Retirement is a time that is often hailed as the “Golden Years” – a phase of life where we have more time to cultivate old and new relationships, explore interests, travel, and do whatever our hearts desire! However, it can also be hard to socialize and make new friends in retirement, as well. Not everyone finds a Blanche to their Dorothy on day one!
Research shows the impacts of social connections on our overall wellbeing, mental health and even longevity are staggering. Friendships provide us with emotional support, promote a sense of belonging, and reduce feelings of loneliness – which reduces your chance of a premature death. Loneliness increased the risk of mortality by 14%, according to Nature Human Behavior.
All of that is to say, social interaction is important. Fortunately, there are ways to cultivate meaningful relationships and forge new connections, even in retirement. Here are 10 ways to get you started:
- Utilize social networking platforms like Meetup and Facebook Groups to coordinate social events with people with shared interests.
- Attend local community events and festivals.
- Volunteer at a local charity or other nonprofit organization.
- Join a club related to your interests. For example: book clubs, arts and crafts, gardening, dance, cards, and more.
- Attend a place of worship dedicated to your religion.
- Go to local networking or business events.
- Participate in group fitness activities, like yoga or hiking groups.
- Get involved with local political groups.
- Become a member of a local historical society.
- Take classes or workshops, offered oftentimes at a local community college or private organizations.
For additional resources, visit AARP’s “Community Connections” website (www.aarp.org/community) to explore local clubs and organizations, or to find volunteer opportunities for seniors, visit SeniorLiving.org’s volunteer section. (https://www.seniorliving.org/organization/volunteer/)
Try to remember that cultivating new friendships takes time, effort, and patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is any sustaining friendship. Enjoy the ride of getting to know people with the extra free time you have!
Information provided by Valorem Financial and written in collaboration with Oechsli, a non-affiliate of Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC and CWM, LLC.
 O’Mary, Lisa. “Socially Isolated, Lonely People More Likely to Die Early, Study Says.” WebMD, 20 Jun. 2023, https://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20230620/socially-isolated-lonely-people-more-likely-to-die-early. Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.