post-retirement process

Hustling Hard for New Friends in Early Retirement

I know a lot of people think of early retirement planning being just about saving enough money to pull the plug on your career. Not so, my friends. I’d argue there are 10 questions you need to be able to answer before considering saying goodbye to work, from knowing exactly how you’ll get health care to thinking through how you’ll keep your mind active and young without work.

And a big piece of that is making new friends.

Unless all of your friends just happen to retire early at the same time you do, you’ll find yourself with free time when most everyone you know is stuck at work, and those limited weekend time slots won’t be enough to fit in everyone you’d like to see.

So rather than sitting around lamenting this fact, it’s far better to make a game plan to expand your social circles before you quit your job, and then to get right on it when you’ve got the new time on your hands. Especially when you lose the built-in social interaction of work, it’s important not to go into a cave of solitude, and then find yourself talking the ear off the cashier at the grocery store (or spending all your time on Twitter) because you’re starved for conversation.

(Why all this fuss about friends, other than to avoid scaring the grocery store employees? Because study after study shows that people who live the longest and have the most fully able-bodied years are those with strong social circles, including people they feel they can truly confide in, not just casual pals and acquaintances. So if you want to have a long, happy, healthy retirement, friends are your, erm, friend. Plus life is just more fun when you can share it with people.)

We’ve known all this for a while now and had plans in place to make it happen. January 1 hit, and we said:

Commence Operation Friend Zone.

Here’s how it’s been going.


One of our favorite things about living in a mountain town is that many more folks here, proportionally speaking, work nontraditional schedules. So on any given weekday, we have at least a fighting chance of finding someone who wants to go for a hike or ski. But we also spent the last six years while living in Tahoe with our heads down working, and I feel like I barely even lived here, spending so many nights away while traveling for work. So while we have some good friends here whom we adore, we have long been excited to branch out and meet more people.

Because I’m a checklist nerd, I made a mental list of three main starting points to expand our friend circle:

  1. Get to know casual acquaintances better
  2. Join groups and meetups to meet people with similar interests
  3. Ask people we meet out and about on friend dates

And yes, I know this all makes me sound like a robot trying to make human friends, or like an alien attempting to emulate human behavior, but given the number of comments and notes I’ve gotten over time that say some version of, “Okay, I know I need to make more friends in retirement, but how do I actually DO that?!” I don’t think it’s such a crazy idea to make a plan like this.

Getting to Know Casual Acquaintances Better

We’ve met tons of people over our time living here who we maybe had one long conversation with and then have only had quick interactions since then. Or people we know in a volunteer capacity but haven’t had social time with. Given that we already know these folks, it seems like the obvious starting point to try to spend more time with some of them, and see if it’s a friend connection.

This has been going decently well. We’ve found a few folks we jive well with. The downside is that a lot of these folks have traditional work schedules, so while it’s great to expand our circle generally, this approach doesn’t necessarily help us find friends who can, say, go for a mountain bike ride on a Tuesday morning.

Joining Things to Meet People With Similar Interests

Something I’ve been especially focused on is finding local friends who share some of my more specific interests. It’s easy in a ski town to meet people who want to talk about skiing, but not so easy to find people who are into blogging or podcasting, or who want to geek out about airplanes, for example.

So I’ve been availing myself of the long list of groups on Meetup, and frequently making the trek down to Reno where most of these groups gather. The Northern Nevada Podcasters meetup has been the most fruitful thus far, in that I’ve been able to meet some people in real life who are down to share tips and war stories about podcasting.

But then there are the other meetups. Here’s an experience that I’ve unfortunately repeated a few times now:

Go to a meetup that’s labeled as some sort of writing meetup. Format is usually listed as some sort of intro chatting and quick socializing, followed by writing time and ending with more time to chat. A location is given, and a sign is promised with something like “writing meetup” written on it, to help newbies find the group. Arrive, look around at length, and see no one with said sign. Realize that the organizer only has some graphic for a picture in their profile, and not a recognizable face. Decide not to bother every person in the café who looks like they might be writing, asking if they know about the meetup. Get down to writing anyway, while continuing to look around for any signs of a group. Send a message through the meetup page inquiring if anyone else is there, and either get no response, or a response only after leaving. Eventually give up and go home. // hustling hard for new friends in early retirement

Sooooo… yeah. That’s mostly been my writing meetup experience so far. All I have to say about that is: Blurg.

