After 50, it can undoubtedly be more challenging to make friends. While it might have been easy to find companions when you were in school, or when your kids were in school, but as you get older, there can be limited options when it comes to forging new bonds. As you age, you’ll need to look for people with common interests in different spaces. And, though it might be scary, sometimes putting yourself out there more is necessary. But don’t fear—it’s 100 percent possible. Read on to discover the five easiest ways to make friends in your 50s.
READ THIS NEXT: If You’re Over 50, Sleeping With This Item Will Prevent Aging.
If you’ve lost touch with friends, it’s worth reaching out to them as a possible first step. Gail Saltz, MD, psychiatry expert and host of the iHeartRadio podcast “How Can I Help?,” explains that rekindling these friendships is ideal because you have “shared history and memories,” which makes reconnecting easier. Don’t be afraid to tell them you want to be friends again, so you don’t just spend time texting back and forth without cementing that old friendship. Saltz recommends inviting an old companion to do a specific activity—like a concert or movie—to help reignite a bond.
Maybe some of your closest pals have moved away, or perhaps you’ve discovered you don’t have enough in common with your usual companions. Whatever the case, Saltz advises seniors to seek out “a social group where the aim is making more friends, like a card game group, a church group, an organized trip or a cooking group.” You could always reach out to acquaintances and start one yourself, like a book club or a wine night.
READ THIS NEXT: For more friendship advice sent directly to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Nicole Zangara, licensed clinical social worker and author of Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, says it gets more difficult to make friends later on because “there’s less access to people” once you’re no longer meeting people through school activities. She suggests using friendship apps like Bumble BFF.
While Bumble started as a dating app where women reach out to men and make the first move, it has since expanded to be a place where people can connect as platonic pals. You simply read someone’s profile interests, and if it’s a match, you can start messaging them. If all goes well, you can eventually meet up. When you download one of these apps, Zangara notes that “it’s common to feel nervous, so try not to put any pressure on yourself and just be you.”
If you’ve always wanted to become a member of a women’s service organization like the Junior League or participate in your church or synagogue, now might be the time—especially if you’re struggling to meet folks. But you’ll really prime yourself to meet new people if you take on a leadership role or volunteer to host an event.
“Being active with your organization can help you become more familiar with other members easily as you make these events,” says Sam Nabil, CEO and lead therapist of Naya Clinics. This will allow you to work with others more directly and make long-lasting friendships. “It helps to spend some time outside the usual setting of your local groups, and spending time doing something else may accelerate the transition from acquaintance to a friend as you may bond over new conversations,” he explains.
Whether it’s a yoga studio or bookstore, becoming a regular somewhere where it’s easy to strike up a conversation with others can help you make friends. Nabil proposes becoming a regular at a cafe because the laid-back atmosphere “helps ease the tension of striking a conversation with strangers or even the baristas and staff.” He adds that these casual conversations “can be a good training ground for you to put yourself out there at other social events in the future.” Next time you’re at a workout class or are grabbing a cup of coffee, don’t be afraid to talk to somebody new.
READ THIS NEXT: If You’re Over 50, This Is the Piece of Clothing You Should Ditch.