Wednesday, May 23, 2007
How to Have Lots of Friends In Your Old Age
Many people find it difficult to make new friends as they get older. Yet some older people are able to have an active social life as they age. We should all learn the secrets to having a successful social life no matter how old we get.
Why is it important to keep making new friends as you grown older? Those seniors who are isolated and lonely tend to have more health problems and a poorer quality of life than those who have a good social network of friends and family.
Older people confront unique challenges in trying to make new friends for these reasons:
- Older people may become less physically mobile and more confined to home.
- They often have less money to spend on recreation and entertainment.
- Older people are also more likely to suffer from depression and withdraw from others.
- They may be physically frail and afraid to go out at night.
- Conversations may become more difficult when hearing and eyesight start to fail.
Even if they remain healthy themselves, aging people experience the deaths of long time friends and spouses. This means that their circle of social and emotional support will shrink and eventually disappear unless they make a point of making new friends in an ongoing way.
If you don't make an active committment to seek out and make new friends as you grow older, and as life circumstances change, there is a danger that you could end up isolated and lonely.
The world will not necessarily make it easy for you to make new friends as you get older, but just because it may be harder doesn't mean that you shouldn't try.
In the modern western world, older people are often treated as if their usefulness is finished, and as if what they have to say is not really relevant to the young.
Many older people are shocked to discover when they retire at the age of sixty or sixty-five, that the friendships they thought had developed at work do not survive the retirement party.
People in North America are much more segregated along age lines than people in some other parts of the world. In North America, teenagers tend to socialize with other teenagers, and older people are expected to make friends with other older people.
No matter where you live, or what your age, you do not need to follow your local society's dictates about what age your friends should be. You do not need to restrict yourself to making friends only with your own age group.
Sometimes you may find you develop a true friendship bond with someone who is decades younger than you, or someone from a different race or culture that you previously knew nothing about.
No matter what your current age may be, if you are concerned that you may be lonely in your later years, the time to start doing something about it is now.
Make a point of being outgoing and starting up a few conversations each day everywhere you go. Call up people from the past and ask them to meet you for lunch or coffee.
Find some local groups that need your help. Join some clubs and organizations that involve younger people and not just seniors. Be friendly and approachable, and keep an open mind.
As you grow older, make sure you stay living in the present, not in the past.
In your conversations with others, don't be fixated on who you used to be. Don't talk only about yourself and your children's lives, or complain about all your ailments and operations.
It's important to listen to others and let conversation become a two way street.
Be willing to make many social approaches to others, no matter what the outcome. Stay interested in the current world and stay optimistic.
You will only make new friends if you can show that you can be interesting and interested in others.