Finding new friends at 40
10 Tips for Dating and Meeting New Friends After 40 I Psych Central
Starting new relationships when you’re over 40 can be difficult, but joining a class or volunteering can make it easier.
Making friends can be relatively easy when you’re young. School, college, and extramural groups provide several opportunities to make new friends.
But when you’re in your 40s, making new friends might be challenging.
According to research from 2020, more than one-third (35%) of adults in the U.S. aged 45 years old and older report feeling lonely.
Loneliness can have a negative impact on your mental health. While it can be difficult to put yourself out there, making new friends can be a form of self-care.
If you’d like to find new relationships and friendships after 40, try using your current social circle while joining in-person meetups that revolve around your interests.
Friendship is important to our mental and physical health, and it becomes increasingly important as we age, according to research from 2020.
So, why is it so hard to meet new friends and date in your 40s? A few factors might be at play.
When we’re younger, it’s relatively easy to meet new friends through school and college. When we’re older, we’re less likely to be in spaces where we meet many new people and spend time with them every day.
The pandemic made it harder to socialize in person, especially at work — the one place many people in their 40s meet others.
Lack of time
When we’re in our 40s or older, we often have little time to meet others. You might have a long list of responsibilities such as work, raising children or teenagers, and spending time with partners and family members.
Even if you still have the energy to meet new people, other people your age might not.
A 2015 study suggests that people over 30 value quality of relationships over quantity, so they might prefer maintaining friendships over meeting new people.
If you’ve had relationships that have gone sour — whether platonic or romantic — you might feel nervous about making new connections.
But you’re not alone. Your agemates might be wary, too.
There are a few ways to connect with new people and develop healthy platonic and romantic relationships.
1. Old friends
Your old friendships can help you form new friendships. Your friends’ friends can become your new friends — you likely already have some things in common!
Consider telling your current friends that you want to expand your social circle. They might want to introduce you to a friend they’d think you’d like.
2. “Bring a friend” parties
While it’s great to spend one-on-one time with your friends, try to attend social gatherings — such as parties, barbeques, or dinners — where new people will be present.
If you’re in the mood for hosting a party, encourage your friends to bring plus-ones (or plus-twos). This could include potlucks, picnics, or bring-and-share barbeques.
Try to make it clear to your party-goers that the purpose of the party is for everyone to make new friends. You never know, some of your friends might want to expand their friendship circle, too!
If you enjoy traveling and have the ability to do so, it can bring you the opportunity to meet new people. As a bonus, they’ll share your interest in travel, so there’s no shortage of possible icebreakers!
Cruises and group trips abroad can be a great way to form new friendships, but day trips and walking tours in nearby towns can also be wonderful.
Try touristy outings such as visiting museums and going on sightseeing busses. These can provide wonderful opportunities to meet interesting people.
4. Taking classes
If you’ve always wanted to learn something new, taking a class can be a great opportunity to work on your skills while making friends.
Whether it’s an exercise class, dance class, or pottery lesson, you’re guaranteed to meet someone with a shared interest.
5. Joining hobby and interest groups
Much like classes, hobby groups provide an opportunity to connect with people who have similar interests.
These groups can include:
- hiking groups
- dog clubs and walking groups
- book clubs
- sports clubs
- improv groups
- gardening clubs
- religious groups
Joining a hobby group can be a fun way to nurture your interests while meeting others.
6. Hanging out in community spaces
Simply spending time in community spaces such as libraries or museums can lead to you forming new friendships.
If something is particularly enjoyable to you — for example, spending time at your local planetarium or birdwatching in the park — try to be open to meeting new people there.
7. Attending local events
Events such as block parties, pub quizzes, and park runs can provide the perfect opportunity to connect with your neighbors and spend time with people who live nearby.
You can find these types of events in your local paper or on Facebook.
Volunteering can be a great way to give back and connect with new people. Consider choosing a cause that’s close to your heart and where you’ll probably meet people who have similar values.
You could volunteer at:
- a soup kitchen
- your child’s school
- an animal shelter
- your local library
- a senior citizen’s home
- an environmental club
- an NGO
Studies suggest that volunteering regularly can promote brain functioning and improve life satisfaction as you age.
