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 www.meetup.com, 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!

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

  1. MIchelle 03. Nov, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

    I come across this post and I am so lonely for too long. Ive lost my friends and family. I keep trying but to no avail. now I read all these posts of people going thru the same loneliness and I want to talk with all of you, you seem like a group i’d like to talk with too. how do we do that? is this just an article ?

  2. Rich 04. Nov, 2015 at 9:27 am #

    As a man in the same situation, I thought I would add my story. I am in the process of getting divorced after devoting myself to my family for 20+ years. I used to have a large, tight knit group of friends, but we drifted apart over the years. Some moved away, some got heavily involved in hobbies in which I had no interest, etc. I have a few friends left from that group, but they are either alcoholics who only want to stay home and drink or jobless losers with no money. And I haven’t made any new friends in years.

    I have an adventurous spirit and I like to do stuff, but no one to do it with. I ended up here because I want to proactively address my situation and I am looking for ideas. Unfortunately this page seems short on practical advice (I’ve already admitted I’m lonely) and long on commiserating. Which is fine – reading other people’s replies made me realize how common my situation is. How funny that in this time of social media and on-line communities that we can’t parlay that into making more personal, real life connections.

    I am going to look into getting involved in activities and clubs, but that will not be easy. I want to do it because I believe in the cause or love the activity and not just join to be a joiner and meet people. That seems a little superficial or fake. So the challenge becomes how to find clubs, groups, and activities.

    Thanks to everyone who shared their experience here.

  3. Heather l 05. Nov, 2015 at 2:03 am #

    Hi i wont start this by saying i just happened to come across this as i actually typed in how to make friends at 50. As of the 29th of dec this year my best friend of 28 yr has been gone she passed away very quickly within 12 wks last year of cancer. Although i have a partner an a good family my life soon became very empty and the lonelyness i dont know i cant seem to find the words i felt smothered in a darkness i suppose. An i became like many others the tv became my sole companion i went to bed as soon as evening meal was over and as days turned too weeks then months iv realised iv stop living my life too iv become so lonely i crave company so bad as many said going shopping r a hairdrwssing appointment id chat constant knowing i wont see anyone for weeks again. I do live with a partner and my youngest daughter so i am not totally alone i just want a friend again a good friend who can share in each others lifes i just dont know how to make a friendship start again but on the other hand i cant bare this feeling of never having a close friend any more i my life.

  4. Lynne 11. Nov, 2015 at 3:25 am #

    Hello. It’s incredible that there are so many people suffering from loneliness and yet there appears to be very little real support or opportunity to meet with like minded people. I’m in my 50’s my husband decided he simply didn’t want to live with me anymore. I think I’m a kind, interesting, warm heated, person with a young attitude and outlook at life but living alone and seeing my future alone is so not for me. I live in the UK and can not find any groups in the north west of England that meet for a ‘ social’ and I’m so sick of trying to fit in with couples. There must be a way to connect people from within a 20 mile radius to meet have some laughter and enjoy just ‘hanging out’ as my daughter says. It’s too sad to think that there are hundreds of people all sat in our own homes with the same feeling of loneliness and we can’t find a solution, there has to be one.

  5. Kaye 20. Nov, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    I stumbled across this blog when I typed in “how to make friends after 50”, and am sitting here with tears in my eyes after reading through the post and discussions.

    I just turned 55 a few days ago, and can resonate so much with what others have said. My situation is a bit different than most – I live with two women who are like family to me, so I do have an abundance of love and support, at least family-wise. But since moving to a new city a few years ago, I am finding it almost impossible to make new friends.

    I do the things that people advise – going to Meetups, pursuing my own interests, and so on. I have ‘friends’ at work. I have ‘friends’ online. I am intelligent, kind, curious, and reasonably attractive. People enjoy talking to me at work, and my online ‘friends’ are responsive and interactive, and always mentioning how ‘sweet’ and ‘beautiful’ I am.

