Friends After 50: Socializing & the Art of the “Hang Out”

by monica on December 5th, 2017

Let’s face it: making friends as an adult is hard. And making friends when you move into a 55+ community? Totally intimidating. Being the proverbial new kid on the block is tough at any age. Before you embark on the quest to make some new friends, remember these two things:

  1. It is totally normal to feel awkward and totally normal to feel lonely. Embrace the feeling and move forward anyway.
  2. Making friends is so much more than just having a buddy to do something with. There’s tons of research out there that says strong social networks can boost cognitive health and even help ward off diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Yes, making friends may be tough but it’s so good for you.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Live in an active lifestyle community

It may seem obvious, but the best way to meet people to is surround yourself with people who are in the same life stage as you. You’ll already have things in common. Plus, many active lifestyle communities have people on staff whose job it is to make sure neighbors meet each other by encouraging them to participate in on (or off!) site activities.

Consider what traits you like to have in a friend

Making friends isn’t something that happens immediately. Chances are you’ll meet someone, become their acquaintance, and then perhaps become their friend. Before making the leap from “person I know” to “my friend Jane” think about what traits you like to have in your friends. Are they funny? Have they traveled? Are they interested in books or politics? Being clear about what it is you value in others will help you make friends whose lifestyles mesh with yours.

Introduce yourself to your neighbors

Yes, walk right up to their door, knock on it, and introduce yourself. Want to try to open the proverbial door even further? Take something with you like a baked good. (Bonus points for having it be a family recipe or something that has a small story behind it you can share!) Feeling bold? Invite your neighbors over to hang out. Try the line “I/We just moved in next door. I/We’d love to get together some evening this week to get to know you better. Maybe you can give me the inside scoop on the community!”

Chase passions, not friends

Showing up an event where you know there’ll be a lot of people may seem like a great way to meet friends. I mean, it’s a numbers game isn’t it? No. Chase your passions. Stay true to yourself. Engage in activities you find interesting and things you’re passionate about. It’s at those events where you’ll be most likely to find like-minded and like-interested people. Aside from groups and events in your community look outside to travel groups or volunteer opportunities. These are great places to meet people from all walks of life.

Ask questions and share about yourself

Asking someone about their life isn’t prying, especially if you’re genuinely interested in them. It can be quite flattering to have someone take an interest in you! As you ask someone about their life and interests, try sprinkling in little anecdotes about your own life so the conversation can become a two-way street. For example, instead of asking “Do you like to travel?” say, “My husband and I were lucky enough to cruise to Alaska this spring. Have you ever been?”

Making friends and building relationships is really fun work, and there is always time to welcome someone new an interesting into your life. Have a great story of how you met a new friend in your 55+ community? Share it with us on Twitter at @taylor_morrison.

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