How to Make Friends Over 40
The older we get, the harder the act of making friends becomes. Sandboxes morphe into lecture halls; group chats transform into email chains, we move away from our hometowns, our families and build new lives for ourselves. In an ideal world, every new phase of adulthood that we enter would come with a pre-packed set of best friends, armed with wine and carbs, ready to be our ultimate support system. But that's not how life works. Especially in later stages of life, it can feel like; sometimes, we lack a strong foundation of close friends because our efforts have been placed elsewhere like growing a career or raising a family. But it's never too late to make more friends. Here are some tips on how to make friends when you're over 40.
Purse Your Passions
The advantage of trying to make friends later in life is that you know what your likes, interests, and hobbies are. You can parlay your taste in activities into a resource for finding new friendships. If you love walking, join a local hiking club. Churn through a book a week? Join or start a book club. You’ll be meeting like-minded people and growing your circle of friends in no time.
Despite what pop culture might have you believe, online meeting sites are not exclusively for millennials trying to score free drinks and appetizers off one another. Online sites such as Meetup can be an excellent tool for meeting people in your area.
On Meetup, you can join specific groups that match your interests such as "Over 40 Meetup", "Movie lovers Meetup," "Wine lovers Meetup" etc. The best part is if you don't see a group on Meetup that peaks your interest, you can start your own. Your community will probably thank you for it.
There are also sites like Girlfriend Social and GirlFriendCircles which are social networking sites, specifically geared towards women looking for adult friendships. It may seem counterintuitive to try and build in-person friendships behind a screen, but you'll be surprised at how quickly you can turn the online chats into in-person conversations.
Learn Something New
It's never too late to learn something new or try a new hobby. Always wanted to master the art of French cooking? Want to plant a home garden but can't tell the difference between a succulent and spice plant? Invest time to take a class on a subject that genuinely interests you.
Soon, you'll be in a room full of people with which you have a shared curiosity, which is an essential foundation for a friendship. You can arrange a post-class gathering to practice your new skill set after the class is complete or to chat over a glass of wine about what you learned. It's a win-win, you'll have enhanced your knowledge and made new friends along the way.
Volunteering is the most selfless way to make friends because you will take the focus off yourself and redirect it towards helping meet the needs of others. Find a charity or a cause that means something to you and volunteer to help out at their next event. Working with others for a purpose will give you the opportunity to meet people that you may otherwise not have the chance when you're focusing on yourself. You'll be boosting the community, self- esteem and broadening your potential for new friends.
Work Your Existing Network
Chances are there's a great friendship waiting to blossom in your daily routine. Take an extra five minutes to talk to someone in the office break room, a familiar face at your favorite coffee shop or a regular at the gym. If you're nervous to strike up a conversation with someone you usually wouldn't speak to, remember that life coach Rasheed Ogunlaru advises to “be genuinely interested in everyone you meet and everyone you meet will be genuinely interested in you." Just be yourself and the friends will follow!