One of the many benefits of working is the social aspect, which is why many people fear becoming isolated once they retire. But retirement doesn’t have to spell the end to the friendships you made at work. However, it does mean that you may have to be the initiator – the one who suggests meeting up for coffee or lunch on a regular basis.
Retirement is also the time to explore ways of meeting new people. What have you always wanted to do, but have never had the time? Maybe you want to take up golf or tennis. Perhaps you’d like to join a bridge club or a craft group. You might be someone who is more interested in community groups, such as Probus or Rotary, or the Lions Club. You could consider becoming a volunteer with the SES, Meals on Wheels or at your local hospital.
Also, there are many social groups, such as ‘meetup’, that regularly organise different outings – e.g. bushwalking, movie nights and wine tasting. Google is your friend on this one – just type in social groups in your local area and see what comes up. You’ll see that our communities are brimming with people who want to stay connected and be involved. Your job is to find them.
Many of the activities I have just mentioned have regular meetings or events so you don’t need to put in much effort – just turn up and participate. Creating friendships, however, takes a bit more work. Once you have met a few people with whom you click, suggesting a catch-up outside thewider group is always a good way to get to know someone better.
Developing friendships is the same at any age. We need to go a little outside our comfort zone and open up about ourselves. Slowly divulging more and more about yourself allows others to get to know you and deepens the relationship.
Post-retirement doesn’t just mean maintaining the relationships you made during your work life and forming new friendships. It’s also a time to reconnect with people with whom you’ve lost contact. If you haven’t already, try joining Facebook; it’ll help you to look up old acquaintances, people about whom you’ve often thought and find out what your best friend from high school is up to these days. You’ll be surprised how delighted most people are to be found after so many years. It can be as if life has stood still and you are just picking up right from where you left off.
How do you stay socially connected in retirement?
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