OurNextLife.com // Early Retirement Blog, Financial Independence Blog, Documenting Our Journey to FIRE in a Mountain Towngoals

Planning for Social Interaction in Early Retirement // You Need New Friends!

We have all kinds of big plans for our early retirement, from the purpose we hope to live out, to the day-to-day things we hope to build into our lives, to the life list adventures that we hope to undertake over the course of decades. To be honest, it’s hard to believe that we’ll check even half that stuff off our list even after we have a lot more time on our hands.

But something we need to plan for better is how we’ll get social interaction after we leave (or mostly leave) the workforce. In other words: We need more friends! We love our current friends, of course, and have even started to tell a very small number about the blog (hi guys!), but very soon our time will be a mismatch with theirs — our best free time will be in the middle of the day and week, and we’ll be traveling more of the time (or at least more of the weekends, since we’re often gone midweek now for work travel).

Make New Friends! Your Life Depends on It!

Why are friends so important to us, beyond the obvious reasons (mostly: the love)? For starters, having a robust set of friends is closely tied to health outcomes, including how long you live. According to the American Society on Aging:

Social relationships have as much impact on physical health as blood pressure, smoking, physical activity, and obesity, as demonstrated in 1988 by House, Landis, and Umberson. Their meta-analysis of 148 longitudinal studies found a 50 percent increase in survival of people with robust social relationships, regardless of age, gender, country of origin, or how such relationships were defined. Just as obesity has taken center stage in our cultural self-awareness, social relationships belong on the list of potent risk and protective factors for morbidity and mortality.

— Sara Honn Qualls, Journal of the American Society on Aging

I plan to get to 100 (Mr. ONL isn’t sold he wants to go quite that long, but I have a long time to convince him), and the data is clear on what that means for me: Get busy building that social circle, sister! And even if Mr. ONL isn’t quite as sold on making it to triple digits, he knows he needs to do the same thing.

If everybody’s singing “I get by with a little help from my friends!” by the end of this, we will have succeeded. (Sidebar: Did the next line, “I get high with a little help from my friends!” mean something different in the 60s? Always wondered.) ;-)

Friends Make Everything Better

If living to an advanced age isn’t on your to do list, there are still lots of great reasons to focus on building your social circles, even in early retirement. According to Mayo Clinic, good friends also:

Increase your sense of belonging and purpose, boost your happiness and reduce your stress, improve your self-confidence and self-worth, help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one, and encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise.

All of that is good for both physical and mental health, which ensure that we don’t just live long lives, but good quality lives, which I know a lot of us strive for. Happiness goes a long way toward keeping us healthy — I’m completely convinced of that. 

OurNextLife.com // Planning for Social Interaction in Early Retirement -- You need new friends! Your life depends on it! Studies show better health outcomes for those with strong social ties, especially as we age. Make a plan to ensure you have the social circles you need to thrive in early retirement!

Making a Plan to Make Friends

There are times in life when it’s relatively easy to make friends — when we’re young and in school, in the first year of college, at times away like summer camp or study abroad, or later when parents can meet other parents of similar-aged kids. Most of those times are when we’re really young, or apply only to certain people. The rest of the time, or for many of us, making friends is a little tougher. So being successful at it requires either one of those magnetic personalities that not all of us have, or a solid plan for putting ourselves out there.

Add to that the friend complications that many of us could have built into our FIRE plans…

  • Heavier travel schedule
  • Location independence or nomadic lifestyle
  • A plan to relocate once or multiple times

… and it’s easy to see how making solid social connections could be even tougher. But not impossible! While being on the move might make it more onerous to make friends in the first place, technology makes it easy to stay in touch and maintain those friendships. So those of us looking at early retirement these days have it better than ever. Hooray!

We’re making a plan to meet more people right away after we retire, and we encourage you to do the same. That plan includes thinking through:

  • What type of activities we’d like to share with friends
  • What opportunities for social interaction exist where we live
  • What places might naturally draw like-minded people

After we answer those questions, the plan begins to take shape.

