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What are your tips for meeting new people and making new friends? £200 voucher to be won

(116 Posts)
IzzyGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 19-Apr-22 12:39:14

This sponsored discussion is now closed. Thank you to everyone who posted below.

Created for Ourtime

Building new friendships later in life can be challenging but extremely rewarding. Whether it’s a simple tip or life changing advice, we would like to hear how you have met new people and made new friends.

Have you found confidence in retirement or later life and taken up a new hobby? Perhaps you’ve joined a club and found new friends through a shared interest? Or maybe you have recently started dating again and you can share with us your ways of meeting a potential partner? Whatever it is, share it on the thread below - you might even help someone else in the Gransnet community.

- Post your advice on the thread below to be entered into a prize draw
- One lucky GNer will win a £200 voucher for a store of their choice

Here’s what Ourtime’s in-house dating expert, Kate Taylor has to say:

“Over-50s have so much experience in meeting and talking to new people, but still, many of us have a fear of the unknown around making new connections and starting over.

If you feel nervous about meeting new people or dating again, take it slowly – you can use a site like Ourtime to chat and meet with likeminded people, and you’ll quickly realise that you never lost your power to connect, laugh, or flirt.”

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!


Insight T&Cs apply

Marmight Thu 21-Apr-22 01:48:16

I think you have to make a huge effort and put yourself out there which for some can be very hard. When I moved to a completely new area I joined the local choir, volunteered at the village school, joined an art group in the next village, went to the local church (the lady vicar is now a very supportive friend even though she knows Im not much of a believer!) and the WI. Although there were some very interesting speakers I found the WI cliquey. They all had ‘their’ particular seats and at 2 Christmas dinners I was the odd one at the end of the table having been moved on by an unhappy member after plonking myself down in the middle.🤣 Friendly enough but not so welcoming to a newcomer. After lockdown I decided not to return. I and a friend I made at the art group started our own in a nearby small town which is now flourishing and I have made some good friends within the group. I’ve been in my village for over 4 years and although everyone is chatty, I have yet to make one ‘friend’ there. I had a NY party for my near neighbours in year 2. They all came and made merry but I have yet to be invited back for even a cup of tea. Very unlike my original home village 400 miles away, where everyone was welcome.

Chardy Thu 21-Apr-22 08:49:35


Whatever you choose to join go on your own, don’t go with a friend. It may seem intimidating and frightening but it is the best way to meet new friends. Going with a friend unfortunately means no one will bother to chat to you. Be brave and go on your own. This works!

I go to an Art class. It's not uncommon for people to ring up, book a place and then not show up! We all joined not knowing anyone, we understand it's scary, but just have a go. It's worth it.

JessK Fri 22-Apr-22 10:17:16

Find something you are interested in like art, fitness classes or social groups and join in. As well as enjoying something you are interested in you will meet like-minded people that will be happy to socialise with you.

cuppatea Fri 22-Apr-22 11:10:36

I joined one of our local health walks. I was a bit anxcious about going for the first time, by my self, but people were friendly and many of those are now close friends.

Grannyjacq1 Fri 22-Apr-22 11:50:48

One way is to volunteer at your local charity shop, hospice or food bank. When we moved to a new area, I joined the local (council run, so not overpriced) gym, and met some lovely people who have become very good friends.

Ro60 Fri 22-Apr-22 12:09:07

Realise that you're not the only one needing new friends.
Be brave when you meet someone by chance and have an interesting encounter.
Offer a contact method - where you'll be on a Wednesday, e-mail address, phone number.
Just the other day I met a lady whilst I was clerking for the local election. I'm hoping to see her at a local group I belong to next week.

Milliedog Fri 22-Apr-22 12:59:23

I've made new friends by joining a local group which has been set up to help people who want to host Ukraine refugees. Some people are hosting or hoping to host and some are supporters. It has a WhatsApp site with lots of useful information and contact details. It's absolutely brilliant (and so is Jane, the lady who started it). Over 50 Ukrainians are now in our area or e expected to arrive soon.

Authoress Fri 22-Apr-22 15:28:05

Volunteering in the village! Tomorrow I'm doing the morning shift in the shop and the evening shift at the pub; about as social as it comes...

Molly10 Fri 22-Apr-22 19:58:04

Lots of good advice given above. To add just generally chat to people around you be it at a bus stop or in the supermarket queue. I have a long term friend that originally we used to just chat at the bus stop on the way to work. At the time I never would have thought we'd be good friends years later.

Also, you may not make a long term friend but it could give you or the other person a warm glow of kindness and helpfulness. I never would have realised but after a friendly chat at the supermarket last year the lady in question had not been out of the house for over a year due to covid and being vulnerable. The church hall she used to go to for a coffee was still closed. After a chat she said she felt much better and brave enough to have a walk around the park. Sometimes a warm smile and caring word is all that's needed.

