7 Tips for Making Friends In Middle Age

How many quality friendships do you have? Who are the treasured people that support, validate, and encourage you to live a good life and be a good person?

If you’re struggling with your answers, you’re not alone. Friendships undoubtedly become more challenging as we get older. In fact, research shows that nearly half of adults in middle age report feeling lonely. Loneliness, as we know, is associated with numerous physical and mental health risks.

But making friends in middle age isn’t impossible. No matter your circumstances, you can create and cultivate meaningful relationships with people. Here are some tried-and-true options to consider.

Join 1-2 Local Groups

Sign up for a local group and commit to attending at least 3-4 meetings to get an accurate feel for the members. You can find these groups within your church or synagogue, on websites like Meetup, or through local community events.

Remember that it isn’t enough to be a passive attendee. Instead, try to attend each meeting with the intention to connect with someone. Ask them a few questions about themselves to learn more about their interests.

If you connect well with someone, don’t forget to follow up. Remember that most people want more connection! You just may need to be the one who initiates it. You can start by asking for their email or phone number and sending a message asking if they’d like to grab coffee or lunch.

Start Volunteering

Along with making the world a better place, volunteering offers numerous opportunities for social connection. You’ll be surrounded by like-minded individuals who share your same good intentions.

To get started with volunteering, consider:

  • reflecting on the social causes that mean the most to you.
  • identifying your core skills and knowledge base.
  • determining an appropriate volunteering schedule.
  • examining various volunteering gigs in your local community.
  • trying out an opportunity (and sticking with it for at least a month before deciding if you want to continue).

Try a Book Club

If you enjoy reading, book clubs offer a low-key opportunity for connecting with other literary lovers. You can look for local book clubs at your library, bookstores, or online.

Book clubs are relatively diverse- some focus on reading books of a particular genre, and others are geared towards a specific population. All groups have different meeting times and meeting arrangements, so you may need to try a few clubs to find the right match.

Additionally, don’t overlook the idea of starting your own book club! To start, all you need to do is determine who you can invite, where you will meet, and how you will choose books. The group will likely evolve over time, but other members may be grateful you took the chance to organize it.

Try a New Hobby

What activity or interest have you always wanted to pursue? If you’re new to the empty nest, how do you want to spend your free time?

There is no doubt that hobbies are one of the best ways to bring people together. Whether it’s skiing or knitting, cycling or scrapbooking, filling your spare time with hobbies can create numerous opportunities for connection.

If you’re brand new to something, consider signing up for a class. You’ll strengthen your skills, and you’ll be around other eager students. A class positions you to find a fantastic partner who shares the same interests.

Join Online Communities

Online connections can be just as satisfying as in-person friendships.

Social media platforms like Facebook or Reddit make it easy to find friends who share similar interests, live in the same city, or have various circumstances in common. Additionally,  numerous apps like Friender, Bumble BFF, NextDoor, or Meet My Dog, can help facilitate friendships.

Just like in-person dynamics, online friendships also require intention and effort. In other words, you will likely get what you give. Be kind, curious, and attentive to others if you want the same in return!

Reconnect With Old Friends

Sometimes, making friends in middle age comes down to reconnecting with old friendships that fizzled. After all, you were once friends for a reason- that reason may still be compelling and positive!

If you would like to reach out to a former friend, consider:

  • reflecting on why the friendship faded (especially if there was a conflict).
  • sending a friendly text or Facebook message letting you know you’re thinking of them.
  • arranging to meet for coffee to “catch up.”
  • taking things slowly and seeing how it feels.

Reach Out to Friends of Friends

If you already have a mutual friend, you have something important in common! Building a friend-of-a-friend friendship can be fairly straightforward!

You can start by asking your mutual friend to introduce the two of you. Or, you can reach out to them directly and let them know you’ve only ever heard good things about them. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to make a conscious commitment to attend any social events where you think friends of friends may attend. It’s a low-pressure way to meet and interact with new people!

Final Thoughts on Making Friends in Middle Age

Making friends in middle age may seem daunting, but it’s worth the effort. Friendships give life a sense of purpose and meaning- they also provide joy and fun in ways other relationships might not offer.

Unfortunately, depression, social anxiety, low self-esteem, or other mental health symptoms may impact your ability to make friends. If that’s the case, therapy can help. We can work together to improve your self-worth and quality of relationships. Contact me today to get started!

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Austin, TX 78759

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