9. Trying apps and online forums
Apps such as Tinder and Bumble are a great way to meet people of all ages. Apps are great for meeting new people to date, and they can also help you find new friends.
For example, Bumble has a feature for making friends called Bumble BFF.
You could also meet new friends through interest forums. Discord servers and online forums are great places to connect with people around the world who might have similar interests to you.
10. Using other websites
Websites such as MeetUp work by using the internet to help people meet offline. You can join a group, find a local event, or meet people in person.
The groups are typically based on interests such as hiking, tech, parenting, or art. So, you’ll likely end up having plenty in common with the people you meet face-to-face.
If you’re finding it hard to meet new people after 40, don’t give up hope!
While it can be a challenge, there are several opportunities to make new friends and meet people who share your values and interests.
Are you lonesome tonight? Making friends after 40
When did you last feel lonely? Maybe it was yesterday, earlier in the week, one evening when you partner was working late and the kids were tucked up in bed. Perhaps since the pandemic, your social life feels like it has been reduced down to the size of a pea, and you’re wondering whether if you disappeared off the face of the earth with a little *poof* of smoke, if anybody would even notice. Maybe you’ve recently left your partner or husband and wondering whether there is any hope for making friends after 40 or if you’ll just be left on the friend shelf like a defective raggy doll. Or could it be that you have an absolutely raging social life still….in which case, I salute you!
Whatever the above, loneliness has reared its head in all corners of world, as we got robbed of our normal way of living with 79% of us now feeling lonelier than we did before Covid came and smacked us and our social lives full-on in the face. That’s felt even more keenly among single people, where the figure rises to a whopping 87%. And if you already struggled with social anxiety before? The bets are on that you are now feeling lonelier than ever before as the struggle to maintain friendships becomes even harder.
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Is the forties the lonely decade?
So you’ve hit your 40s, and they say that life begins at 40, expect a study has found that people in their 40s feel the most lonely of all, god help us. But why is this? This Loneliness Awareness Week, I asked best-selling author, Gill Hasson of Lonely Less: How to Connect with Others, Make Friends and Feel Less Lonely why exactly this might be and here’s what she said:
Typically, you can become lonely either because of a gradual change in your circumstances or a because of a sudden change in your circumstances. You then either gradually become aware that you’re lonely – you feel disconnected, separate and maybe even isolated from others – or you are aware of a sudden loneliness.
The following circumstances can leave you feeling lonely:
- A deteriorating, unhappy relationship or divorce.
- If you have teenage children they need you less and less or they may have left home for university or work.
- Becoming a parent for the first time – when all your friends’ children are much older
- An unfulfilling job, having to now work from home, redundancy and unemployment.
- A change in family and friends’ circumstances – maybe they move away, have a new relationship, start a family.
Well that all makes sense. But without a tribe around us, shrinking social circles and confidence resulting in that feeling of withdrawal from life what is the remedy here? Is it making friends after 40, which in itself probably makes your insides cringe, but is probably the loneliness remedy here? The answer is categorically, yes.
Making friends after 40
So once we have chewed the cud and swallowed the horror that we need to put ourselves back out there on the friend market in our 40s, the question is – how the hell do we go about making friends after 40 anyway?
Firstly, fret not! Gill quite rightly points out, “There are people who are open to meeting others and making friends too. You’ve just got to find them. It takes effort on your part; you need to be willing to meet others, to be yourself and give something of yourself. A good way forward is to start with your interests. When you have interests and activities you enjoy, you can meet and join in with people with similar interests. Whether it’s playing or watching a sport, a creative activity or an enjoyment of arts and culture, getting together with people who like and enjoy the same things as you makes it easier for you to talk to them and make friends because you’ve already got something in common; you share similar interests and values.”
I asked her to share her top tips for making friends after 40 and this is what she said:
Go to a Meetup event
Have a look at www.meetup.com which enables people to find and join groups of others in their local area who share each other’s interests. There are Meetup groups to fit a wide range of interests and hobbies, plus others you’ll never have thought of: Book groups, art groups, film and theatre groups and sic-fi groups. Hiking and running groups, football groups, netball groups and cycling groups. There are groups centred around particular age groups, cultures and identities; ’40’s – 60’s’ groups for example, Japanese appreciation groups, conservation groups, singles groups, LGBT groups and so on.
