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5 Ways To Make New Friends After 50

5 Ways to Make New Friends After 50

If you’ve recently left the workplace or moved out of state, you may be feeling a little isolated. But don’t despair. New opportunities can still abound, and cultivating new friends can be good for your mental health, too.

When Stanford University invited retired people to come to campus to take classes for a year, the 30 people in that group bonded tightly, says Laura Carstensen, a professor of psychology and founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity.

“What surprised them was the very important friendships that these folks were forming with one another,” she says. Like the younger students, the retirees were able to leave their previous lives and professional images behind when they got on campus and enjoyed the freedom of being who they were now.

“Social networks get smaller as people age but, surprisingly, older people are generally more satisfied with them and often report levels of emotional well-being that are higher than those of younger adults,” Carstensen adds.

It may take extra effort to make those new social bonds, as I discovered after leaving the companionship of the work place and moving away from my home in the Northeast. Here are several steps that can make the process of forging new friendships a bit easier.

1. Explore the landscape

Some organizations, such as Newcomer’s Clubs and MeetUp, focus on providing get-acquainted opportunities for their members with similar interests.

“Even if you haven’t moved, when you retire or semi-retire, you can act like a newcomer in your own city, and do and join the things you missed out on before,” advises life coach Barbara Beizer of Washington, D.C.

Beizer eventually became a board member of

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