a range of opportunities to meet new people like walking groups, book clubs or history societies – so you are bound to find something to suit your tastes.

4. Learn a new skill

Alternatively look for educational courses where you learn a new skill, like conversational Spanish, pottery or Indonesian cookery. You could even think about furthering your education. It is never too late to do a degree, masters or even a doctorate either.

5. Volunteer

Volunteering for a local charity or community group is the perfect way to forge new friendships. As well as doing good, volunteering also likely to broaden your horizons by introducing you to people from different social and cultural backgrounds or with completely different interests and tastes.

6. Age is just a number

If you start volunteering or join a new club, don’t exclude the idea of making friends from different generations. A younger friend can share their unique insights and views on the world and you can share yours, offering up new perspectives for both of you.

7. Get to know your neighbours

There are plenty of plus points to getting to know your neighbours. It can enhance happiness by creating a sense of being part of a community and means you don’t have to travel far to enjoy a good chat. It also means there’s someone on hand if you have a problem or need someone to check on your home when you’re on holiday, water plants, or even look after your pets.

Could a retirement community be the answer?

Retirement developments like McCarthy Stone, quickly turn into supportive and thriving communities and often offer a regular programme of social events and activities to suit all interests– so you’re likely to meet some good neighbours and new friends.

The community is really friendly. I’ve got to know a lot of names already…we go down to the garden and take out our wine glasses and someone usually brings a bottle.Jean Taylor, McCarthy Stone Homeowner

It’s a very nice community. The lady downstairs left a bunch of Sweet Peas outside the door when I moved in.Sheila Walters, McCarthy Stone Homeowner

83% of homeowners experience a sense of community in their McCarthy Stone retirement property.

McCarthy Stone is the UK’s leading developer of retirement communities offering beautiful retirement properties to rent or for sale. For more information, please visit McCarthy Stone.  Or browse McCarthy Stone retirement apartments for sale or rent across the UK.


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3rd Apr 2021
Thanks for voting!
One thing I wish I hadn't done is move to a completely new place as soon as I retired. I didn't have a huge circle of local friends because I'd spent my entire life working in a different place from where I lived. I didn't imagine it would be much different if I moved somewhere else, but boy, was I wrong! By retirement age most people have set themselves into a nice comfortable little "clique" of friends, family and acquaintances, in a place they've lived in for years. They don't need new people. We are spoken of somewhat disdainfully as "incomers" and if we want to make new friends, we have to seek out other newcomers, which makes for a rather uncomfortable "them & us" local community. In my view, you just don't make solid friends when you're older, you have to do it when you're young, and then you have to stay within sight & sound of them. Don't move away! That's my considered opinion, take it or leave it. Have a happy holiday weekend, folks, whoever you're spending it with.

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