People who go to ‘Meetups’ do so knowing they’ll be meeting people who are also open to meeting other people with a shared interest or identity and making new friends.
Take a class
Meet people who want to learn the same things as you. You can search for courses by going to your local council’s website and searching ‘adult education’ or ‘adult learning’ in the search bar. You can also find courses in your area by searching on FindCourses findcourses.co.uk/search/fun-hobby-and-exercise-classes And the WEA www.wea.org.uk have classes in almost every area of England and Scotland.
Volunteering for a cause or local community initiative that interests you is another way to connect with other people. As well as helping and meeting others, you’ll meet other volunteers who could become friends.
Volunteers can do almost anything; there’s a huge range of volunteer opportunities available to you. Whether it’s serving tea at a local hospice, helping at a local community food project or an animal rescue centre, working with refugees, advocating for someone with a learning disability or mental health problem, not only can you do something of worth and value, but you can be involved in something that’s relevant to your values and interests. Go to www.ncvo.org.uk.
Look out for organisations that connect people
As well as the Meetup groups, courses and classes in your area, there are national organisations with local groups and clubs whose specific aim is to bring people together so that they can connect and make friends.
Mens Sheds menssheds.org.uk
The Women’s Institute thewi.org.uk
The Townswomen’s Guild www.the-tg.com
Apps that connect people with others:
Friender frienderapp. com
Meet My Dog meetmydogapp.com
Remember; you can make new friends, but you have to get out there!
Have you been feeling more lonely in your forties? How do you feel about making friends after 40? Do leave a comment and connect with us on Instagram here where we love to chat all things being in your 40s.
About Gill Hasson
Gill Hasson is the author of Lonely Less: How to Connect with Others, Make Friends and Feel Less Lonely (published by Capstone, June 2021). She has 20 years’ experience teaching and writing on a range of issues to do with personal and professional development, mental health and wellbeing. She is the author of more than 22 books; the bestselling Mindfulness, Mindfulness Pocketbook, Emotional Intelligence, Positive Thinking, the Sunday Times bestseller How To Deal With Difficult People, plus other books on the subjects of resilience, communication skills, assertiveness, and Careers. Follow: @gillhasson
Photo by Designecologist, Polina Sirotina, Felipe Cespedes, RODNAE Productions from Pexels
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How to Make New Friends: Three Ways for Adults and the Busy
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March 13, 2019
As you age, your close social circle shrinks and risks collapsing into family members, colleagues, and a couple of old friends. We tell you what to do to prevent this from happening (spoiler: you may have to fulfill your old dreams).
We all want (consciously or not) to be friends. We want closeness, sincere conversations, joint adventures, warm memories and the feeling that there are people nearby who will always understand, support and make you laugh. Unfortunately, the older we get, the harder it is to keep old friendships and make new ones.
Our school and university friends have been living their own lives for a long time and live on values, cultural and social coordinates that are completely alien to us. It can be difficult to find time for meetings, topics for conversation, and even the desire to keep in touch.
New acquaintances, on the contrary, are easy to make, but often they do not go beyond friendship. But friends are an incredibly important element of a happy life. They serve as the best prevention of depression and anxiety, so do not underestimate the opportunity to speak out and lean on a firm friendly shoulder in moments of acute anguish and stress. And friends help to distract from the negative, because they bring positive emotions. In general, friendship from all sides is important and necessary. Fortunately, you can find like-minded people at any age and place.
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As we age, we lose flexibility on all fronts: physical, intellectual and, most importantly in the context of friendship, values. The more clearly we formulate our own values, principles and outlook on life, the more difficult it is for us to accept others. We become more critical: our own life experience tells us that we must live in a certain way, and all other ways are wrong. We are ready to look at "strangers" from the outside, but it is increasingly difficult for us to let them into our personal space.
That is why, in order to find new friends, you must first of all think about what you value and love most of all, what dreams and aspirations, hobbies and interests you have. If you have been wanting to go kayaking for a long time, it's time to sign up for courses - there you will meet like-minded people. You will initially be united by a great passion, thanks to which it will be easier to accept each other's differences. And joint alloys will become a solid basis for an emotional connection with new friends.