Related post: in early retirement, what’s to stop us from getting old too fast?

Activities We’d Like to Share

Where you live and what you’re into both make a big difference in how you might approach making friends. For us, living in a mountain town where outdoor recreation is top of most people’s lists, the best opportunity we see to make friends is by keeping our eyes open when we’re out doing stuff. That could mean talking to people on the chairlift while skiing, especially people riding the lifts in the middle of a weekday, who are more likely to have schedules similar to ours in early retirement. And it could mean striking up conversations with people out hiking or biking. There are also clubs and clinics for activities that we might explore as a way to have more structured time with people (as well as to build our own skills — personal enrichment as a side effect never hurts!).

But we want to look beyond those obvious activities, too, to focus on friends who share our more creative interests. For example, in our first year of retirement, I know I want to join a writers’ workshop (once I have time to write more than just this blog!), and I view that as being as much about social interaction as writing support. I’d really just love to know more local writers, and maybe strike up some friendships, so it’s a no-brainer. But that will mean not just joining a workshop itself, but putting myself into all of the literary circles in our little town, and going to as many of those events as possible.

Thinking through what activities you want to share with new friends, and letting that dictate some of what you put on your calendar, is a great way to start the friend-making process.

Local Opportunities for Social Interaction

If you’re less focused on having “activity friends” or just want to go for the easier wins, a good place to start is to think about what opportunities for friend-making already exist where you live — or where you’ll be visiting, for those who are more nomadic. Religious services are a good one if you’re into that sort of thing, as are community service programs and organized volunteering efforts. And the rest varies by place. In the mountain west, where people skew toward the more hippie dippy, there are often new agey spiritual centers where you can do plenty of guided meditation or yoga and have wonderful open-hearted conversations with people afterward. Any of those places are a great starting point.

Related post: Fostering a Spirit of Lifelong Curiosity // Staying Young in Retirement

Meeting Like-Minded People

Of course, we aren’t just looking to add quantity of friends — we really want to bring people into our lives who are like-minded in some way and with whom we connect deeply on some level. We’d love to have lots of skiing friends and writing friends, but we want to make an effort to ensure that we have a few close friends we can talk about the more intimate stuff with. And while we could certainly happen upon people like that along the way in any of our friend pursuits, we also know that it could require special effort.

For that, we’ll use as our starting point the causes we care most deeply about, and look to meet people by volunteering locally for organizations that work on those causes — if possible, volunteering in a leadership capacity. We’re each already on one local board but hope to expand that to help fulfill our service purpose as well as to meet people who care about things we care about. And we’ll follow the threads from there, wherever they lead us.

Online Friends Can Count Too

One of the best things about writing this blog has been how many online friendships we’ve made that have turned into what I would definitely consider real friendships. We’ve met a few bloggers so far, and I can’t wait to meet more of you at FinCon in San Diego in two months. And we’re hopeful that we can meet even more of you guys over time! So don’t write off online activities that could connect you to like-minded people — not all of your new friends have to live where you live! Especially for us in the FIRE community, lots of whom plan to travel anyway, having a network of friends around the country (and world!) is a beautiful thing.

How Will You Widen Your Social Circles?

We’d love to hear from you guys on this — Is making new circles of friends in FIRE something you’re planning to do? For those of you planning or considering a location-independent lifestyle, how are you thinking about this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments and we’ll chat about it!

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92 replies »

  1. Thanks for bringing up this topic! Friendships in retirement (early or not) are incredibly important. We bought a vacation condo in Florida 3 years ago (where we hope to spend our winters – sorry, we’ve had our fill of snow & cold!) and specifically chose a location and community where we thought we would be able to make friends easily. We spent Thanksgiving there last year (with no family around) and had dinner with about 30 other people who live there and it was terrific. This community also has a great blend of arts and outdoor activities – and we haven’t even started to explore! And yes, the online community has been a whole new gift too. How cool would it be to have some meet-ups – even for coffee or a drink! If anyone is ever in western/central NY (not New York City) – feel free to connect! Lots to do here!