    However. In the meetup groups I’ve gone to, people are very nice, but it doesn’t go any further than whatever the thing is that we’re doing – people don’t seem interested in connecting outside of the group. The ‘work friends’ don’t respond to suggestions to spend time together outside of work time. The online ‘friends’ make nice words about ‘getting together for coffee sometime’, and so on…but no one is ever available.

    Clearly, I am not the only one who desires new mid-life friends, and who is seeking to make some. But the vast majority of people I’ve met who are anywhere close to my age seem to have their friends, have their kids/grandkids, have their social circles…and don’t seem to be interested or have motivation to develop new friendships of any depth or meaning.

    It’s frustrating and hurtful. Just this morning, an online ‘friend’ who I’ve been trying to develop a friendship with (and who has expressed mutual interest, but who is never available) responded to my Facebook post about a restaurant that we might try together with “great, that’s super close to my work! I think I’ll try it next week!”. Ouch.

    I’m trying really hard to move into an acceptance of just pursuing my interests, and if friendships develop, great, and if they don’t, great. But what I would really like is to have at least a couple of friends…the kind of friends who you can call upon for help, share beyond social superficialities, and also to build and be a part of a bit of a social network. I don’t think it’s too much to ask…..but I’m pretty much drawing a blank on how to help it happen. I try not to be sad about it….but the truth is….I’m sad. Not despondent….I am fortunate to have my two partners, and we love and support each other. But I want some friends! Real friends!

  6. Kathy 20. Nov, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

    Hi Kaye, I could have written most of your comments myself. I know it’s hard when you’re doing all the right things and not getting the results you hoped. Just keep doing those things. Successful salespeople know that it may take a hundred sales calls to make one sale. When looking for friends, we’re in effect “selling ourselves. Also, as I’ve mentioned try to be a little selective about people in whom you invest energy, so you don’t get your heart broken too often.There’s a fine balance between being open to new relationships and setting yourself up for rejection such as by that thoughtless FB friend. Even on Facebook, it’s often possible to tell if someone is friendship material. For instance, do they take the time to comment supportively on any of your posts? Meanwhile keep holding those lovely women who are like family close to your heart.

  7. Kathy 20. Nov, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

    Rebecca, great idea! Maybe you could let people know your general location and ask if anyone else on this blog lives in the area.

  8. Kathy 20. Nov, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

    Amy, if you have anxiety about leaving your home, it might be worthwhile speaking about it with your family doctor or other health professional. Ask to speak with someone on the phone if you’re unable to travel. Staying home may be intensifying your feelings of isolation. I hope you’ll reach out to talk to someone about how you’re feeling (as you can see, you’re not alone.) Wishing you the best.

  9. Kathy 20. Nov, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

    Virginia, please don’t give up. You may have already tried this, but it’s really important for your physical and emotional wellbeing to be involved in an activity that is fulfilling and meaningful to you. Many people find volunteering in their area of interest–sometimes they meet friends, but even if they don’t, they’re doing something that gives them a feeling of satisfaction or purpose. All my best to you!

  10. Jo 25. Nov, 2015 at 8:30 pm #

    I’ve just recently lost my job and am crushed. I had many friends at work but not that get together. We were a great team though. However my loneliness is been going on for awhile. I’m married but my husband isn’t social. I do have a few good friends however they never have time to do anything. I don’t have any hobbies and I know that’s part of the problem. I miss the days when people actually talked to each other. Texting is now the communication. I’m really lonely and not having this job is going to make it so much worse.

