Here are a few of the many ways you can maintain and strengthen your established friendships and make new ones. Use these ideas to give you some guidelines when making friends, whether you’re recently retired, shy, widowed or simply at a loss as to how to meet new people:
Initiate casual interactions. Chat with the shop assistant when you buy your newspaper, share a joke with the service station attendant, or talk to a neighbour you’ve never spoken to. These interactions help sustain a sense of community.
Reawaken dormant relationships. Catch up with the cousin you haven’t talked to in years. Reconcile with long-lost friends. Spend time alone with your brother or sister. These people not only hold your history and link you to your own past, but nourishing these relationships offers opportunities for personal growth.
Don’t forget to write, phone or e-mail. When friends and family move away, stay in touch. The phone and e-mail are the fastest ways to connect, though face-to-face contact is still the best.
Leave home. Maybe you’re more comfortable avoiding social situations, but people stop growing when they stop venturing into the unfamiliar. Play cards or golf, take cooking classes, attend religious services, volunteer in a literacy program or join a gym, investment club or reading group.