    • Since so many people move to Florida for retirement, I have to believe that you get a little bit of that freshman year of college vibe there, with lots of people looking to meet new friends. So that’s a case of location really helping! How great that the place you’ve chosen has such an artsy, outdoorsy vibe. And thanks for putting your location out there for meetups — take Vicki up on it, folks! :-)

  2. Such a great post not just for the FIRE community but for everyone! And not just for someday but for now! Lately I’ve had this pull to engage more in my immediate community – with my neighbors, small business owners, civic leaders, etc. And once I actually started opening myself up to these interactions they started happening. It’s been incredibly fulfilling!

    • Thanks, Ernie! And you’re right — this is important for every one of us in the present. That’s awesome you’ve been engaging more with your community — and even better that you’re finding it so fulfilling!

  3. This is one of my biggest concerns in making the jump to RE, but also I hope it is one of the greatest opportunities. I’m naturally introverted and definitely NOT one of those people who makes friends everywhere. At my current job I don’t have a lot of close friends, but am very friendly with several people and get most of the social interaction I need. Once that goes away, then what?

    I do hope that having more free time will allow me to focus on building new friendships, but know that many people my age (38) may not be around during the week. Lucky for me I do have that natural stay at home mom connections, but I worry that they may not quite be as like minded. I just don’t know how many of them will want to drop the kids off at school and head for the local hiking trails! But at least I will have plenty of time to find out. :)

    • Yeah, I think this is tough for a lot of us, which is why we’ve raised it here. I think going in with a plan will make it easier to find friends. The SAHM connection makes sense, and I’m sure *some* of them will be like-minded since it’s not a monolithic group. :-) I’m sure there are some hiker moms out there!

  4. Fantastic! thanks so much for writing this for Mr. PIE ;-)
    I’ve been telling him ever since he floated the idea of early retirement, that we will need ‘people’ – who will our ‘people’ be when we’re not at work every day with a selection of forced (but mostly pleasant) interactions?
    It’s possible he thinks I’m nuts harping on about this, but like you – I believe it’s pretty important.
    Having ‘people’ takes on another dimension when you have kids and are planning to relocate. We get by right now with no family around – zero – no one guaranteed to hand the kids over to in either an emergency or difficult scheduling situation. We need to not only make friends with similar interests, but to scout out local families that we will hopefully be friendly with, AND happy to share some child care with if necessary.
    I’ve got several ‘friend making’ opportunities in mind, from the obvious (school based) to things like volunteering or through small jobs or community activities. I’m also very aware however, how awkward making friends can be as an adult. oh, to be a kid again!!

    • Haha — you’re welcome! ;-) The health data is pretty clear on this — even if you don’t care about friends for companionship, you should care about them for your own health and longevity! It’s great that you have friend making opportunities in mind, especially since, as you said, you will need social supports for your kids!

  5. I have wondered how people stay connected or interact with people outside the Internet when living the nomad lifestyle.

    I assumed they had secret locations to meet and party – maybe ThinkSaveRetire will give you the coordinates after they find it

    your plan of attack sounds good – volunteering/meeting people outdoors specifically for finding people with the same interests as you.

  6. Making friends as an adult is tough. I feel lucky that my college roomie is out here and plans to stay, that I enjoy the company of my coworkers, and that I have my BF’s family social network (grew up and went to school here) available as well.

    While I don’t feel like I will be actively trying to widen my social circles, I expect that it will happen naturally as I move into another industry post-semi-FIRE and as future-kids make friends in the community.

    • That’s great that you have some built-in social networks — that certainly makes things a lot easier! And I think you’re right that future kids will make it a natural to meet other parents.

  7. A lot of these are applicable to moving to a new area as well. I used a lot of these tactics to find new friends when I moved to an entirely new city last year and didn’t know anyone. For me, sports will be a big activity. I’ve found the exercise and camaraderie that comes from being on a team is just about essential in my life.