Anj123 Fri 22-Apr-22 20:43:32

What about joining a choir or music club?

flowersfromheaven Fri 22-Apr-22 20:56:27

Look what your Community Centre, Church or school's around your area have to offer could be that they are doing flower arranging or Cake decorating and it's a good way to make new friends.

teepee55 Sat 23-Apr-22 10:48:03

It’s good to turn off the tv and get out of the house. Meet up with a friend or go for a walk. I keep in touch on the phone with a few friends and family, especially those who need the contact.
You need to find something to enjoy, it’s not easy when you are by yourself.
For me, it’s about accepting and being content and confident doing things myself, just living life everyday. Appreciating the here and now, seeing positives in life. I suppose the phrase, being happy in your own skin.
I’m quite happy doing a jigsaw for hours on end or just watching tv or reading a book. But we all need company at times so it’s important to just go out. Turn off the phone and head out anywhere

burwellmum Sat 23-Apr-22 11:54:35

I have always believed in getting involved. In the past I have volunteered round our village and I am determined to start again although there is always something else more pressing in the short term at the moment.

Cheesecake123 Sat 23-Apr-22 18:21:57

I joined a floristry group just before Covid and it was really interesting and fun and challenging. I had to drag myself there as I can be so lazy but it was so worth it and I am still in touch with some of the students and I would take my finished pieces to my Mum who is bed bound. I’m thinking of doing the next course. There were concession fees too if you are eligible. These pictures are from one of my classes.

MiniMoon Sun 24-Apr-22 13:17:06

Join a group. I went and introduced myself to our local Knit & Natter group in the library, its a good place to find out what's on locally. I haven't joined the local community choir yet because of covid, but I'm going to join when they start up again in the Autumn.
I needed to push myself as I'm not very outgoing, but it was worth the effort.

Direne3 Mon 25-Apr-22 03:39:59

We don't have a dog now but I find that when we take our daughter's family dog out for a walk many people who are walking their own will stop and chat quite freely. So my suggestion is to 'borrow' a dog if you don't have one of your own.

toscalily Mon 25-Apr-22 12:36:44

Can be hard when you are older but worth making the effort rather than sitting at home feeling lonely. A few suggestions: The WI or a local gardening group, instead of a Gym for general workouts when you are past leaping about to pop music, Pilates and/or Yoga are far gentler and help to keep you flexible, quite often people enjoy stopping for a tea or coffee afterwards. Book clubs, ramblers or a local walking group, Art or other craft classes.

letitia Mon 25-Apr-22 15:20:21

I use a local coach firm for my holidays. I always meet and enjoy the company of people from the same area. I have made long standing friendship as well as enjoying the holidays. Have never been lonely.

Maggiemaybe Mon 25-Apr-22 15:36:45

If you look after grandchildren, take them to local playgroups and other activities whenever you can instead of staying in with them. There are always other grandparents to chat to and some could become good friends.

activerelaxer Mon 25-Apr-22 15:45:41

Meetup groups. There are a variety of ages but it’s easy to find something you like doing, and you can dip in and out as time allows.

Question sponsored by ‘Ourtime’? In my experience online dating isn’t a good way to meet people.

Lorraine1602 Mon 25-Apr-22 17:03:33

I’m another one to recommend U3A. Apart from the opportunity to meet and chat to like-minded people, it’s also incredibly good value for money. I’ve also started helping at a parent/grandparent and toddler’s group where I used to take my grandchildren. It’s really nice to keep up the conversations with the people I’ve met during the last six years I have been going.

Elizabeth27 Mon 25-Apr-22 17:58:09

Join a forum of like-minded people, it can lead to private messaging and meet-ups if wanted.

10milewalk Tue 26-Apr-22 20:45:36

I found getting a dog was a fantastic way of getting out and about and meeting new people. My dog always stops to say hello when he meets another dog, so it's a lovely way to get to know people, I feel so much more part of the community now and have got to know so many new people.

pollychat Wed 27-Apr-22 14:30:12

Getting older is inevitable, and getting older as healthy people is our responsibility, so getting out and about is good for us and everyone else . I enjoy singing in the choir, doing weekly dance and pilates classes, as well as being a part of a local walking group. All enjoyable stuff.

GeminiJen Wed 27-Apr-22 15:28:02

Pre pandemic, I was involved in so many of the activities already mentioned on this thread, from volunteering to U3A, exercise classes, walking groups, distance learning, concerts and socialising with old friends, making new friends via Gransnet meet-ups, etc.
Some interests continued via Zoom calls. Others fell by the wayside. I also moved house. Some friends and family have not survived.
Two years on, I'm aware that I'm no longer as confident nor as outgoing. Putting myself out there requires more of an effort. I won't pretend that it's as easy or as straightforward as it once was.
Someone else commented on the need to at least appear confident, outgoing, approachable. I'd second that. As I venture forth from my new home, I check in the mirror...and I smile....and it works smile