  11. Van 18. Dec, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    A timely topic! From my own experience at 56, I can state that it’s probably easier to join a secret society of Druids than it is to make friends over 50. I agree you have to “join” things, but most of the time you’re going to be sorely disappointed if you think any friendships will come out of it. My wife passed away in 2003, and I found that when she died, any couples friendships we had died with her. You sit around and one day you say…..Hmmmm, haven’t heard from some people in a while. You call, no one answers, you leave a message, no one calls back. You follow up with an email, the same thing. Nada.
    In terms of getting out there, I play on two different sports teams, great guys, all of them. But, they all have their core friends, and they’re not looking for any more.
    So, if you have even one friend, you’re lucky. I have one great friend thousands of miles away, we get together one week out of the summer, we chat on the phone, we email. I value that friendship more than anything.
    As we get older, I think it’s futile to realistically expect to make new friends. It can happen, but it’s unlikely. We have to do things for ourselves – I play hockey twice a week because I love the game. The guys on my teams are great! But, there is no way any friendships will come out of it. Just the way it is.
    Look after yourself, read, travel, exercise, find things that interest you. You’ll be alone, but you won’t be lonely.

  12. Liz 25. Dec, 2015 at 5:06 am #

    Christmas Eve and although I have my son with me I’m completely alone. I woke up crying and so sad that I have no adult friends or family to be close with. I’m recently divorced after 23 years of marriage. I moved to the Midwest with my ex and for all the years I’ve been here it’s been nothing but loneliness. The Midwest is a very challenging place to make new friends. Me exs family never accepted me and I’ve spent all these years working to support my family. My ex had health issues that kept him from working, and all the while that I tried to keep things going financially I received no support or help from anyone, even when I asked for it. Now that I left that unhealthy situation I’m stuck with the cold hard truth that took care of everything but myself all these years now I’m alone and have no clue how to find quality meaningful friendships at my age. I’m a good person and find part of my problem is I do things for people who don’t reciprocate back. Now I’m finally on my own and can start over but I have no idea where to begin. It’s just so lonely. I’ve done meet ups, groups, classes, but no one really wants to get close and the energy for friendships seems to happen with the younger adults. Other people seem to have a circle so they don’t seem as desperate or in need of friends. I’m so lonely that I find myself trying to reconnect with my ex which is not good! I’m telling you there are very limited choices for making friends after 50. I read all these posts of other people struggling to find friends and I wish we could all connect! Good luck lonely hearts club. I can relate to each one of your comments and understand your pain. The “just do it” attitude isn’t as easy as you think after 50 but we must carry on and keep trying.

  13. Michele 26. Dec, 2015 at 5:55 am #

    Liz,
    I feel exact as you do. And the older I get the more difficult it becomes. Even though I am not religious, the holidays are unbearable because I am so alone and knowing that my estranged family all have one another. I’ve lived many places throughout the country and it is hard to make friends. I too am a giving person and it’s never recoprocated. I’ve read a lot about codependents being easy targets for narcisists and it seems those are the only people I ever encounter. So it feels the only safe way is to isolate but that certainly makes things worse.

  14. Michele 26. Dec, 2015 at 5:59 am #

    Liz,
    I feel exactly as you do. And the older I get the more difficult it becomes. Even though I am not religious, the holidays are unbearable because I am so alone and knowing that my estranged family all have one another. I’ve lived many places throughout the country and it is hard to make friends. I too am a giving person and it’s never reciprocated. I’ve read a lot about codependents being easy targets for narcisists and it seems those are the only people I ever encounter. So it feels like the only safe way is to isolate but that certainly only makes things worse.

  15. Sharon 27. Dec, 2015 at 11:34 am #

    I lost my only child over 3 years ago, she was 23. People do not understand how difficult this is.You never get over the loss of a child. I am not married and have no grandchildren. My family no longer invites me to holidays and I have lost almost all of my friends. I actually spent this holiday weekend alone. I use to be the life of the party and out going. Now I am miserable. Sure I go to movies, a casino, out for lunch or dinner, but I truly have no really good friends anymore. I am now 61, never dreamt my life would end up like this. I thought I would have a son in law and grand babies. I keep thinking something amazing is going to happen but realize this is probably as good as it is going to get. I am depressed but take medication. But no longer feel ant joy in my life.