Back in the middle of the 20th century, psychologist Eric Berne developed the concept of transactional analysis and introduced the concept of "strokes" through which people interact. The role of stroking can be a look, smile, facial expression, gesture, kind word or physical action. Berne argued that intimacy is formed where pleasant (producing positive emotions) "strokes" become regular and, shall we say, more intense. Therefore, if you like a certain person - a colleague, a comrade in the sports section, a parent from the playground, or even an "Instagram friend" with whom you hardly communicate in your life - try to reduce the distance. Do it gradually so that your initiative is not perceived as an invasion of personal space. If before you only said hello, start a conversation - simply ask “How are you?”, But do not immediately try to find out everything about the person in the world and do not lay out your own cards. During the next meeting, most likely, your friend will start the conversation himself.
If you are afraid of becoming obsessive, remember two things. Firstly, you will immediately feel if a person does not want to get close: he will try to reduce the intensity of communication and not show any initiative. Secondly, it can be hard to find friends not only for you, but for many people. It is quite possible that your interlocutor is one of them and therefore very glad to meet you.
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Friendship is built on commonality - emotional or informational. The strongest relationships are formed where both factors are present. For example, you and your colleagues work in the same company (information commonality) and face similar problems (emotional commonality). You are interesting together and you can empathize with each other, because you live in the same reality. But as soon as you change the field of activity, this connection, with rare exceptions, will break. On a deeper level, the same thing happens in the relationships of longtime friends. Once upon a time, you wrote cheat sheets for an exam together and experienced the first breakups, and now one is stubbornly building a career and raising three children, and the other travels around the world unencumbered by a family and a permanent job. Perhaps you meet once a year and indulge in joint memories, in the worst case, you completely lose touch. But it may be different.
First, from a psychological point of view, it is always good to associate with people whose experience is very different from yours. Therefore, if it seems to you that there is “nothing to talk about” with an old friend, try to find out more about his reality: how he spends his days, what he dreams about, what he gets tired of. Do not try to evaluate his experience in terms of your goals and principles. Try to consciously imagine yourself in his place. And then share your experience. It is likely that both of you will be able to learn something new and shake up your ideas about life a little.
An even more powerful way to revive old friendships is to create new shared memories that will reset the capacity for mutual empathy and add topics for conversation. Come up with a joint hobby, some kind of project or go on a trip (if you have never traveled together, it is better to limit yourself to a weekend). Perhaps you will realize that after all, you have gone too far from each other, and decide to remain friends. On the other hand, you may have a new old friend - and he will definitely not be superfluous in life.
How to find, make new friends after 40 years old, in adult life, woman and man
On our portal there is a story about how you can make friends when you are already 30 years old. It is more difficult than in childhood and adolescence, there are new rules, selection criteria, it is more difficult to find a truly soul mate.
Let's expand on this topic, explain why friendship is so important at any age, give advice on finding friends.
Why friends are so important and how friendship is perceived after 40 years
Only with friends can we be open and as frank as possible. With them calmly, relaxed, easy. They will support and help, with them you can have fun and grieve, laugh and cry. Friends are able to give something that is not in the family, when there are only business and worries around.
Yes, the closest friends often stay with us for many years, they are from childhood - school, and then college. Such a close relationship, it seems, can no longer be started when you have a family, work, a lot of trouble. The environment is changing and it is no longer possible to communicate with colleagues as easily as with classmates and dormitory neighbors.
According to psychologists, after the age of 40, many people simply shut themselves off from family and work, reconsider their social circle, limit their connections and interests, and focus on life "here and now."
If at the beginning of life people look for themselves, change companies, it is much “easier to rise”, then after 40, when everything has already developed, one day is similar to another, it is much more difficult to find new friends. What a party, then the head will hurt! Shopping with friends - yes, extra costs, it's better to sit at home.
Acquaintance with new people for many is associated with distrust, conflicting feelings, and discomfort. These are negative feelings that many seek to avoid. People are afraid of being disappointed, and therefore they are closed in the usual circle of friends.