    Online friends are the best though! No matter where you go, they’re there with you. The FIRE community has welcomed me with open arms and I’m so glad I’ve gotten to travel and meet so many new friends! See you in San Diego :)

    • Look forward to meeting you! :-) And so true that these are just generally good ways to make friends any time. If you’re an athletically inclined person, then joining sports teams makes total sense. Mr. ONL has made friends that way, too. (I do sporty things but never really team sports.)

  8. Man, I need to make some more friends NOW. I’m in that post-college stage where a lot of my friends have scattered, and a lot of my “mom friends” have a hard time finding time to get together without the kids. Work friends are great, but I’m really missing the easy friendship days.

    We should just start a commune. Signups at FinCon – BYOTH (bring your own tiny house).

    • It can be hard! You’re right that it never gets easy again after the easy friendship days of our younger years. But if you get in the mindset of putting yourself out there, that helps a lot. And LOL on the commune idea. ;-)

  9. This is a priority for us, but I’m not too concerned about it to be honest. Besides the kids and their friends parents (fingers crossed we have something in common) I’m just waiting to see where we land and what community things I can get involved in, or activity clubs.

    In LA, joining the homebrew club made a decent amount of friends for me anyway, and I’m hoping for something similar in our new place. With mrs. SSC probably doing yoga or something similar for exercise, we could probably tap that as well.

    While I know it will be important, and made difficult by the fact most people will be working and not as free as us, I am confident we will figure something out. I keep telling Mrs. SSC I’ll jsut start a “Whine Wednesday” club and have the kids friends’ stay at home parent over for wine, and “whine.” haha, get it? :)

    • I love the “whine Wednesday” idea. ;-) It’s funny that you say you’re not concerned about this, but then you clearly have a plan — join clubs, meet people through shared activities, and meet friends through kids. It’s easy not to worry when you have a good strategy in place — haha. But I agree, I think your plan sounds great, and you guys will be in good shape to make friends wherever you land.

      • Well, currently we have almost zero friends (they keep moving away), and little to no social support in the sense of family around to help out or even closer friends to help out with the kids in case of emergency. It’s been a busy last 3 years for us, but we’ve still been getting along well just the same. In LA we had a lot of friends, social support, etc… and not just through work. I’m confident we’ll be able to insert ourselves into a couple of social circles one way or another. :)

      • I think it’s super hard to build a good network when you’re stretched to the max with work and family stuff! But I’m sure you’ll be able to focus on building the social circles back up once you have more time on your hands. :-)

  10. Great research on the healthiness of friendships. That’s awesome you are planning for this. I always seem to meet like-minded people at the library. They’re into free resources and are lifelong learners, too. I know our library has a writer’s group. You seem very friendly so I’m sure you’ll make some more great friends :)

    • That’s awesome that you meet people at the library! I love our little small town library, but it’s definitely not a social place. Oh well! And I’m definitely an ambivert with strong introvert tendencies, so it’s sometimes easier to be friendly in writing than in person — but who knows, maybe I can work on being less awkward in retirement. :-)

  11. I always heard that line as “I get by with a little help with my friends” ;)

    This is definitely something I worry about too, but it’s so far away that I don’t worry about it that much.

    • That’s the FIRST line, but the next line says the “get high” bit — as a kid I always assumed that meant something like “I feel naturally good!” but I bet it doesn’t. ;-)

  12. Our lives have been unintentionally semi-nomadic so far, and I don’t see that changing in early retirement.

    I’ve made friends via the homebrew club. There are also running and bicycling clubs that I could join if I had the time.

    My wife makes friends everywhere she goes. Lately, that’s been the gym, church, and elementary school related groups.

    Online friend not only count as real friends, but they can become friends in real life. Last weekend, I took a little road trip, and met up with a few online friends in person. It was most excellent, and I plan to get to know more of you all in the future.


    • That’s so awesome that you met online friends IRL! I love hearing that. Sounds like your wife, especially, has a natural knack for making friends, which will be a real asset for you guys especially after you leave the workforce.