  16. Maggie 30. Dec, 2015 at 8:42 am #

    Hi all,
    Well , I posted a comment on here nearly a year ago, and I find nothing has changed. At least not for me , despite joining 2 new friendship sites here in the UK.
    I contacted a couple of people, but I found that they didn’t seem to want to actually meet up!!! It is so frustrating to be trying so hard to make new friends and you don’t get to even talk with anyone.

    I really don’t know what the answer is to all this, and like Michelle says [ nov 3rd] how do we start a group up ?
    Does anyone on here live near Milton Keynes UK ?

  17. Ann 01. Jan, 2016 at 12:13 am #

    Liz, what part of the midwest do you live? I’m near Chicago. I also find it amazing that so many people have the same experiences, yet cannot connect with real people. I agree with the comment that finding friends in the midwest is difficult. I know people in other parts of the country, and it seems so much easier to connect. My daughter lives in Portland, OR and has an amazing group of friends, all very supportive of each other. I would do anything for those types of friendships!

  18. Julie 02. Jan, 2016 at 11:09 pm #

    Hi all, Ive just found this site after typing in ‘How to make friends at 50’ and yes it’s the early hours of the morning, which for me is a depressing time to wake up and think about these things.
    I have just moved to a new part of the UK with my two children aged 14 and 12 in an effort to give us all a new start. I was divorced from their father ten years ago and although I managed to make a few friends over these years, they were short-lived, largely, I think, due to my own intolerances, as these days I find most people to be selfish and shallow. My best friend who is married quickly relegated me to a once a month chat over a cup of tea after my divorce, as her social circle only comprises married couples and I no longer fitted in. I fell into depression and was (still am) fearful of rejection.
    So now we have moved to a new part of the country, where my sister and her family live, and where I coincidentally have a long-standing (married) friend, so I don’t feel terribly alone, yet I rarely see either of them as they are too busy living the life routines they had in place before we arrived.
    I am a private person and find it very difficult to ‘join’ groups. My children have wonderfully settled in to their new schools, but as usual, I am on the outside looking in on everyone else’s lives. I’ve tried making plans with my old friend but she backs out most of the time due to other commitments, and strangely, since j moved closer to her, am seeing that the kind friend I thought I had is actually very self-obsessed, flaky and unreliable.
    I work full time, so this gives me social contacts, but as my job is a commute, I don’t see anyone from work socially.
    I try to keep busy; I started a small eBay business which ticks over and gives me purpose, but with the children becoming increasingly independent, I’m sinking, mentally, into a hole from which I see no escape.
    My sister, despite being helpful throughout the move, has returned to her routine and seems to take a kind of weird pleasure out of my situation, so much so that I’ve stopped communicating about my feelings, as it results in criticism and ridicule.
    Im currently looking for work in the local area but finding it difficult to find anything that pays anything close to what I’ve built up in my current job. I’ve joined a dating site, which isn’t something my heart is in, as I would really like to meet friends rather than a new partner. Also my confidence levels are so low I rarely go on dates; the odd time I have, I’ve felt no spark and felt guilty for leaving my kids home alone.
    What are the answers? The hughlight if my week is that quick chat with the checkout operator, my favourite TV shows, and obviously my kids who are developing away from me as they should. The only positive side of this is I’ve become self-sufficient and very independent, but it doesn’t seem to help me make friends.
    Sorry for the long post, I just hope that sharing my experiences may have helped someone or might result in some shared experiences or good advice.
    Julie

  19. Shawnee 04. Jan, 2016 at 6:07 pm #

    I am looking for friends in Western Wisconsin. I do have family and live with someone but often feel lonely. We do not even speak to each other and my kids live in all different directions. I would like to meet people to chat with and do fun things with. I usually channel surf through the internet or watch tv but would love to be adventurous whether it is chatting online or meeting for lunch. I am open to anything suggestion on how to find friends.