It must be remembered that friendship is different. At 18 and 40, a person's needs for communication are significantly different. In others, you begin to look for what is close, understandable. I would like to communicate with those who are ready to advise, support, teach something, get the opportunity to learn from experience. Emotional attachments become different, but they are no less valuable than in childhood.
Mature friendship has a lot of advantages:
- Personality is formed, there is less negative influence, there is no risk of adopting a bad example.
- A person is less vulnerable and more independent.
- Relationships are much more certain.
- It is easier to set personal boundaries and choose the distance to which it is worth letting a new acquaintance.
Friends most often become those who are in the same life situation. For example, parents of children with whom they go to school or a sports section are your children's friends. Colleagues and business partners - you definitely have something to talk about with them.
The main problem is the lack of free time. According to statistics, people after 40 have only about an hour and a half left for themselves. How to enter a new friend here when there is no time for close relatives. And in order for relationships to become relaxed, really close, you need to work hard on them, spend time.
What to do? Psychologists are sure that you can find free time. You just need to organize everything right. In friendship, regularity is extremely important. If you rarely see each other, call at least once a week.
Start your day with a simple message: “How are you? How are you? What's new? What are your plans for the day?". Maintain communication. For example, a friend lives far away, you can only meet once a year. Plan meetings in advance, take a vacation, warn your family, but be sure to go to a meeting.
Time with friends should be sacred. A call in the evening - you need to distract yourself from the news and cooking, chat. Social networks, instant messengers also make it possible to constantly be in touch, but personal communication, of course, is much better.
Another interesting fact is that people over the age of 40 who have remained or have become single again find friends faster and easier. Divorce, for example, encourages new acquaintances. Psychologists claim that in this regard, social status is much more important than age. It is much easier for lonely people to decide on changes and new communication. Children have grown up - also an occasion to do something new, for example, go on a trip, where new acquaintances will definitely appear.
Important: In general, when children grow up and move to live separately, many begin a period of "second youth". Yes, why not. Finally, you can not think about what your teenage son is doing there, worry about grades, cook for the whole family. There is free time, which just can be spent on new acquaintances and interests.
How to make friends after 40
Here are five actionable tips to help you make friends after 40.
Tip #1: Use Social Networks
Anyway, you spend a lot of time there, talking, following the news, looking for something interesting. Stop at the well-known Odnoklassniki and VKontakte.
There are other social networks, including highly specialized ones. For example, Catmoji is for cat lovers, Bleat is for vegetarians, Servas and Couchserfing are for those who often travel and want to meet people from other countries.
In social networks, look for groups that you are really interested in, at first you can just read the comments, and then join discussions, help each other, and so on. Virtual communication will not replace live communication by 100%, but it will be a good outlet.
Tip #2: Find a new hobby
Take a photography class, for example. And what? Finally learn how to take great selfies. After 40 years, you can start going to dances - there are age groups where you will be taught the waltz and tango.
You can sign up for a Nordic Walking group - it is now a fashionable hobby, by the way, very useful and accessible to everyone. You can go to cooking classes to learn how to bake pies better than your grandmother.
You will definitely make new friends with whom you can discuss hobbies, share tips and so on.
Tip #3: Just get out of the house more often
Don't sit on the couch or at the computer. There is a lot going on outside! Communicate with your neighbors, you have something to discuss, starting with the need to repair the entrance and problems with heating.
Don't try to make friends with a random person or neighbor right away. For starters, just talk and be liberated.
If you don't have any reason or strength to leave the house, get a dog. For the sake of it, you definitely have to walk in the park. And meet, communicate with the same dog owners.
Advice No. 4. Take risks
Be more open, less wary and suspicious. You need to allow yourself a little liberties and youthful excitement, enthusiasm. It is much more difficult for people who are too serious to allow themselves to simply communicate with unfamiliar people.
One should show interest and look at new acquaintances as a source of pleasure and positive emotions. Before you is not a task from a personal list of important things, but simply a positive moment in life.
Advice No. 5. Invest in relationships of strength and time
Emotional return can only be received if you give something yourself. You need to spend time on friends, show attention and patience, be able to listen and empathize.