There are lots of wonderful things about getting older, watching new generations come into being, having more time to spend on the things you really love, getting to retire! We get so caught up with youth being everything that we sometimes forget how much freedom comes with growing older. However, one thing that does get a little more difficult is forming new friendships. As youngsters we are constantly experiencing new situations and are, therefore, able to find new friends easily. We are all in the same boat together and these new bonds often stay with us for life. As we get older though, the amount of time we spend in these novel situations decreases and with it so does our ability to make new connections. We’ve curated a list of novel experiences that can help you to create the right atmosphere for forging new friendships.
Finding friends who live close to you is always your best bet at long-lasting friendship. It’s wonderful to have connections from all over the world, but maintaining a relationship is always easier when you live in close proximity to one another. If you’re a little unsure about just popping over to your neighbour’s house then going along to an organised neighbourhood group is a great way to get to know lots of the people around you, all at once. Some groups will take the form of a coffee morning, some might be a committee to clean up the local area. Keep your eyes peeled for advertisements in the local newspaper or the corner shop and go along. You won’t instantly connect with everyone, but you’ll be surprised at the number of people you share something in common with.
If you like the idea of meeting lots of people at once but a neighbourhood group isn’t your scene, then perhaps a games night could be more fun. Games nights can be a great way to bring together people from your local community and they’re relatively easy to orchestrate. You can opt to play several different games, or choose just one and advertise it as such. Poker is a fun and simple game to play that will attract new friends of all ages. If you’re a little stuck for inspiration or you want to brush up on the rules before putting out your adverts then pokernews.com offers playing tips and up-to-date news on everything from the world of poker. If you have plenty of time on your hands then you can take on the task of providing refreshments yourself. Otherwise, asking people to bring along a dish makes a great icebreaker and ensures that everyone leaves well fed.
One of the most-cited reasons for retiring early is to spend more time in the garden. If we’re all spending that much more time then maybe it’s finished enough to get cracking on someone else’s? Community gardens are a great way to meet people with a similar interest to you. If you’re living in North America then there are community gardens everywhere and it’s really simple to find them. Most people living in a city will be able to walk to one and those living more rurally should only be a short drive away. Whilst community is one of the big draws to the gardens, there’s so much more to it than that. Whether you’re building a raised bed, or just popping some plug plants into the soil, a little bit of physical exercise goes a long way. People who stay active into later life are less likely to suffer from the effects of dementia and are more likely to live longer. So, if you combine that with the perks of finding a whole new network of nature lovers, joining in with your community garden should be somewhere near the top of your ‘to do’ list.
Some of us don’t want to get our fingernails dirty in the garden and for those of us, book club could be the next best thing. Just as with a community garden, joining a book club you already know that you share one big interest in common with the people you’re going to meet. Most communities already have a book club, but if they don’t then it’s incredibly easy to set one up. Some people like to choose a loose genre for the books that they’re going to read, others enjoy the full variety. The details like this are entirely up to you, but the benefits of a book club will be the same whatever you choose. Reading a book and sharing our thoughts on it is an intimate experience that allows us to feel a genuine closeness to those that have shared the experience with us. Be honest and candid in your opinions, even if you think they might be a little unusual, you’ll be surprised at how many people agree with you. If you’re stuck for suggestions on what to read, then why not begin with reading something by everyone’s personal favourite authors? This is not only a great way to reveal a little about yourself to everybody, but you’ll sometimes find someone who loves the same writers as you!
Host a Pot-Luck
We already mentioned in the games night that asking people to bring some refreshments is a good ice-breaker, well a pot-luck takes that one step further. Everybody enjoys sitting down for some good food and if all you have to do is provide the venue, then it’s a great deal less work than hosting a dinner party. If you’re new to the area where you live then it can be a fun way to integrate with your new community, but even if you’ve lived in the area for a while, there’ll be neighbours who you haven’t met yet. Put out a local ad in the corner shop, or slip an invitation through your neighbours’ letterboxes. If you live in a community with a mix of cultures then ask them to bring something specific to their home culture. Trying foods from different countries is always an exciting experience, but there’s something extra special about home cooking.