Friends are such an important part of life, we all need them and they have a positive impact on your health and wellbeing. Some research has even found that having friends is as important as eating right and staying active. Read more here:
Friendships contribute to your wellbeing in the following way:
- Good for your physical health – loneliness and social isolation are linked to many physical health issues, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and more.
- Encourage healthy behaviours – friends can open your mind to things you may not have considered yourself.
- Provide emotional support – If you are going through a hard time, friends can help and make the adjustment easier, remember happiness is contagious.
- Build your confidence – a supportive friend(s) can help with your confidence with their praise and reassurance when you’re feeling uncertain.
- Help beat stress – research has found that spending time with friends can help reduce stress.
- Push you to be your best – some friends have the ability to influence you and your behaviour to be the best version of yourself.
It is very clear that having friends definitely has a lot of positives. However, it isn’t always that simple to make new friends. Getting out and about with a friendly and positive demeanour is the best way to start. Here are some places you could go to make new friends when you are over 55:
Attending events such as expo’s is a great way to meet people in your age group, with similar interests and experiences. Other events where you can meet new people are community markets, local music performances, community markets, multicultural festivals and sporting events.
There are many courses (often free community ones) that are run by your local and state governments, libraries and private companies. These courses can introduce you to like-minded people and teach you extra skills all in a fun environment. Why not try a cooking, arts and crafts or creative writing class?
Community and sports clubs
Almost everywhere has a local RSL or sports club. These clubs are great for meeting people and making new friends. Often these clubs have different activities set for each day that you can attend to meet new people.
Volunteering at a local company or not-for-profit will introduce you to other volunteers, employees and customers. You never know who you could meet and what you can learn when volunteering.
Special interest clubs
Do you like exercising or quilting? Maybe you enjoy chess or darts? You can join a special interest club such as a quilters guild, or a walking club. Check your local paper, online or at your local council who may have a list of local groups that meet up in your area. This is a great way to meet like-minded people.
Your family and friends
Invite your family and friends to a gathering and ask everyone to bring one or more guests along with them. This can extend your social circle and give everyone the opportunity to make new friends.
Talks and Lectures
Special interest talks or lectures can introduce you to like-minded people, as well as being interesting and educational.
Start attending your local religious venue, whether that be at weekly services, volunteering or by participating in their local activities. You are sure to meet people and make new friends.
The main thing to remember when trying to make new friends is that you need to get out of the house and get involved. Choose activities and places to go that you enjoy. Talk with like-minded people.
Even if you can’t find anyone to do things with, start by going alone. Other activities such as hiking, visiting a museum or being a tourist in your own city are also fun. You never know who you might meet or come across.