  20. Charlene 20. Jan, 2016 at 5:15 pm #

    Im in nc. Would love to find out if anyone is near my area

  21. savannah 23. Jan, 2016 at 10:06 am #

    Wow, y’all, I am amazed at what I read on here. Because I went through a season of burying all my family, long term friends and then got downsized. I had been active in the community, did volunteer work at different places, active in my church, and tried to give more than I received. Think of myself as caring, friendly, flexible. I tried to keep up with all those in my life, pitched in when needed, etc. But settling an estate where my brother died suddenly, I spent a lot of time out of state trying hard to get everything handled. I came back to my home and it was like I became a social outcast. I couldn’t get employed no matter what, that brings its own set of issues. But then it was like I became this person everyone distanced themselves from, or if they didn’t they became extremely judgmental of all my recent life events. So I thought this is crazy, no support here, no jobs ops for me here, and everything increasing in price but salaries were just deflating or jobs being eliminated. I sold out, I figured it was better to give somewhere else a try and have a chance than stay and get bitter and saddened that people just thought of me as a burden or obligation, etc. When you lose family, long time friends, it puts you in the no attachment category. Very few can relate, or they pity you. Well WHO needs pity, you need interaction and connection, sigh. I moved, to a friendlier place. I don’t really belong in this area in the sense that it is quite family oriented. Not very many activities outside church. Church is geared for families so that is somewhat difficult too. I have resolved that my “social” life is changed, it won’t ever be anything like it was. If you don’t have kids or a spouse, then it is HARD over 50. Kids keep you connected to the school events or their interests. I don’t have work yet, but hope to find something soon. But I found work isn’t a good place to really find friends. If you don’t have a spouse, well, then yikes. you aren’t a couple and so that is also limiting to your involvement choices. I don’t want another stab at dating YUCK. I have buried two spouses, and I find dating awful. Friends pushed me into that again, and I had very strange experiences with men that truly lied about everything and who were highly toxic. If you have had good marriages, you don’t want to “couple” for the sake of belonging, or I don’t. I got puppies, so it would force me to get out and in nature. Not a great solution, but at least I have to get up in the morning. I just think after 50 life is just HARD if you don’t have the norm, and finding friends, well, I just can’t expel anymore energy on trying to make good connections. Married people don’t know how to include you. I think it is just a time to try and stay busy, do stuff that you enjoy and make the best of all the alone time. I moved on my own because everyone was too busy to help, or cancelled out, or had too many negative opinions about my choice to leave. Talk about overwhelming, but I did it all by myself, so woohoo for the old gal that could, ha. I was GLAD to leave that poison. My neighborhood was fastly selling out to investors and becoming a sea of rentals that weren’t being kept up, so why stay? At least this is all new and still an adventure, and I have resolved that it probably won’t have any solutions to the loneliness, but sometimes a change of venue is better than maintaining in a rut. The posts have educated me that this is reality for so many, and so I will just adapt. I wish you all better times, honest, and GOOD connections. Join stuff that makes you grow, that is always healthy, or better yet try and be a mentor. There are so many kids that ache for someone to be that person in their corner that sees they can amount to something great. Or if not a child, why not a senior? We all have talents, so if not a mentor, maybe a consultant? I just think anyone can start a co-op deal where you can trade your gifting to help others and you can reap in areas you need help in…As long as there is breath in ya, I believe you can plug in and contribute SOMEWHERE in a positive way, which will give you needed purpose. That is what I am gonna be doing. Good luck :-)

  22. Susie 27. Jan, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

    I came across this post after searching for what was going wrong in the few friendships I have. Seems like I am always the giver and others are always the takers. I have come to the realization after just turning 50, but looking 30, that people in general are just takers. I am going through a divorce after 20 years of devoting my life to a man and our children. He treated me like crap, and so it is probably a good thing. I am a good person, with fairly good or above average looks and no matter how hard I try, no one has the time or they are just too wrapped up in their own things to have a real friendship. I made the mistake of moving my family back to the country, and in the process I isolated myself and lost my husband, whom I had built my life around. It just sucks. I guess I have no real choice but to keep my children close and forego having any close true friends. Oh, I have had 1,000 or more on Facebook, but not friends you can count on. They can always count on me, it seems like though.