  13. I guess I never really gave this issue much thought. After years and years in management, and most recently in Human Resources, I was frankly sick of talking to people and more than happy that I didn’t have to do it anymore! Obviously dealing with issues like harassment and discrimination and wrongful termination hardly qualify as “social interaction,” but the amount of energy sapped from me 24/7 left me craving the quiet and missing none of the conversations, telephone calls, emails and texts associated with my last job. Now that’s it’s been eighteen months, you would think I’d crave some social interaction, but I don’t – at least not yet. I still love the calm, serene mornings, the still of the lake on a quiet weekday, and the sheer luxury of reading without interruption. I still bristle when my phone chimes, even though I long since left the workplace (some kind of deeply ingrained resentment, I suppose, for all the spoiled vacations and holidays spent dealing with HR issues). I’m sure my attitude will change with time, and our hobbies will bring new people into our circle, but for now the neighbors we’ve met and the contractors we work with have proven to provide enough interaction for me. Perhaps I was never as social as I thought I was? Or the scars from years of refereeing employee disputes run deeper than I care to acknowledge, but I can sincerely say that this far into it, I want for only peaceful serenity and still consider any knock at the door an invasion of my privacy. Time will tell whether or not that changes, but for now I’m perfectly content with this drama free existence.

    • Drama free existence. Love it!!

      Now I won’ disagree with Mrs. PIE above ( more than my life is worth) but your experience in work and post retirement resonates with me. The quiet, peaceful walks, slow start to the day and time just to think alone will be so good. I am positive that will change over time and I will need a bit more.

      Like you, jaded with so much work drama and in- fighting, I need something better to counteract that nonsense.

      • I definitely relate too! I have a pretty low-drama workplace, but once you add clients to the mix, you have multiple layers of drama that turn even the most minor drama into something bigger. I definitely crave days with no phone calls in retirement. But, it’s still so important to remember how crucial that social support network is. Do you have people you can talk to and get support from, outside of your own household? That’s the question we should be asking ourselves.

    • I can relate to so much of what you’re describing! I bristle at the phone ringing, too, and wonder how long it will take for that feeling to wear off after we leave the workforce. I can definitely understand enjoying the time to yourself, so I think it’s more about making sure that you have the support you need to weather storms that come along. Worth thinking about!

      • I will happily settle for less interaction of a much higher quality! For now, just enjoying the quiet and spending time with Mr. AR is enough. After selling my time and energy for someone else’s money for so many years, I’m content just relaxing in the calm. I don’t feel the least bit lonely or socially deprived. Maybe that will change over time, but for now I’m truly content with the serenity and have no desire for polite chit chat. I’d much rather sit on the deck with a cup of coffee and my Kindle!

      • Can’t argue with contentness and happiness! :-) I think if you are feeling good, then trust that. If you want more social time in the future, you’ll know, and then you can act accordingly. But for now, enjoy the quiet! :-)

  14. This is a good thing to think about and I think it’s a reason why many people shrug off the idea of retiring early: What’s the point? Everyone else will still be working anyway.

    I’m an introvert, so it’s crossed my mind but I really don’t mind spending a majority of my time alone. I get excited thinking of all the books I’ll finally be able to read!

    A few friends have tried Meetup and they have nothing but great things to say about it. That’s another way to find new friends, especially since you go in knowing you have at least one thing in common. I have yet to try it but I would definitely consider it.

    • I’m sure you’re right, but that idea is such a bummer: I might as well keep working forever because I’ll be lonely. :-( Thank goodness all of us here haven’t fallen into the trap of that thinking! I love the Meetup idea, and wish it was more active in our little town. But we know it’s a great option in bigger places — our friends have raved about it, too. Hmm… maybe we should make an effort to make Meetup more of a thing here… you’re getting my wheels turning! (And I feel you on the introvert thing — but introverts need social support, too!)

  15. It is hard to make friends as an adult with an unusual schedule, but we’ve had good luck with meetup groups (hiking, book club, volunteering) and with people who work in healthcare and are self-employed, since they also work nontraditional hours.

    • The meetup group idea is such a great one! We didn’t include it because those groups tend to be less active in small towns like ours, but totally agree that they are an awesome option in bigger places.

