Today I’d like to blog about the importance of friendships. However, before I do, I want to tell you about a website someone mentioned in response to my last blog on Volunteering. It’s called: VolunteerMatch.org. I haven’t used it personally, but you can check it out. Now, on to friendships.
Friendships are important to everyone. However, they’re especially important to Baby Boomers and seniors. It’s all too easy to feel depressed and isolated when we get to that stage of our lives. Friendships will help ease those feelings. Friends will care about you. Friends will share your good times. Friends will help you when you need help. Friends will talk you through hard times and will be there to listen. Sometimes, having a good listener is all we need. And, always remember to be a friend back.
If you’re lucky enough to have long-term friends, don’t ignore them. Remember to cultivate them, even if it’s just an occasional phone call to ask how they’re doing or even an email reminding them that you’re thinking about them. You might not have friends or many friends or enough friends for a variety of reasons such as: you’ve moved to a new location; your old friends have moved away or died; your former friends have found new interests that don’t include you; you were never very good at making friends; and so on.
One way to cultivate new friendships is to attend groups or join organizations. Don’t be afraid to approach someone you meet there; just start talking to them about the group interest or about admiring what they’re wearing or just about anything. People are usually flattered by your interest. Of course, some might not be or might even be rude or ignore you. You won’t know why. Maybe life’s not easy for them, either, or they don’t feel well or don’t hear well.
It’s easy to let an unpleasant encounter deflate you. Try hard not to give up. Move on to another person. Sometimes, when you go to a new group, people already have their cliques. It’s hard to break into an established circle. Keep at it. There are usually some group members who don’t stick to that clan mindset, and you might engage one of them.
I have a friend who relocated to a large retirement community. She found it very cliquish. It took her a few months to start making friends. She was quite discouraged at first, but she kept at it and now has several new buddies.
Seek out special interest activities that attract a lot of people. You might see them posted at such places as senior centers, schools for seniors, libraries, and in senior magazines and online newsletters. Always keep networking by asking neighbors, acquaintances and others about activities they might recommend or have heard of.
If you like outdoors activities, look for local walking or hiking groups. I’m a long-time member of the Sierra Club, and I’ve made many wonderful friends through their activities.
Volunteering (which I blogged about in my last post) is another good way to find friends. If you attend a religious organization, look for their affiliated senior groups. I’ve mentioned meet-up groups in previous blogs. Go online to meetup.com. Look for a group near you which focuses on something that interests you. You’ll meet like-minded people there and possibly make a friend.
One caveat: friendships are fragile, so don’t just make it all about you; you must give as well as take. The opportunities are there. The hard part is motivating yourself to start with the first step. You have to do that, however, to yield results. As I’ve said before: if it’s hard, DO IT ANYWAY!
Please forward this blog to anyone who might be interested. To read my previous blogs, find “Archives” on the right side of the page and click on those dated entries. If you’d like to contact me to make a comment or to be added to my email list for notification of my future blog postings, click on this link to my book website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com and then click on the “Contacts and Links” tab.