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Planning Retirement Online

Making New Relationships

One of the good things that work provides us with is social contact and the opportunity to make new friends. Most of us get seven or eight hours a day of social contact when we're at work. The majority of people, when asked what they will miss most about work say, 'My friends and colleagues' and it's that social interaction that we like. Not only that, social contact is good for us: it helps us to stay fit mentally and also, depending on what context we meet with people, fit physically.

Retirement and Relationships: links

When we retire and if we stop work altogether, we lose all that social contact and interaction. Therefore, we should be proactive and replace it with social contact through different means. So making new relationships in retirement isn't necessarily about making new deep and meaningful relationships (although we can do that if we wish: see our Guide to Internet Dating), it's about getting out there, meeting people and interacting with them.

If we do that, it will probably be very much like work in the way that it turns out. If we look back through our career, we will probably conclude that most of the people with whom we worked were very nice people (although there may be one or two whom we wish we'd never set eyes on!). Yet, almost certainly, some of those people will have become very good friends, whilst others will have remained just work colleagues. It's difficult to work out why, usually; it just happens and the same will be true of retirement: if we meet lots of new people, some will become very good friends whilst others will remain at the level of someone you say a friendly hello to when you see them at your Pilates class, or wherever.

For more detail on some of the ways that you can meet new people and start to make new relationships, see our Guide to Forming Friendships. Here is a summary:

  • Combine keeping physically fit with meeting new people. So go walking in a group, join a sports club (and almost certainly meet people of all ages, not just other retired people), do a class such as aerobics, aqua fit, yoga or Pilates.

  • Keep mentally fit and meet people in a class where you're learning something together.

  • Do some part-time paid or voluntary work.

  • Do hobbies that encourage you to meet other people. Even reading can help if you join a Book Club!

  • Take holidays and breaks where you will meet other people.

  • Make sure that you get out and about on a regular basis in your own neighbourhood so that you meet local people.

  • Support your local pub and meet people there.

  • Get involved in organising activities in your locality for the parish council or similar organisation.

The bottom line is that we have to get out and do things, whatever they are, in order to meet people; we can't get social contact if we're stuck indoors. So join clubs and organisations, get involved locally and use the local facilities. Having a network of people whom we know, interacting with them and doing things with them will keep us stimulated and enable us to make the most of our retirement into our old age.

So read the rest of this Guide by clicking the links in the box above and have a happy retirement!

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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