12 Purposeful Ways to Make Friends as an Older Adult

You can make new friends at any age. Finding senior friends to connect with can be incredibly fulfilling, and it can be stress-free with these tips.

Published September 12, 2023
Mature friends greeting each other at social gathering

Filing your taxes might be easier as you get older, but making new friends can feel just as hard at 60 as it was in middle school. Of course, finding them can sometimes be the hardest part, and that can be doubly difficult if you’re less mobile or monetarily constrained. And while your neighborhood birds do make great company, they don’t quite measure up to fellow senior friends.

But knowing how to make friends in your 60s and older is doable, especially with these simple tips. 

See a Fellow Senior in the Wild? Put Yourself Out There

Getting older doesn’t mean you stop getting nervous talking to new people. But as we settle into our retirement routines, it can be hard to stretch our social muscles. The best way to practice and make new connections in your area is to strike up a conversation with someone.

If you see someone in your age range, try going up to them and compliment something they’re wearing or ask them a question about the area. You never know where the conversation could be heading, or if they’re craving just as much kinship as you are.

Jump on Discord and Make Some New Friends

Not all of your friends have to be people you know in real life. It’s super common for kids today to have a plethora of online friends they can chat with on a regular basis. You might already be on social media, but for some people, none of those platforms provide a place to make connections without being a content creator yourself.

Consider something like Discord instead. Discord is a social platform in the vein of old school chat rooms. But these Discords are all based on niche interests, hobbies etc. so you’ll definitely be able to find something to chat with like-minded folks about. While there are some differences between online and in-person friendships, there are tons of benefits to having online friends at any age. 

Or Find Friends on Senior Social Platforms 

There are also some sites and apps dedicated to helping older adults connect with others in their age range. For example: 

  • Senior Planet, from AARP, offers a wealth of different online interest groups for people in the 55+ age range. You can also join online classes. 
  • Stitch is an online community for those over 50 that helps people connect and find friendships, travel companions, and more. 
  • Amintro is a social platform for people in the 50+ age range that offers an online community as well as live and virtual events. 

Attend Senior Nights at Restaurants & Bars

Call around to your favorite local restaurants and bars and see if they host a senior night. This can be an awesome way to get out of the house while being surrounded with peers instead of trying to elbow young twenty-somethings away from the bar. And the more often you go, the more likely you are to find other regulars to start making friends with.

Join a Senior Bowling League 

Senior bowling leagues are no joke. They’re a wonderful weekly social and exercise commitment that’ll keep your competitive spirit alive in this more sedentary phase of your life. But bowling is something you don’t have to be good at to have a good time, which means you won’t be dragging your feet to go and hang out. 

Sign Up for an Exercise Class or Try a New Physical Activity 

Many places offer senior-specific exercise classes, which can be a great way to meet other people. Check out your local rec center or community center and ask about things like senior Tai Chi, water aerobics, walking groups, yoga, pilates, and more. Or, get started with a local pickeball group, golf group, senior paddle boarding club, dance classes, or anything that grabs your interest. Chances are there is a senior or beginner group for whatever you're interested in. 

Need to Know

Making friends as a senior is important for health too. A study on friendship and emotional health showed that having friendships as an older adult led to "higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction." Another study on health and relationships showed better functioning and physical health in older adults with good relationship support, including non-strained friendships. 

Volunteer at Local Community Events

So many of us go our entire lives without knowing the people who live three doors down. Get to know the people in your area by volunteering at local community events.

And don’t only offer to volunteer for senior-specific ones. Grandparents still show up to back-to-school events and people of all ages will browse a pop-up shop. The point here is to discover the people in your area that want to make local friends just like you and spend some time with them.

Quick Tip

Many seniors find that they lose work friends post-retirement. Volunteering somewhere can help you make new friends you'll regularly interact with through your volunteer work. Plus, you know that you both care about the same cause, which can help you form an even stronger bond. 

Source New Friends From Your Extended Circle

 Friends Catching Up At Craft Beer Bar

By your 60s, you probably have a pretty good circle of friends and acquaintances, so why not use them? Ask them if they have any other seniors in their life that might be looking for some new friends and haven’t quite found the right people yet.

You never know! You might have a cousin with a friend that lives just across town who has a similar interest as you and would love to hang out.

Go Analogue and Join a Penpal Program

From doorbells that can see our faces to giant screens in the middle of our car dashboards, we’re inundated with technology all day long. Use a more tactile way to make new friends by joining a penpal program.

Friends come in all shapes and sizes, and there’s something so intimate about writing a note by hand. Being able to keep those mementos and watch your friendship progress in real time is a forgotten art. 

Take a Class on Something You’re Interested In

Why not kill two birds with one stone by making new friends and exercising your brain? As you get older, it’s super important to stretch your mental muscles just as much as your physical ones. Think about something you’re interested in learning or practicing: a new language, a new craft, perfecting recipes etc.

When you join a class, everyone comes together with a common goal and half the stress of making new friends aka finding something to talk about is wiped away.

Quick Tip

When you attend a class or lesson and someone seems like they might be a good friend fit, be purposeful with your interactions. Exchange numbers or ask about meeting up before or after the next class. Not everyone will turn out to be friendship material, but taking the step towards the potential friendship can go a long way. 

Participate in Faith-Based Organizations

Depending on your personal faith journey, you might find comfort and new friendships when surrounded by people who share your faith. Look into traditional institutions to visit regularly and get acquainted with the community there. Or if you’re less mobile, ask these faith groups if they have outreach programs you can attend.

Reconnect With People From Your Past

Senior women having coffee in front of suburban home

Timing is so important when it comes to life, and sometimes you just move in different directions to the people you love. But as you age, you might find that people you lost touch with are now in the same place you are.

Try reconnecting with these old friends and colleagues to see who’s interested in meeting you halfway. You can’t fake history, and that strong foundation will make it so much easier for the two of you to slip back into some familiar territory.

Quick Tip

There are challenges in reconnecting or making new friends as a senior — people may be settled into their existing routines or friendships, be dealing with losses or changes, or trying to navigate health issues. Keep a balanced approach, but don't give up. Devote time to making new friends and choosing who you want to invest more time in. Taking the time to establish friendships with people you genuinely connect with can be incredibly fulfilling. 

Make New Friends at Any Age 

Building a life and a family can get so busy that it’s hard to make time for the friends you already have, let alone making new ones. But as your roles in life change and things settle down in these later stages, you’ll find time to make fresh connections. After all, you’re never too old to make new friends, and these ideas can give you somewhere to start.

Trending on LoveToKnow
12 Purposeful Ways to Make Friends as an Older Adult