Retirement generally means leaving behind the world of networking, meaning fewer opportunities to meet new people. As a result, our social circles naturally start to shrink. At the same time, retirees have more free time, but not necessarily others to share all of it with. You family and current friends may still be working, and the grandkids are in school much of the year. That’s a lot of time to fill on one’s own!
Finding new friends may be the answer to filling your days in a fun and rewarding way. If you’re unsure where to start looking, here are a few ways to meet new people during retirement:
Join an interest group
Retirement is the perfect time to pursue your lifelong passions or develop a new hobby. Joining a group is a great way to connect with others who share similar interests.
Local libraries and community centres often host their own activities or post information on local events. You can also browse MeetUp, a website that lets people organise real world group meetings. There are thousands of groups available worldwide, many catering to those over 50. Book clubs, writing groups, and exercise classes are common, but the options are endless.
If you’re having trouble finding a group that interests you, start your own! You may have a skill that others would enjoy learning, such as cooking, playing chess, or drawing.
Take up a sport
Staying physically active in your later years can boost your health and mood. Retirement is a great time to rediscover a sporting obsession or learn a new game.
Cycling, tai chi, and walking clubs are usually easy to find (or start). If you’re looking to reconnect with former business colleagues, golf is always a popular option. Or get your partner involved by signing up for ballroom dance classes! You’re sure to have a laugh together, and meet other couples who enjoy cutting a rug.
Of course, you should always check with your doctor(s) before starting a new exercise plan. If your GP is hesitant to give the OK, consider assisting a youth coach or sponsoring a local team instead.
Volunteer for a cause close to your heart
Giving back to the community is a noble pursuit at any age, but retirees are often in demand by charitable and non-profit organisations. Not only do you have more spare time to devote to a cause, you also have a lifetime of experience and skills to share.
There are countless ways to volunteer your time. If you enjoy more physical activities, building homes with Habitat for Humanity is a great option. Those seeking quieter days may prefer reading to children in hospital or being a docent for a local museum.
Go back to school
Don’t scoff! More and more non-traditional students, including retirees, are returning to school.
Many people choose to pursue a degree during retirement for personal achievement and to stay mentally active. Others prefer short, recreational courses or workshops to get in touch with their creative side (photography, painting) or to learn a new skill (computer software, gardening). Both are wonderful options for connecting with others who love learning, and mingling with people of all ages.
Looking for even more ways to meet new people? Share your tips and get new ones from our Facebook community!