  16. I haven’t really thought too much about this, but once I quit the ol’ 9-5, I’ll either have to open up the circles a little bit or learn to be a hermit!

    Everyone in my current circles will still be working, so I’ll need to start finding some other new friends for daytime fun like racquetball. Hmm, I better start the people watching a little more as I get closer to quitting to find some poor souls who are going to stuck being my new friends!

    — Jim

  17. That’s why I love the FI/PF community so much, I feel that there are so many like-minded people that I can be friends and share ideas with.

    You’re so right about making an effort to make friends after FI. Having different hobbies definitely help, as you can join different groups and go for the different meetups/activities. This is similar to when I graduated from university and moved to a new city. When I graduated I found it harder to meet new people, so I joined an outdoor club. Through the club I ended up meeting Mrs. T (lucky for me). When we moved to a new city recently, it was hard to meet new friends. Luckily Mrs. T joined a bunch moms groups and through these groups we’ve met some great families.

    • So, so true! The FI community is pretty magical for being welcoming to new friends. :-) That’s great that you met friends (and your wife!) through an outdoor club, and that you’ve met some simpatico families!

  18. This is definitely relatable for me because when I became a stay-at-home mom, I lost that connection that you have to other people when you work in an office. I am a super introvert so if I am not seeing people, I am really not going to seek them out. I started blogging about a year after my daughter was born and I made online friendships which was great for my introvert self :)

    • I definitely think the internet has been the biggest gain for introverts. :-) Even though we don’t have kids, I understand a little bit because we have worked at home for years now, and we rarely see our coworkers. Though, we do talk to them, which gives us almost enough social interaction for now. But once that disappears, it will be interesting to see how much we seek out. Mr. ONL is a full extrovert, and I’m definitely ambi — I can play the extrovert part, but I rarely want to try that hard. :-)

  19. Absolutely! I learned from my parents (who full-time RV’ed for 12 years) that making friends while on the road is actually pretty easy. It seems like those of us who are “in this thing together” – as full-time RVers tend to be – make friends fairly easily. I guess the kinship between us all helps to spark conversations, dinners, happy hours and those kinds of social interactions.

    I have a distinct feeling that our problem will be politely saying “no” to friendships more than actively seeking them out. Just staying stationary in the KOA, it’s already starting, in fact. :)

    • I definitely believe all of that! There is clearly a fraternity of RVers that we’ve witnessed when camping — though we’re never invited in because we’re always in a little tent. Haha. And it does seem like the social networks popping up for RV life make it easy to stay in touch with and reconnect with those RV friends you make.

  20. Research!? Be still my heart! We plan to travel to see cousins and family a lot! (That’s already the priority – none of them can “afford” to travel, so the only way we see them is to fly our family out to them. Worth it in our book!) But online friends, as you say, are also awesome. And you’ll be traveling up to Alaska before you know it! :)

    • So funny — I’ve been all about the research lately! :-) You’re so right that we’ll be traveling up to Alaska in no time! And I love that you guys place such a big priority on travel to see family — and for other enrichment. Your kids are so lucky. :-)

  21. Strong social ties are so important to feeling good on a day to day basis. One of the biggest ways I intend to focus on nurturing close friendships when I get to semi-retirement will be local volunteer work and leadership. I’ll have more quality time to dedicate to really important causes and will be able to grow into knowledge and love with many other folks doing the same work. I may take up fiddle lessons, too. Perhaps going to concerts will help me make interesting ties with folks.

    • Ooh, I love the idea of fiddle lessons! In our case, it’s re-learning piano and guitar — we’ve got a garage sale piano here along with an old acoustic guitar, just waiting until we have time to notice them again. :-) And I love your plan to volunteer more and be involved in leadership — I think that’s a fantastic way to meet people who care about the things you do.

  22. Having an active social life is hugely important to us; it’s basically one-third of the ONL-inspired purpose diagram I put together! We were sad to leave home and the friends we have there when we started traveling, but we’ve also managed to see dozens of friends and family members during our travels, which has been awesome.

    When we settle down geographically again, I’ll want to pursue some type of social activity, whether it’s volunteering or a club or something — otherwise I expect it will be hard to meet people without the structure of work. For all the negatives of prior jobs, some of my best friends are former colleagues.

    With regard to online friends, I’ve met so many great friends online over the past 12+ years that I don’t even think twice about it anymore. The internet is like a giant bar or coffee shop here where everyone has their interests and passions pinned to their chests; it’s easy to find like-minded people!

    • It’s incredible you guys have been able to see so many friends in your travels! (And you know we were thrilled to be on that list.) ;-) And for all we might say about work, we feel the same way — so many of our best friends come from work, and we’ll miss the automatic (and paid!) time we get with them now. I think the volunteer or club idea is a good one, and gives you a decent shot of meeting people who share your interests and passions. And yeah, same here re: internet friends — we’re all for that! But we also want to have people nearby we can call to grab a beer or go for a hike. ;-)

  23. A little off topic: have you ever considered bundling all the non financial preparation for FIRE into a book? There is a lot out there that crunches the numbers and how to make the math work. There is very little out there on the last few years before FIRE and how to prepare mentally. This is blog really opens my eyes on all the other attention points related to FIRE. There is more in life than money once you have the money! I am happy to proof read! ;-)

    Finding like minded people in a few areas would indeed be a thing on my list. I am deep down a photographer, so, that would be one are I go into. And having some FIRED friends would be nice as well.

    On FIRE friends, we are off later today to the FIWE meeting in Budapest! Meeting people that want to be FIRE one day.

    • What a cool idea. I had not thought of that. I had assumed that the early retirement book space was well covered, but you make a good point. We certainly spend a lot of time thinking about the non-financial aspects of it all! Good food for thought… :-)

      • Oh, no. The non-financial space is not well covered at all! I’ve researched it…read over 30 books and can say 5-7 of them were ones I might recommend. My blog came about because I started writing a book on this very topic, but realized publication was going to be more challenging than I thought, so turned many chapters into first set of blogs. I’m still considering going the other way (blog to book) and recently met with an ex-colleague who just self-published his first book – asking about best approach to publish. BTW, one of my early blogs has that list of recommended books…if you want to check out the “competition”.

      • Thanks for this info, Pat! We’ve read most of the books out there, too, and you’re right that they mostly just cover the numbers. I’m thinking about Ernie Zelinski’s books, which cover very little on numbers, but a lot on the mindset stuff, though it’s a bit more general.

  24. This is an area that has been challenging for me since retiring. I’ve never been one to have lots of friends. Lots of social interaction came from professional colleagues, but true friends could be named on one hand. That’s 5…versus your 100 target! Increasing my connections having lost the social interaction of work has been a focus. I’ve done all the recommended things….Meet-up, classes, reconnect with old friends, reach out & suggest things to new acquaintances. I’ve set goals, which helps this introvert to force herself to do all that stuff! But the thing I have learned is…friendships take time. Lots of time. And effort. After 2 years, I have 2 people I feel like I can call new friends. Still working on quite a few other acquaintances to see if can progress those to friendship! It’s good your planning ahead, but realize the time it takes.

    • We definitely never expect to have 100 friends. :-) I think if we have 5 real and true friends where we live, we’ll be totally happy with that, in addition to our other friends spread around the world. But we’d also just love to have people we see on a regular basis. It’s awesome you’ve been getting out there — and I love the idea of setting goals to force yourself out of your comfort zone! And you’re SO right that it takes time. Patience is important, since it could easily take years.

  25. You are so right–you HAVE to find your tribe! I recently retired at 51. Fortunately we enjoy old people. Living in the Colorado mountains, there are a lot of really active retirees–even one 75 year old who can kick my butt on a mountain bike. I’ve met a bunch of friends of friends on hikes and bikes and intend to volunteer to meet others. I’m also keeping in close touch with a few friends from my old job.

    • Oh my gosh, we definitely have those kinds of “old people” around us, too! I love when I’m working my butt off to bike up a hill, and some 80-year-old passes me with wind to spare. LOL. That’s great you’re getting out there and meeting folks, and keeping in touch with the friends from your old job!

  26. This is definitely something we talk about a lot. We currently live close to our families, but have had a very hard time meeting friends who share our outdoor interests nearby. Prior to little EE, we were out every weekend and it wasn’t a huge deal that many of our best friends live 2-3 hours away. Now we rarely see our friends. This is a big reason why we want to move to an area with close access to the mountains with hopes of meeting up with other families with similar interests as well as having access to get out during the week while little EE is in school. Just curious on how long you’ve been in your town and how easy/hard of a time you had meeting people there.

    • I have heard similar stories from lots of friends after they had kids, so I don’t think you’re alone in that! We’ve been here a bit under 5 years, and probably felt like we had a decent friend base 2 or 3 years in. The funny thing that we didn’t appreciate when we moved is that it’s hard to make friends in the winter in a ski town — no one hangs out outside except at the mountain, and then they’re bundled up. In the summer, though, it’s easy. In hindsight, it makes sense, but we moved at the start of the winter, and so had no friends for several months until the spring set in. ;-)

  27. Yeah, making new friends as an adult is hard. I’ve had so many friends move away in the past couple of years…it’s pretty common to be in Boston on a temporary basis because there are so many universities and hospitals: people come here for 2 or 3 or 4 years for grad school, post-docs, fellowships, that sort of thing, and then they move on. Trying to figure out ways to meet new friends is an ongoing issue for me.

    • Sorry you’re in the friend revolving door! We’ve experienced that, too, in both of the big cities where we lived — lots of people moving in and out, and it’s hard to find a permanent tribe. To be honest, that was not an insignificant part of us moving to our mountain town. We felt like people in the city were always going to come and go, but we might have more of a sense of roots in a smaller place. So far, it’s true, but I don’t think that’s the magical answer — especially if you prefer city life! And while it’s all well and good to talk about these ways to meet people, it’s totally a different thing to go out there and do this stuff, and then follow up with people and make plans and follow up some more… I’m pretty terrible at that now, and just hoping I get better when I’m not stretched so thin. But I hope you feel more satisfied on the friend front soon! xoxo

  28. First off, I’m old enough to assure you that ‘I get high with a little help from my friends’ meant exactly what it sounds like – by 1967 the term was in pretty wide usage among certain groups.

    We moved from a rural setting to a small city a six weeks ago. I’ve already made more casual friends – three, so far – in this six weeks than I had in the last twenty years. One is a neighbour, two…or maybe more….still developing relationships – are from the writers’ group I was finally able to join. Proximity and shared interests are the two keys, I believe. I’m starting some volunteer work in September and that too may widen my circle of friends. I believe it is important, but needs to be balanced against the individual’s need for solitude: mine is high, many people’s isn’t.

    • Thanks for weighing in on the lyric, Marian! I have always suspected that, but felt weird asking my dad. Haha. How great that you’re finding it easier to make friends where you live now! I really do believe that every place has a different social personality, and regardless of size, some places just make it easier than others. It’s also fantastic news that you’ve been able to join a writers’ group! So happy to hear that!

  29. Couldn’t agree with you more.
    Building Relationships as an adult is one of the most challenging things especially when you have a family, a Job and other things that keep you busy,while true friends are hard to come by, it doesn’t hurt to open up a little and get to build a network of friends that share the same hobbies and interests that you do.

    I gotta admit though the older I get the fewer friends I have. I just can’t see myself hanging out with friends when My family and kids need me the most. being a father is more than a full time gig it’s a calling.

    • It’s so awesome that you feel so fulfilled by your role as a dad! That’s fantastic. And I think the studies show that the positive health outcomes are associated with both close friend AND family ties. So you’re doing the right thing for your health, even though I’m SURE that’s not why you care so much about being a dad. :-) But you’re so right that it’s much tougher to make friends as an adult, and putting yourself out there more and opening up both go a long way toward helping to open some of those doors.