Make the Move With People We Meet

The last thing we’ve been trying is a bit of boldness when we randomly meet people out and about. Like if we’re out backcountry skiing and we bump into people out doing the same thing? Well we already know they’re into something we’re into, and if we chat a bit and they seem cool? Then it’s such a no brainer to see if they want to hang out more.

We both definitely used to be in the “See you around!” camp with interactions like that. It felt too forward to ask people to hang out right off the bat. But we’re making ourselves get over that. And now I, a person who possibly never asked another human out on a date myself, find myself asking people out. Except as friends, not as dates.

TBD on how well this plan will work out, but I suspect it’ll be promising, if we can keep at it.

The Downside of Branching Out

So here’s an unexpected side effect of focusing on making new friends: we’ve neglected our existing friends. We thought we’d have loads of time to hang out, but between travel, hobby stuff, going to meetups and hustling hard for new friends, we haven’t made enough time for friends we had been looking forward to seeing more. Which provides a good reminder:

Even in early retirement, you do not have endless time.

Everything is still about prioritizing, and though it’s been a good thing to get ourselves into a mindset of branching out socially rather than withdrawing into the cave, we think we’re going to focus for a while on the friends we’ve already got.

Let’s Talk Friends

Time to spill your best ideas, folks! How do you go about making new friends in real life? Anything that’s worked especially well for you? Or share your philosophy on friends and socializing, and what you’re aiming for in retirement. It’s all super interesting, so let’s chat about it!

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50 replies »

  1. You seem like an extrovert Tanja. Someone in need of social interaction. That’s not a bad thing, but early retirement can be a challenge for extroverts.

    There’s not a lot of people in the early retirement boat. Finding someone like yourself will be hard. You could try volunteering or maybe even (gasp!) get a part-time job to have a little social interaction.

    Honestly it’s not something I worry about. Making good friends takes time, and I don’t feel like you should “force” that. Either you click with someone or you don’t.

    Think of it like gardening — If you plant ten thousand seeds, you’ll hardly have time to nurture each one. Plant just a few, and you’ll have time to care for each.

      • Noooo… what I mean is that you be friendly to everyone and the ones you enjoy spending time with, the ones you resonate with, the ones you share common interests, etc – those are the ones that grow. You won’t know who that will be when you first meet.

  2. I haven’t faced any issues with this yet but then again I’m still working 20 hours a week at my job. So I still get that social interaction. On my days off, I’m solidly focused on my side hustles enough that I’m not looking for new friends who have irregular schedules or who are retired, I usually got to the library and do some work.

    As far as my regular friends, it’s nearly impossible to get more than 2 of them together for anything on a weekend. They’re so busy cramming their entire non-work lives into every Sat. and Sun., they’re just not available. I wish a few more would discover the concept of financial independence.

  3. I guess I am lucky that I have an irregular schedule (hospital shift work) and so do most of my coworkers/ friends, usually if i want to do domdo someth during the week some one is available but if not I do lots of stuff by myself but I am introverted only child. I do go to a couple of meet ups regularly (hiking and cribbage so have naturally frugal type people which is a bonus)

  4. I can relate – finding friends has been the most difficult part of FIREing since I FIREd 6 years ago.

    My wife and I belong to a Run Club (she’s running the Boston Marathon today!) where we do a fair amount of socializing. I’ve also tried the Meetup groups, but I’ve haven’t found anything that really excites me. I may try more volunteering just for extra people interaction.

  5. And this is why I read your blog faithfully – this just isn’t the type of topic I can read about on any other FIRE blog. I love that you’re writing about what retirement is actually like and the things you’re worrying about and working on.

    • Seconded!

      And because your writing about things like being a checklist nerd really makes me smile 😊. I recognize myself in that sentence!

      I’m going to go back and read your previous article about this, but would be interesting to know if any of the studies differentiate between the introverts and extroverts among us. I’m all for a longer and healthier life, but even the idea of putting myself out there at those meet-ups would take years off mine.

  6. My family finds plenty of social interaction through our church (Men’s and women’s groups, weekend hiking and other types of things) Even if you aren’t into church services you may find some fun social activities to try out.
    Groups like Scouts, