Five Foolproof Steps for Making Friends After 50

UPDATE:  Though I wrote this post 4 years go, wonderful people keep commenting and reaching out for ideas about how to form new friendships in midlife and beyond.  Though the post is old, the issues are timeless.  And as you can see from a follow up post, I’ve learned from my readers that there is really no foolproof way to find friends at any stage of life.  That said, the ideas in this post work for many of us.  But the most helpful aspect of the post comes from everyone who has left comments.  So please keep telling your stories, sharing your ideas, and reaching out for support.  Also don’t forget that I offer a free 30 minute coaching session to my followers (sign up on home page) if you need encouragement and a few new ideas.  The original post:

I just moved to Colorado a few months ago. I was excited about the change, but worried about how I would adjust, since I didn’t know anyone here (apart from my daughter, son-in-law, and baby granddaughter.) The last time I moved, from Boston to Florida, I didn’t make much of an effort to form new connections. Instead, I maxed out my cell phone plan calling up my old Boston friends. I spent too much quality time with Ben & Jerry’s. I was lonely, but I didn’t want to admit it, and figured that my town just wasn’t a good place to meet people my age. Then I was introduced to a friend of a friend who had moved to my town in Florida only three months earlier. She is a widow in her mid 60s with some health problems. But she is vibrant and happy. And she rapidly made a bunch of new friends who keep her very busy. I felt a little embarrassed that she had pulled off something in a few months that I hadn’t managed in well over a year. I realized that I had fallen for a self-fulfilling prophecy: That you can’t make friends over 50 because everybody in that age group already has enough friends. But I’m learning that’s just a myth. There are lots of people out there who need or want friends: Their lives may have been jolted by geographic moves, divorce, or loss of a spouse or partner. Some people simply wake up and realize that some of the friends they have no longer offer the support that makes their friendships worthwhile. I know someone who has been going out to dinner with a friend once a week for the last 20 years. They have absolutely nothing in common except for their weekly dinner ritual.

So when I arrived in Colorado, I made a resolution to actively seek out friendships. Here are the steps I used to keep me out of solitary confinement:

1. Admit that you are lonely

Self-awareness is the first step. Last year, I got so used to a limited social life and a lack of local confidantes, that I stopped noticing how lonely I was. A trip back to New England—where old friends seemed very interested in spending time with me—reminded me of what I was missing. So pay attention to the signs of social disconnection: Are telemarketers the only people who call you in the evenings? Is watching Grey’s Anatomy or Project Runway the highlight of your week? Have you stopped cooking meals because it’s so much trouble for “only one?” Do you find excuses to strike up conversations with strangers in supermarket checkout lines? Whatever your loneliness red flags, recognize that loneliness is not a character flaw—it’s simply God’s way of telling you to GET A LIFE!

2. Decide what kind of friend you want to be

The most important ingredient you bring to a relationship is yourself. What kind of energy and commitment are you willing to put out there in your search for connections? Make a decision that you will show up in the world as someone who is worth having as a friend. That way your energy, honesty, and caring personality will draw people to you when you meet.

3. Reflect on the qualities you are looking for in a friend

Even though you don’t have enough (any?) friends right now, this is no time to lower your standards. In fact, the more conscious you are about what kind of friends you want to have, the more likely you’ll find people who meet your needs. Are you looking for someone who:
Enjoys some of the same activities you do?
Shares your political or religious beliefs?
Has something in common that you can both talk about?
Doesn’t complain excessively about physical symptoms or family problems?
Has a similar standard of living?
Likes to listen as much as she talks?

Once you have identified your criteria, keep them on your radar as you implement step 4.

4. Become a joiner

This is a tough one, because so many of us are shy about joining groups. My Florida friend adopted the strategy of saying yes to any invitation she received to get involved. She joined a scrabble club, a singing group, and a meditation group, all at the invitation of her new neighbors. She is already so wired into the local community, you’d never know she’s only been living here for only a few months. On the other hand, I have a friend who recently retired, who has thought about joining some environmental organizations, but who resists, saying “I don’t do groups.” Accept your discomfort about groups and join some anyway. It’s really the only efficient way to meet kindred spirits. View it as a necessary evil. And choose only those groups devoted to activities or causes that you are passionate about. Focus on how you can contribute to a worthy cause, and you’ll lose your self-consciousness about being the new kid on the block.

5. Invite people to dinner

Many of us are intimidated by the prospect of having people to our homes, especially people we don’t know all that well. So challenge yourself to dust off that old recipe book, and host a dinner party for a few people you hardly know. It will give you a night off from eating Lean Cuisine, and there is nothing like home-cooked food to help people feel welcome and connected. By inviting a small number of new acquaintances, you won’t have to worry about keeping the conversation going all by yourself—your other guests can help you. If the thought of food preparation makes you want to jump off a bridge, plan a pot luck dinner, or even a group dinner at a modestly priced restaurant. The important thing is to break out of your social shell and take those first steps to forming new friendships.
Thanks to, a great online resource for connecting with people based on common interests, I am actually enjoying the process of meeting new people. I joined a local writing group and an alternative healing group. I really clicked with Annie, another member of my writing group. So now I’m fortunate to have my first Colorado buddy, who coincidentally lives right in my neighborhood. Gotta stop blogging so I can meet Annie for breakfast.
Meanwhile I hope you’ll use the comments section to share your experiences and ideas about making new friends—at any age!

131 Responses to “Five Foolproof Steps for Making Friends After 50”

  1. Maggie 04. Jan, 2015 at 4:58 am #

    Hi, everyone,
    So glad I came across this site. Its the same here in the UK..I’m 59, and I’m so lonely. I am self employed too, so work alone most of the time. My kids have left home and I divorced over 20 years ago, so I have lived alone for 7 years.
    I always seem to be the one who tries to organise things to do with people I know, but it either gets cancelled or people aren’t interested. I very rarely get a call from anyone, so I usually call them. Its very upsetting to be the one who makes the effort all the time.
    There is very little going on in my home town for single people and I am so frustrated with it. Over Christmas I didn’t leave my house for 6 days.

    I have joined several networking sites, but I want a real person to talk to and someone I can support too. The loneliness really gets to me and I struggle to understand how my life turned into this.

    I had no idea that it would be so difficult to make just one friend in all this time. But its a comfort to know that there are lots of us in the same position. Maybe this new year will be a better one for us all !

  2. Kathy 04. Jan, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

    Hi Maggie–Thanks so much for responding to my post. It’s amazing how many of us are struggling with loneliness in middle age and beyond. I was heartbroken to hear that you spent 6 days alone over Christmas holidays. I understand your desire to spend time with ‘real people.” And I appreciate your frustration about being the one who reaches out, but doesn’t get the response you need and deserve. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE???

    I too am self-employed and spend most days in front of my computer at home. So when I go out to shop at the grocery store or pharmacy, etc, I often find myself talking “too much” to people I don’t even know–just for the social contact. As you may have seen from my replies to other folks, I’m a big fan of finding something you really enjoy and getting involved with organizations (and people) that promote your interests. I’m in a good mood now because I’ll be spending Saturdays the next ten weeks volunteering with a whale surveying project on the northeast Florida Coast where I live much of the year. We do our work in small groups, get lots of fresh air, enjoy the company of people we’ve never met before, and if we’re lucky, we even spot a few North Atlantic Right whales (an endangered species) who come to this area to calf. This time last year I connected up with this research project serendipitously when I overheard people talking about the whale project at a birdwalk I went to. Something about the idea of whales appealed to me, so I barged into their conversation to find out about the project, and “the rest is history.” I made a few friends from working on this project, something I never could have predicted. So what works for me is to find groups/organizations dedicated to causes and interests that appeal to me, and potentially find friends through my involvement with such groups.

    I’ve spent plenty of time at home watching TV and movies. I enjoy it, but I’ve never met a friend while at home on my couch. Not to say there isn’t a need to periocially relax and refuel by ourselves. So I hope going forward you’ll focus on engaging in activities that have meaning for you, and look for friends who share your interests and passions. They are the ones most likely to want to connect with you.

    Please keep us posted on your experiences. We can all learn from each other. Life is not easy, but we can take comfort in sharing our experiences with kindred spirits–even if they are “only” online. XX-kathy

  3. Kathy 04. Jan, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    Hi Jim–Thanks so much for responding. When I read your post, I initially thought that what you are experiencing might be a signal to embrace a transition to a new phase of life in which you reflect on what your interests and passions are, then find groups/organizations/ etc. that engage you. As you’ve probably seen from my responses to others, I’ve come to believe that the best way to make friends is not to try to make friends. Rather, it’s to find vehicles that allow you to pursue your highest interests and passions. It may be volunteer groups, for example. Over the last 5 years I’ve learned that the best way to connect with others is to focus on connecting with groups that share my passions. If I find kindred spirits by my involvement through organizations that support my interests, that’s great. Even if I don’t make friends this way, I still have the blessing of connecting to activities that help give me purpose and meaning. I think it’s a no lose situation. But one thing I don’t think works that well is to try to find friends through groups that have nothing to do with my deep interests. So Jim-I hope you won’t let worries about “effeminate” interests deter you. We are in the 21st century and whatever you choose to do that fulfills you is a worthy endeavor. XX

  4. Kathy 04. Jan, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

    Hi Jim–I can’t apologize enough for not responding when you commented on this blog post month ago. It must have been frustrating to pour your heart out and get no response. Again–I am SO Sorry. Would love to know how you are doing now that the holiday season is over. If you are willing, please respond to kathy[at]drkathyjordan[dot]com.

    Best regards, XXX Kathy

  5. Helena Hayes 08. Jan, 2015 at 3:50 am #

    Having had a multitude of friends in my twenties, my life circumstances (including multiple tragedies and long term illness due to heavy metal poisoning from leaking amalgam fillings) were such that I eventually found myself over 50 and quite lonely. I have my own hypothesis that one seems to be able to form close psychological bonds with others when they are young, but even when you meet people in older years, that close psychological bond doesnt form in the same way it used to – I think of my adolescent children for examaple – their friend means everything. But at my age, friendships are often more like acquaintances or exist while there is common reason for us to be together, but then disappears very quickly once that common purpose no longer exists. For example, I enrolled to do a couple of subjects in a law degree last year in an effort to meet like minded people. I met a couple of mature age students at law school who I became close to – but once exams were over and we all passed, the connection faded out very quickly.

    By contrast, I started surfing facebook for some very old school friends. One was my best freind when we were 12 years old and just starting high school – our family moved house after my first year. I simply messaged her (not having seen her for 40 years) and asked if it was her. She replied it was. We exchanged information on how our lives had gone. She was now living in another state over a thousand miles away. But she flew down to South Australia and we spent a lovely day together. And I now have someone I can visit if ever I visit her state. I didnt recognise her to look at, and personality wise she was different – like a middle aged woman rather than a 12 year old (LOL), but we reconnected in warm close conversation very quickly – something about the bond that had formed 40 years ago.

    Similarly, a friend who I hadnt seen in 30 years sent me a facebook message. We reconnected again so easily. She asked me to visit her mother who remembered me well and was quite lonely – I did that for her. Unfortunately my old friend lives at the other end of Australia now, but I have an invitation to go and stay with her.

    And 20 years ago, I had a male friend for a year in a course that I was studying. I similarly went out of my way to contact him. Knew he belonged to a theater group that I also had some involvement in. So I invited him and a couple of other theatre friends to a casual dinner restaurant. And this friend (we are not both single again) is very keen to have regular contact with me (my concern being that I’m just lonely and want people around – not sure if I want a boyfriend -especially with my fat saggy 50 plus year old body).

    But the point is that I found going backward to be very successful – I’m quite extrovert, but others are just shy and seemed very willing to reciprocate once I had made the first contact. Thought this may be a worthwhile suggestion.

  6. Kathy 08. Jan, 2015 at 6:11 am #

    Helena–thanks so much for your thoughtful comments and wonderful suggestions. It’s clear you’ve analyzed the elements of mid-life loneliness quite carefully. What you’ve said makes great sense and also makes me wonder if there might even be brain changes that account in part for the apparent differences in capacity for forming deep friendships early vs. later in life. I admire the steps you took to reconnect with friends from your past. I’m sure others will be inspired by your ideas!

  7. Danielle 31. Jan, 2015 at 4:34 pm #

    Hi Kathy,

    Thank you for responding. I’ve read further along, read about your involvement with a whale group (very interesting!) and your idea that what’s important is honing in on what interests you rather than what you believe will help you find potential friends. And I appreciate your comment about being ahead of the game because I have two good friends already – I think I overlook that because we seldom see each other.

    I propose that someone create a speed-friending system that works the same way speed-dating does. !! We go into a room and sit at a table and when the buzzer goes, someone jumps into the seat across from us and we have five minutes of Q&A until the buzzer sounds again, when someone else jumps into that seat. Wouldn’t that be something?! I have my questions prepared already… “What would you prefer to be doing on a Saturday night? Are you a speedy shopper? What is your favorite day of the week to join a friend for lunch? Does my butt look flat in this? On a scale of one to ten, how obvious is my mustache? What’s the best way to get water stains off glass shower doors? Do you promise to point out the restroom wherever we go?” tee hee.

    But really, there must be a solution – so many of us are lonely. (Maybe most of us are lonely, and it is only the minority, and the people in commercials, who are not.)

    One of my favorite movies, Shirley Valentine, is about a woman who practices “being alone doesn’t mean being lonely”. The title character seems to embrace life in a way I haven’t yet learned to, although I do talk to walls and other inanimate objects. But it isn’t very often I gaze at a sunset or look across a crowded restaurant and not feel an undercurrent of sadness that comes from loneliness, even when I’m not alone. I guess if you’re alone most of the time – or if you are lonely most of the time – it doesn’t disappear the odd time you go out… it seems to always be there. I wonder if there is a way to simply enjoy being alone and then there won’t be an undercurrent of sadness. Can we get busy enough to forget we are lonely? Can we occupy ourselves with projects to keep loneliness at bay? Is it like “you’ll meet the right one when you stop looking” – if we can forget that we are lonely, we’ll find a friend? Do we have to leave the house to find a friend? Because for me, that’s the hard part.

  8. Rajneesh 08. Aug, 2015 at 5:19 am #

    This loneliness is the single biggest curse in my otherwise good life ..not opportunity to make friends even though I can be a great fun in company – in early 50s it seems impossible. I am an Indian expat in Singapore but the nature of my job excludes quality social interactions that emanate from professional connections.
    Anyone ins Singapore who has similar conundrum.


  9. Kathy 08. Aug, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

    Dear Rajineesh–I’m so sorry you deal with loneliness as an Indian expat in Singapore. However, it does tell me how challenging it is to find new relationships as we age and move. From your story, I realize that this is a global issue, not just something that happens in the United States. I am a US citizen and resident, well over 50, who moved to a new area a few years ago, and I often feel lonely. I can’t even imagine how much more difficult it is to find friends in a completely different culture. Please know that, though I don’t have magic solutions, I keep you in my heart, and I wish you the best. Please stay in touch, and if you find ways to connect in your new location, I hope you will share them to inspire us all. Best regards-Kathy

  10. Thomas 09. Aug, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

    What a fascinating insight in what appears to be a 21st Century problem. Following the death of my wife to cancer at the age of 55 I lost my soulmate. To say life has been challenging would be an understatement but one of the truth”s I have learned since is that you have to maintain a connection with people, no matter how tenuous. I have suffered devestating almost suicidal loneliness since her death but knew, as she did, that I would have to put myself “out there”.
    I am not a group person, but I persisted and now belong to about four. I have met some lovely people and have certainly widened my circle of acquaintances. Do, I still suffer from loneliness – yes I do, crippling at times, but I keep making the effort. In truth it really is all you can do. Don’t look too hard for a new friend or friends but persue your own interests – you never know who you will meet and in the process your self confidence and feeling of self worth will strengthen.
    Good luck to you all – you all sound like someone people would love to have as a friend to me……..

  11. Kathy 09. Aug, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

    Dear Thomas, What a lovely and inspiring story. It must be heartbreaking to lose your soulmate. No one can replace her. But I applaud your decision to stay alive and do your best to reconnect with others. I think you are spot on about finding groups based on your interests rather than hunting desperately for new friends. I hope you’ll update us periodically on your progress. Meanwhile, some colleagues and I are writing an ebook about how to overcome loneliness. Would you perhaps be willing to be interviewed for the book about your strategies for making friends and building new connections? If so, please contact me at kathy[at]drkathyjordan[dot]com. All my best-k

  12. Missy 18. Aug, 2015 at 10:42 am #

    I live in a very rural location where access to activities and groups is limited. And, where you are basically an outcast and don’t fit in if you were not born and raised here, even though I have been here for over 25 years! I have tried a couple of different things but it is obviously I don’t fit in. I’ve never found it easy to make friends or fit in and, now that I am almost 50, I find myself staying home alone a lot. I have learned to enjoy my own company WAY too much!! Seriously!!!

  13. Leila 30. Aug, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

    I was doing a search and fell into this site. here i am 76, quite beautiful for my age, slender, spiritual, smart and i feel like i need more friends. Lately I have felt loneliness. it isn’t always like this. Might be partly that my grandkids have very good but overprotective parents and they don’t let them do overnights, oldest is going on 11!!!!!!!!!!! Sad is not to be confused with lonely. They are not here to fill my loneliness just my need to get to know them better and play with them. back to subject: i am going to do volunteering for Bernie Sanders, have been on the dating sites a long time.. have a spiritual ( not religious) book group weekly that meets at my house, do some nursing assessments for long term care companies. Was in a women’s group but can’t commit to the next 6 months. i don’t like to drive in winter at night. ( they do commitments) The library has some groups. I coud start a volunteer group at the library for older folks, possible, I am a psyc nurse? just a thought. I am noticing many of my friends still have their hubbys, friends have friends from their work, like retired flight attendants etc My oldest son is on the west coast, my middle son is always busy, my youngest son drives up to see me every month, we have a really good time getting together. we are good friends. So, maybe nothing is wrong, but I still need more friends.

  14. Sherry Fowler 31. Aug, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

    Hi everyone. I moved to As in ,09 and am the loneliest person I know. It’s hard for me to make friends. I have family here and yet I spend my time alone. How can I make friends at my age. I’m 54. Can someone please help me

  15. Allison 02. Sep, 2015 at 9:07 am #

    I am embarking on a new journey, and frankly not by choice. My long-term boyfriend/life partner (whatever you want to call him) of 13 years has decided he wants more out of life, which he claims doesn’t include me. So here I am, over 50 and starting life all over again.

    What I find a bit daunting is that over the years we had become comfortable in our lives, being our own best (and pretty much only) friends. We’ve done everything together and have not had a need for outside friends. Now it isn’t a matter of dividing up the friends, but finding new ones. I can already feel the loneliness settling in, and I don’t want to feel this way. I am not looking to get into the dating scene, if at all to be honest. Rather, I would like to find people with common interests to spend quality time with.

    I appreciated the advice you have given in the article, as well as the comments, and I just wanted to say thank you.

  16. Kathy 02. Sep, 2015 at 9:20 am #

    Hi Allison, your situation is not easy. Fortunately, your focus on finding friends with common interests is very smart. It will take time to grieve the loss of your long-term relationship, so be patient with yourself and allow time to heal. If you haven’t already read my book “Becoming a Life Change Artist” you may find that encouraging. I also like William Bridges “Transitions.” It’s a classic and does a great job explaining the early phase of a life transformation which he calls the “neutral zone.” It’s actually not completely neutral, since it’s accompanied by a lot of emotions, but it is a necessary pause before you can move ahead successfully. Best wishes on your journey. I hope to hear from you again.

  17. Kathy 02. Sep, 2015 at 9:23 am #

    Hi Sherry, thanks for commenting on the blog. Different people have different ways of making friends, depending on their personality and interests. Have you read through all the blog comments? Over the years, quite a few ideas have been discussed. After you’ve done that, I hope you’ll share your reactions and follow up questions.

  18. Kathy 02. Sep, 2015 at 9:30 am #

    Hi Leila, it does sound like you are doing all the right things, and I admire your activism, your expression of spirituality, and your connection to your youngest son. I love your idea of starting a library-based volunteer group. Perhaps you could help others experiencing similar feelings and challenges in forming new connections. At this stage of life, most of us have lost either spouses or friends, and many people don’t have the natural skills you do to reach out. Thanks for sharing your experience, and I hope you’ll keep me posted on how you are doing.

  19. Kathy 02. Sep, 2015 at 9:47 am #

    Hi Missy, as you can tell from comments on this blog, you are not alone. It’s a good thing to be a good friend to yourself. It’s a reality that some geographic areas are not very welcoming to “newcomers” and rural areas don’t offer much in the way of activities and interest groups. I don’t often recommend this, but have you ever considered relocating to a friendlier area? I live in Saint Augustine Florida now, where people seem much friendlier than other places I’ve lived. I found this article about friendliest and unfriendliest cities interesting-with most of the friendly cities being in the South. Food for thought. Also, have you looked for online groups based on your interests? Online connections aren’t a perfect substitute for face to face friendships, but they can be surprisingly supportive and often turn into “real life” friendships. As an example, there are social networks especially dedicated to pet or animal lovers. See this site for a list Here is an online book discussion group To find an online group, google “online groups for [whatever you’re interested in.} Best wishes and hope to hear from you again!

  20. Stephanie 05. Sep, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    This was a fascinating to read to stumble upon. And you’re right, Kathy, it’s amazing to see how many people feel the same way, so thank you for making a conversation thread like this available to view.

    All the advice on here is great, and I have followed it quite vigorously over the last 5-6 years…with, trying out new classes, traveling, etc. I’m 41 years old, have never been married and have no children. I find that the latter two qualities to be the ones that seem to “lock me out” of developing deep relationships with new people. Once they find out I have no children, they seem to no longer have an interest in talking with me. I always assumed I would have children, but never found the right guy, and refused to have children with the wrong ones. Now I feel like I’m being punished because I haven’t conformed. I agree with other posts that forming close bonds at this age seems to be more difficult. I distinctly remember feeling like I had good friends in high school. Since then, everyone seems to just want to do their own thing, and most of my single female friends are obsessed with finding a husband and nothing else. So, even if I do get together for dinners or anything, they’re busy texting the latest flavor of the month.

    So, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying new things with the goal of finding a hobby I can count on to get me out of the house on weekends. Nothing has stuck so far. And here’s the kicker with me now…my loneliness has become so paralyzing that I no longer have an interest in trying anything. I’m tired of trying to force a friendship that isn’t there, tired of dating men who want nothing close to a commitment, tired of being phony around coworkers…who are all married with children. I still try to stay “busy”, but I don’t get any enjoyment out of it anymore. Am I grateful for having a stable job? Yes. Grateful for my health, the ability to occasionally travel, eat good food, etc.? Yes. But it’s not enough, and I feel so selfish and ungrateful for saying that.

    I know that what I’m really looking for is a sense of family. I don’t know how to find this in strangers and I think I’ve finally accepted that I won’t find that closeness with the friends I currently have (or with the small long-distance family I’ve tried with). I’m so tired of feeling sick to my stomach from the emptiness every morning. Any additional advice on how to get re-energized is always appreciated :-).

  21. Kathy 05. Sep, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

    Hi Stephanie, I am so moved by your story. You are so articulate and empathetic that it seems a particular crime that you struggle with loneliness. I feel like we have to break out of the bubble to help people like you and me find ways to connect with kindred spirits who can nurture us and allow us to nurture others. I’m fuzzy at this point about the best way to proceed. But would you be willing to explore some ways to help people like you and me find relationships, connection and purposeful alliances that would help us do good in huge world while at the same time finding kindred spirits/friends? This is definitely rough draft thinking but I’d really like to explore how to create a more meaningful social network. XX k

  22. Stephanie 05. Sep, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

    Hi Kathy,

    You have found the perfect description for what I feel I’m missing – kindred spirits. I have definitely found a few over the years, so I know what it feels like and what I, therefore, keep seeking. But in the last 10+ years or so, I have only made that connection with people who are unavailable in that capacity (i.e., people with spouses or close family members, who don’t have the same need for this as I do). Add to that rejection in dating and other situations where expectations are not met, and here I am. I would absolutely be willing to explore other avenues, particularly since what I have been trying doesn’t seem to be working. And I must say, your kind words and the simple act of reading and responding to posts does a great service to this community of lost souls!

  23. Beth Newman 07. Sep, 2015 at 4:11 am #


    I can’t remember what I keyed into Google that stumbled upon this site. The responses are very articulate and echo sentiments of my own.
    It seems that if you are single and have no children you may be a threat to women in a relationship or too hard to deal with.Is this why I am not invited to barbeques.

    It is very hard to be invited to a dinner party as a middle-aged single woman.

    It is also disappointing to discover that the only reason one received male attention in their youth was because of their sensual allure. And I thought I was interesting and witty!!! I’m crushed.

    My personality remains unchanged. I am still witty and interesting. I am merely older and wiser. Doubly threatening to the insecure male I’ll warrant. If women were still burned at the stake I daresay I would have been satayed.

    To add to the pessimistic outlook the few friends I do have are terminally ill and after they leave this mortal coil I will be even more alone. Advise on making friends in middle age appreciated.


  24. Stephen 09. Sep, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    Hello Kathy ,
    I read your post and read comments posted ,
    I am a 53 year old , divorced for 4 years , I live in the UK .
    Over the past two years I have joined dating sites , had two dates that came to nothing , I don’t know what single women around my age are looking for anymore .
    I joined meetups and it’s the only way to meet people , there are many starting up in the UK , being a shy man it took me many weeks to pluck up the courage to go ,everyone is there for the same reasons , I go without any expectations and try to enjoy the evening ,
    The Lonliness feeling is still there , I think what most humans is looking for is a partner to share your life with .
    You have to try to live the life you have been given , it’s difficult ,
    I was given some advice , nobody is going to knock your door , however hard it is you alone have to find something , if it’s once a week , a book club , a movie club , yoga class , somewhere to connect with the human race .
    In the UK now it’s difficult to do charity work with all the health and safety involved and a single man you feel well what’s wrong with you ,
    Social media is ok but we need human contact .
    There is a lot of focus now on mind wellness , keeping positive , it’s a battle to keep positive but being negative is damaging to your health .
    I understand how everyone feels on lonliness , I feel for you , if yOu only go out for two hours in the week , you might meet someone in the same position as you , love to you all

  25. Mindy 13. Sep, 2015 at 9:12 am #

    Good to know I’m not the only one dealing with this. I am 51, female, in Toronto, ON, Canada. I work full time but I”m the only woman in the company I work for. I’m in a L.A.T. relationship with a man who is retired. I have a lot of what I would call friends but not “CLOSE” friends. I find it hard to find people that you can have a real connection with. Most of my friendships tend to be about other women leaning on me, and so I end up being the one who always gives, does, etc and then I feel used. I entertain a lot, but people tend to take advantage and show up for the free meal all the time but they never reciprocate or feel any desire to spend time with me unless I’m doing something for them, or giving them something. I want someone I can really share with, talk to, etc. But most of my friends come to me with their problems, and if I try to share something personal with them the conversation shuts down. People tell me all the time about great of a friend I am and how much I do for others, but inside I’m lonely and wish someone would just want to spend time with me because they like my company not because they need me. I often feel used in friendship…and it always feels one-sided.

