Want to Make Friends After 40? Try these tips.

Want to make friends after 40?  Hey.  Want to be my friend?  Sure.  And you go off…hand in hand into the sunset to play with pieces of bark, climb the jungle gym, or skip rope.  I just made a new friend like this yesterday.  Actually, that’s not true.  I wish it was.

As you enter what seems like a new era in your life, making friends should be this easy, right?  Not so.  I feel like I am personally stuck in some limbo place where I don’t know what to do.  My girls are both, ahhh, both going to be in high school now.  However, some of my friends have younger kids.  They seem to have more time to meet new people because they are in that “I still have to drive everywhere, and go to play dates, etc” phase.

I also have friends who don’t have children, or have kids who have been out of the house a long time.  I want to let you in on a little secret.  This in-between limbo place is hard.  I feel like other people have it together in this area, and I look around and wonder if I just don’t “people” well.  I probably don’t to be honest because I don’t fit in with the norm…and I like it that way to a certain extent.  Working alone doesn’t give me time to socialize face to face.

The difference now, is that people who are in their 40’s actually remember a time when we used to get together.  A time when we had dinner parties, house warmings, Christmas open houses, or just come by for a beverage nights.  So what can someone do to make new friends and rekindle this lost art of socializing?

How to make friends after 40:

  1. You have to be open to the possibility.  Meaning, it might take you out of your comfort zone and you might actually have to say “Hey.  That looks like fun.  Can I come too?”  <<< Now I know this seems like you are inviting yourself, but you are reaching out to see what the response is.  New friendships don’t just happen and maybe there seems to be the same ole’ crew doing things, and they aren’t aware that you might like to come to.  You can hint at it, but I actually suggest just outright saying that you’d be interested in x, y, or z event as well.  See what happens from there.  I bet they didn’t think you’d be interested.
  2. Announce it on your status.  Sadly, most people will read your status before they call, text or ask you what’s up, right?  So say “Hey.  I am thinking about getting a paint night together on x date.  Comment if you’re in.”  Boom.  You have a night out planned.
  3. Make a private list in your journal of what you like to do and what types of people you actually want to attract.  I don’t cross-stitch.  I just threw that out there because I am not going to find new friends at a sewing circle.  I do yoga, hike, walk in the woods (almost the same thing, but not quite), drink wine, be a hermit, go to the mountains, read books, garden, write, journal, listen to 80’s music, pet dogs, be a geek, like to eat food that’s gluten-free, and occasionally paint bad paintings at expensive paint nights.  I could go on, but you get my drift.  I would like to attract people who kind of like the same things as me or at least have a few things in common with me.  The hermit part is actually important because I need friends who ask me to do things, yet understand if I say no because insert hermity excuse.  << it doesn’t mean I don’t want to see people, it just means not then.
  4. Join online groups of like-minded people.  After you have your list, check out places like Meetup.com and/or local FB groups.  Also, you can always volunteer at a local museum or hospital.  What if there’s nothing on the list that you like?  Start your own if you want.  Announce in those NextDoor app places that you are having a book club on x night to read Harry Potter again for the 100th time and anyone who wants to discuss the new things you found after this 100th reading can come over.  Wear your house colors though.

Some people say that it’s a matter of lifestyle and what’s important to you.  That if you want to make friends, you really will find a way, not an excuse.  I agree with that to be honest.  I know that I use excuses to back out of things (I’m in a nest today.  I’m writing.  It’s cold.), but lately I looked up and felt panic.  Holy Crap.  My kids are almost in college.  I need to make more of an effort.  And I do believe there’s time for us all to make more of an effort no matter your age.  So let go of the “My house is a mess” excuse, and start planning an event.  I’ll bring the wine or gluten-free snacks.  If you tell me I can wear my pajamas over that’s a plus.

Interested in uniting separately in your own homes to work together with my like-minded journal therapy group?  Read more here >>> HHH Club <<<

Can you be alone without being lonely?

I am always fascinated by research…particularly genetic research after discovering all the things I inherited that I choose to overcome.  One of the things that I read while researching the feeling of being alone was this.

A 2007 study published in the journal Genome Biology found loneliness could be in our genes. The team of researchers discovered a distinct pattern of gene expression in immune cells in participants who suffered from chronic loneliness. These feelings of solitude were associated with changes in gene expression that drive inflammation — known as one of the first responses of the immune system.

Hold up.  This can drive inflammation?  Well what if you prefer solitude and don’t necessarily feel lonely?  What then?  Because I do have autoimmune and inflammation is the last thing I need.  So let me ponder this out with you guys.

I have long thought that social media today makes some young people feel alone and like an outcast.  Why?  Because I have seen it happen in my own household.  My youngest daughter was not invited to an outing where every single person she knew appeared to be there.  All the photos.  Inside I was livid.  All the people she sat with were there…what game were these girls playing because believe me, I didn’t raise anyone to play these games.  So how do I go about teaching the difference between being alone and being lonely?  Enjoying solitude, yet feeling at peace and not excluded?

Now let’s look at the elderly.  They don’t have social media and can feel alone as well; however, they pick up the phone and call people.  They have found strong mental habits like thinking of their loved ones who might have passed on with fond memories knowing they lived a great life together.  They make church dates, and meetings, and try to get out and keep up their old habits.

Between the generations it is sad to say that we are losing some of the things that make us mentally strong and foster these slight difference in being alone and being okay with it, and feeling isolated and cut off, which is not the same.

So how can we go about creating new patterns that make us feel less alone?

  1. List the top 3 people who you have not talked to in a while, but would like to.  Do you have their actual phone number OR could you Skype with them?  No texting.  Make it a face-to-face meeting or a phone call.
  2. List 3 hobbies you could do OUTSIDE of your house where you might meet people of like minds.  No computer stuff unless you are going to look for a Meet Up near you.  In this day and age it is important to get out.
  3. Write a letter to a pen pal.  Yup.  I am way old school, but this was fun back in the day.  You never knew when you might get a letter.  I remember giving my friend in Australia my address and getting a card.  I later sent her a package of some sort.  It was pretty cool to me.  Now, I don’t know much about this site, but here you go.  And no this is not a hook-up as far as I can tell…but always be careful.

What would you do if you were lonely?

  1. You might decide it’s too much trouble talking to anyone in the “real world” and play video games or watch T.V. without actually making new real life friends.  <<< Instead, grab your journal and write about the qualities a supportive friend might have.
  2. You might decide to drink alcohol…alone.  <<< Instead make a green smoothie, a cup of tea, or a fruit water and look online at your local gym memberships.  You can always just walk the treadmill, but you are getting out.
  3. Get invited to things, but never actually leave the house.  <<< Be careful here.  There is a difference in resting and deciding that you are always too tired to go out.  I have been there so I feel like I can say that to you.  I make it a point to tell my group of friends that I want to get together monthly.

In the end, what I have found while working with my group coaching members is that action actually makes us feel better!  Write this down.  If you would like to meet some new friends online in a safe environment, I invite you to join us in the Head|Heart|Health Club.  We work our way through our thoughts and how to control them, through our hearts and how to foster worthiness and love, and through our overall health and wellness thus creating a more meaningful and fulfilling life no matter where we are in the world.  This is right for you if you are ready to move forward from stuck to unstuck and from indecision to clarity.  Speak to you soon!  ~Aimee