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Planning Retirement Online

Guide to Forming Friendships

One of the key aspects of later life should be the forming of new friendships, particularly once we've retired from work.

One of the benefits that work gives us is social contact, with all the benefits that brings. Most of us like social interaction and talking to people but, more than that, it helps us to keep mentally alert, it can help us to keep physically active (depending on the activities that we choose to do) and the social contact that we get through work can lead to close and lasting friendships. Potentially, all those things are lost when we retire, including the friendships.

Typically, we keep in touch with our ex-colleagues for a year or so and then the contact starts to wane and after two years or so the only contact we have with most of them is an exchange of Christmas cards. We might keep in touch with one or two but, for the most part, those friendships disappear.

It sometimes becomes even more important if, in retirement, we move to a new area or lose a partner. In both cases it might be even more important to meet new people and form new friendships.

Making Friends: A Guide to Getting Along with PeopleSo we need other ways of meeting people and forming new friendships, with all the benefits that brings. In many ways, the situation is just like work in that some of the new people that we meet will remain as casual acquaintances but others will become good friends. Think about the people you've met through the years at work - no doubt the situation is or was the same.

So how do we go about creating a new social network to replace the one that we're losing at work? It's not always easy and we need to be proactive. By and large people won't flock to us - we have to go and meet them and, in many instances, be the instigator of conversation. From that point of view, there's no doubt that it's easier to do if we have a partner with whom we can go into new places and meet new people; it's easier with someone else to share the job. However, people who are alone can still be very successful in meeting new people and forming new friendships - they just sometimes need a little more resolve.

Forming Friendships Links

Joining In

Taking Holidays and Breaks


Social Networking

We should remember that just by doing the things that interest us we will meet new people and start to form friendships so, in some ways, we don't need to do anything special. However, very often there are different ways of doing something we like and we can either do them alone or with people. Walking is a good example; we can walk alone or just with our partner, or we can join a walking group. So, if we want to meet people and start to form friendships, think about ways in which we can do the things we would want to do anyway but so we can meet others as well.

There are a number of ways in which we can start to form new friendships in later life and this Guide takes you through some of them. There are the traditional ways but there's also the internet now, that can help to do some of the initial work for us. We can join clubs, go on certain types of holidays and breaks, join a dating agency if we're single and want a new relationship, or do some social networking on the internet. The Guide takes you through all these aspects of forming friendships, so take a look through the Guide, by clicking on the links in the box, for some tips and general advice. There are links to some of our other Guides as well as to other websites that we think will help.

Remember that, although there is a page on Dating, the Guide is primarily about getting social contact and forming new networks in retirement - both of which we are in danger of losing when we finish work. However, people who find themselves alone in their retirement may well wish to meet someone with the express purpose of forming a close relationship with them, which is why we include dating.

If you have any good ideas and tips to help people in this important area of later life, please let us know at and we'll include it in the Guide.

This Guide is written by Retirement Specialist Dave Sinclair supported by members of the LaterLife team. As well as writing on retirement matters Dave is Training Director at LaterLife and responsible for the content and continuous improvement of LaterLife's Retirement Courses.
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