Children easily make friends. Pretty much everyone that they meet immediately becomes their friend. As adults, however, most of us find it difficult to meet and connect with others. That’s one of the reasons why many people are reluctant to move to a new location.
All of this can be doubly hard for seniors. Leaving family and current friends can be quite daunting. If you have decided to move into a retirement community, this means mingling with a whole set of new people. How do you make new friends? We have some suggestions.
Always Have a Smile on Your Face
Have you ever noticed that people who seem friendly get approached by new people all the time? A smile indicates that you’re open to talking to others and that you’re approachable. From day one, smile and greet everyone that you encounter, whether it’s in the hall, at the dining table, or in the common areas.
For shy people, this can seem hard. The more you make the effort to do it, however, the easier it will become.
Take Part in Activities
If you’re sitting alone in your apartment all the time, you won’t have the opportunity to get to know other people. Taking part in activities that interest you do a couple of things: one) you’ll be doing something that you enjoy. Two) you’ll have the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals, potentially providing an opportunity to meet new friends.
Bring Along Trusted Friends and Family Members
If you’re intimidated to join events on your own, ask your current friends or family members to come with you. You’re more likely to relax if you have someone you can talk to during the event. If you already have a friend who is super social, that person could be the perfect one to help you meet new people.
Eat in the Common Areas
When mealtime comes, go sit with some strangers. In fact, each day, sit at a new table with new people. This way, you’ll get exposed to many of the residents. If you’re not sure if you’d be welcome at a certain table, talk to the staff. The staff is there to help you quickly get comfortable in your new home. They’ll also know which people are the most receptive to newcomers.
Invite Others Over for Snacks or Coffee
You don’t have to restrict your interactions with others solely in the common areas. Instead, if you’ve talked with someone a few times, invite the person over for some dessert, snacks, or even a coffee break. Some one-on-one time can be a great way to really get to know somebody and start making closer friends.
Find Other New Residents
Just like you, there may be other residents who are fairly new that are looking for friends. Seek them out, introduce yourself, and work together to learn the ropes or help each other. Since you’re both new, you can join activities together and approach others together.
Join a Book Club or Card Game – Or Start One Up Yourself
Small group activities are a great way to meet new friends. Most senior living communities will have set activities designed for both large and small groups. If not, create one yourself. A weekly card game or monthly book club will consistently expose you to the same people and provide opportunities to get closer with them.
Don’t Rush It
Many of the people you are encountering probably already has a friend group. That doesn’t mean that they’re not willing to make new friends. It just may take them a while to start inviting you to things. You can’t force friendships – and you don’t want to anyway. Find people that you really jive with and that have similar interests.
You’ll also just be moving into a new environment. You must also get used to your surroundings. If you remain open to new friendships, continually introduce yourself, and be patient, you’ll start having your own crowd in no time!
Benefits of Making New Friends
Seniors who have social circles tend to have better physical and mental health. Being alone increases your chances of depression. Studies have also proven that friendship can improve your immune system, making it easier to fight off the flu or colds. Seniors who have a support group also tend to live longer than those who are more isolated.
Plus, it’s just fun to hang out and do things with other people! Get out there, and make new friends!
Mansions Makes It Easy to Connect
At Mansions, we offer a wide range of social activities for people with all types of mobility. We have a sports lounge, arts and crafts room, library, and different events throughout the year. These include happy hours, weekly dances, exercise classes, outings, parties, and more! Learn more about our properties by contacting us or downloading our brochure!