Making friends in your 40s and beyond can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re tired of being lonely, we’ve gathered creative ways for you to meet people that will slowly chip away at that feeling. Whether you’re looking for something different or just want to expand your circle of friends, these tips will give you an actionable way forward.
1. Join a local organization.
If your new year’s resolution is to meet people, look for opportunities in your community that match your interests. You might be surprised by the many groups and organizations who are just waiting for new members to include you as part of their circle. Take a look at Meetup.com or the Facebook Group Finder to find events and activities that you can enjoy with others who share your interests or common background. Reaching out to these types of groups also lets them know that you’re looking to make new friends, so they’ll start inviting you to other events as well!
2. Volunteer for a cause you care about.
You can meet others through volunteer work, too. It’s a win for everyone involved! If you’re not sure where to start, check out your local Humane Society or the American Red Cross. Both of these groups provide volunteer opportunities that include giving back to the community and meeting new people in the process.
3. Practice being social by being social.
It’s important that you don’t constantly rely on social media for making friends, because it can leave you feeling isolated and uncomfortable around people who may not live up to your idealized view of friendship. Instead, get out into the world and practice being social by…being social! Go to your local coffee shop or mall and chat with the people sitting around you. Be friendly to the store clerks and tell them about yourself. You never know who you’ll meet!
4. Go on group dates.
Going out on a group date is a great way to feel more comfortable when trying to make friends. It’s also a good way to meet people outside of your usual social circles, since everyone on the date has something in common: the desire for friendship! Group dates offer more opportunities to exchange information with potential new friends than traditional one-on-one dates. If you’re not very confident with your social skills, this is a great way to start. You’ll have the safety net of other people around you when it comes time to ask questions and tell jokes.
5. Join online dating sites.
Online dating sites are another great place to meet new people, but be cautious with this option so that it doesn’t feel sleazy or desperate. When you join a site like Match or Plenty of Fish, set up a profile and then wait for potential friends to approach you instead of posting a message to someone and hoping they reply. This can feel really weird if you’re not used to online dating, but it’s an important rule to follow. Online dating is a lot like job hunting; if you want to get noticed, you must be active in your search.
6. Be willing to be friendly and approachable.
The absolute best way to meet someone new is by putting yourself out there and being willing to step out of your comfort zone. This means smiling at people when you see them, saying hello when you run into someone you know, and being open to participating in a new activity even if it doesn’t sound like your cup of tea. Be friendly and approachable. When you do this, you’ll make connections that build friendships over time.
7. Use your existing networks.
Your friends and family are a great resource for meeting new people, especially if they have similar interests to yours. Start by asking your friends for an introduction to someone they know, and then move on from there. If you are feeling shy about reaching out, let your friend know that you’re looking for new connections through them so that they’ll want to help you in return! Remember that everyone wants more friends, so it will be easy for them to understand how important this is to you.
8. Join a club or take a class.
If you’d like to meet more people in your age group, consider enrolling in a class or finding an activity that you can enjoy with others who have similar interests. Some ideas include cooking clubs, yoga studios, book clubs, and cross stitching groups. These are great places to make new friends as well as learn something new at the same time. You’ll also be surrounded by like-minded people who share your interests so that it’ll be easier for you to express yourself comfortably.