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Making friends after 50

friends chatting

For some of us, making friends comes as easily as making a cup of tea, but for those who need a kick up the gentle shove in the right direction it can be a daunting task. Whether you've moved to a new area, are feeling lonely, or find yourself needing to rebuild a circle of trusted pals, it may not be easy but it can be done. Here's how to find new partners in crime in your local area.


1. Find a hobby

By finding something that you enjoy doing, chances are you will naturally meet others who approach it with the same passion. By meeting someone in this way, you'll already have some common ground to start from. Useful, eh?

If you're a wool guru, you could join a knitting club near you to give others the benefit of your expertise over a cuppa, or glean some tips for yourself. If you're a walker, there are plenty of walking groups around, including social walks for dog owners.

For literature lovers, book clubs are perfect for finding your feet if you're a bit shy because (assuming you've done your homework) the chances are high that you'll have something to say. There are even special interest ones like the Irish language book club in Belfast and the Waverton Good Read Award in Chester...


2. Become a joiner

friends bench

Say yes. Not necessarily to everything - that invitation from the odd bloke next door probably isn't a good idea. But it's going to be hard to find 'your' group without kissing a few frogs along the way (metaphorically of course. Really, steer clear of over-enthuiastic neighbours).

Joining a group doesn't have to mean bingo and luke-warm tea. This social group in Chester offers 'cake, toast and teacakes'. Need we say more? 

Leaving your comfort zone and joining in is potentially nerve-wracking, but ultimately rewarding, and there are plenty of arts and crafts workshopssocial groups, friendship groups and support groups in your area to help you take the plunge. 


3. Find your Gransnet Local site

Gransnet is your local resource for groups, societies and events in your area, but it's also an opportunity to meet gransnetters near you.

Here's how to make the most of your local site:

  • Set your "home" site. When visiting your local site for the first time, a box will pop up in the bottom-right corner of the screen. Click "OK" to confirm it as your "home" site and you'll automatically be signed up to receive a Gransnet Local newsletter if your area currently has an editor.
  • Make the most of the forums. They are a great way of discussing local issues, recommendations and, of course, organising meet-ups. Which brings us neatly to...
  • Attending meetups. Organised by gransnetters for gransnetters, the meetups are a great way to make friends with people in your community. They're also a great way to consume cake. Lots of it. 

There are always meet-ups being organised on our main Meetups forum topic, but you can always add your own meet-up suggestions on your local forum.


4. Volunteer

dog and cat in basket

Volunteering locally is a great way to meet new people while doing something good for your community <smug face> and there are plenty of opportunities, from local animal charities to Age UK centres. Read more about volunteering with animals here.

Volunteering also shows that you're kind <smug face again>, open to new things and interested in others... even if some of those others have more fur than is generally acceptable. You're also likely to encounter a wealth of people of all ages, backgrounds and experience. 

Note: Small animals in baskets do not come as rewards.


5. Join your local gym 

Your local gym or leisure centre might not be quite as inspirational an environment as you'd like, but there are a lot of people to talk to at least (silver linings and all that). Exercise classes in particular, from the high impact to the more restorative, are a great way to strike up a conversation.

Plus, it's a well-known fact that exercise releases endorphins, keeping you fit and happy at the same time. Just remember the golden rules: smile, engage... and don't forget to pack a clean gym kit.

If you're not the <ahem> athlete you once were, there are always gentle beginners classes, like this gentle Hatha yoga class in Conwy - emphasis on the gentle. 



And...if you've lost contact with friends for whatever reason and would like to get back in touch, see more on reconnecting with old friends.











Images: Shutterstock