  26. Kathy 13. Sep, 2015 at 11:31 am #

    Hi Mindy, your situation reminds me of a lot of what I’ve experienced. Someone I knew once told me that there are two kinds of people in the world–givers and takers. And those of us who are givers inevitably attract takers. Ironically, we givers are rarely needy, but once in awhile we need help or would like people to reciprocate our kindness to them. But that’s not what takers do. We’ve unwittingly trained them to expect a one way relationship in which we give and they receive. When we ask for them to show interest in us, their eyes glaze over. I’ve thought about this a lot over the years, and I’ve come to the conclusion that in my case, I end up in these relationships because when takers seek me out for help, my ability to help makes me feel good about myself. My history was to let friendships happen spontaneously rather than deliberately seeking out people who are also caring and giving. So these days I’ve been trying to be much more selective about who I make connections with. I try to listen to what they say and observe what they do. How do they spend their time? How do they respond to friends and family in need? Do they ignore them? Do they help out grudgingly? Or do they seem genuinely interested in others’ lives, concerns, and needs? I’m not interested in turning into a taker. I’m looking for reciprocators–people who know how to give as well as take. I’d rather have one or two good friends than fake friends. Not everyone feels as I do. And I’m not suggesting that anything I’m saying necessarily applies in your unique situation. But in my case, I’ve had to come to terms with how I contribute to the loneliness I feel when ignored by those I’ve invested in. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us. Hope you’ll stay in touch–k

  27. Kathy 13. Sep, 2015 at 11:35 am #

    HI Stephen-thanks for sharing your experiences and providing inspiration and encouragement to other readers. I agree Meetup groups are one of the best ways to meet people, and I applaud your persistence in taking steps to overcome loneliness. Your attitude and approach are bound to pay off. By the way ave you posted before, maybe in the last 2 months? Best-kk

  28. Kathy 13. Sep, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    Hi Beth–I’m betting you are still interesting, witty, and lovely! But being a single middle-aged woman is not for the faint-hearted. Dating in particular can be challenging. And I share your experience of losing friends who are older than I am. Not easy at all. AS you’ve probably seen in other posts, two of the most effective ways to form meaningful social connections are two get involved in groups of people who share your interests, and to volunteer with some charitable organization working on a cause that appeals to you. It can take some time to find the right groups and/or organizations, but as Stephen pointed out, getting involved in groups is one of the best ways to meet people worth getting to know. All my best and hope you’ll let us know how you are doing–k

  29. Mindy 14. Sep, 2015 at 5:22 pm #

    Thanks for your fabulous response Kathy, I found it very enlightening. I often thought over the years that the only way for me to achieve better balance in friendships is for me to not give so much so that my level of investment in the friendship is somewhat equal to the takers. BUT every time I considered that I cringed inside, it just isn’t in me to be that kind of person, and I always ended up accepting that I’m simply not capable of being that kind of person and so my only other options were to continue to be used or to go without friends. But your response has given me a new avenue to consider, “be more selective”. I am going to practice exactly what you’ve suggested. I will monitor a person’s behaviour BEFORE investing too much into the friendship. Watching to see how they treat others, if they feel a need to help, etc. I think once I start looking for those signs I’ll likely begin to determine fairly quickly if someone is actually going to bring the kind of qualities to the table that I’m looking for. Thank you so very much for your insight and suggestions. It’s been an Ah Ah moment for me.

  30. Kathy 15. Sep, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    Oh Mindy, so glad you felt my thoughts were helpful. I try not to assume that what works for me is “the truth.” So experiment with these ideas and feel free to toss them out the window if they don’t work for you. Life is a series of experiments. Thanks so much for responding! All my best-Kathy


  1. Why Men Fail at Friendship | Psychologist and coach, Corporate consultant, Writer and editor, Mind-body practitioner | Dr. Kathy Jordan - 21. Jul, 2014

    […] have been a lot of responses to my old post “Five Foolproof Steps to Making Friends After 50.”  Only one man has ever commented about the challenges of male friendships, though a few women have […]

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