  23. Kathy 27. Jan, 2016 at 6:49 pm #

    Hi Susie, I feel for you. The giver-taker dynamic is powerful and those of us who are drawn to help others often attrac takers like magnets. In addition, if you’ve read through the comments over the years, you know that rural areas are not conducive to forming new relationships. That’s both because there are fewer people who share your interests, fewer activities you’d enjoy, and fewer people who are open to new relationships. I’m not saying your should get out of Dodge, but realize that more populated areas, especially in regions where there has been significant population growth, are more likely to have people around who are looking for friendships.

    It’s tempting to cling tightly to our adult children. I’ve also heard from them. Adult children of lonely middle aged people often feel guilt-ridden and overly responsible for making their lonely parents happy. So try to avoid leaning on them too heavily. They deserve their own lives, and we are responsible for our own. I also imagine you’ve seen my recommendations for finding meaningful volunteer work, and/or joining groups/participating in classes on topics of interest. When you engage in activities that are meaningful or interesting to you, you feel good, even if you don’t meet close friends. But more often than not, you will encounter like-minded people who share your interests. There is no magic to finding friendship and connection after 50. But focusing on meaningful pursuits is a great first step. All my best to you–thanks for sharing your experiences.

  24. Kathy 27. Jan, 2016 at 6:59 pm #

    Savannah–thanks so much for sharing your experiences–and your recommendations, which are spot on. I think one thing your did that was helpful was to be open to a geographic move. There is no research about this, but from talking to many people, and reflecting on my experiences living in different parts of the country, I believe that living in a welcoming community is very important for single older folks like you and me. When I hear that people have moved to some remote rural area, I feel for them, because I think they will not be invited in t the community as they deserve.

    I also think your suggestions about mentoring either young folks or seniors is an amazing idea. Reaching out in that way provides purpose and meaning–rsearch shows that these are among the most important ingredients to healthy and happy longevity. Thanks so much for reminding us all that contributing in a positive way is probably the most important thing you can do to have a good life, even if some people don’t appreciate your love and talents. XX-k

  25. Patty 30. Jan, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

    Sharon, (posted on Dec. 27)
    I just want to reach out to you and tell you how brave you are. You have suffered a traumatic loss. Do you have a dog or a cat? They can help a lot. It’s not the same as human friends, I know. How about volunteering? Do you have time for that? Best wishes to you. I mean it.

  26. Gina 04. Feb, 2016 at 8:02 am #

    Wow. So many people in the same boat. Is there a way to connect with those who have posted on the site and may be interested in forming friendships?

  27. Gina 04. Feb, 2016 at 8:03 am #

    Wow. So many people in the same boat. Can we connect with those who have posted on the site and may be interested in forming friendships?

  28. Brenda 05. Feb, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

    Charlene, i am in N.C. wilmington,,what part are you in

  29. Kathy 05. Feb, 2016 at 3:47 pm #

    Hi Gina, a great idea to pursue connections with people on this site. Several years ago, I proposed that those who were able get on a conference call to share experiences and connect. Only one person responded. I’d love to help everyone who wants to connect with kindred spirits as we’ve connected with them on this post. I’m not sure at this time if I can provide the platform for connecting people over 50 who are looking for meaningful connections. However, I’m willing to give it another go. So–in the next week I will privately send an invitation to a conference call to anyone who has responded to this post. I’m so grateful to everyone who has shared their experience and hopefully will participate in a conference call. One thing we all have in common is that we are lonely and are looking for meaningful friendship. XX Kathy

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  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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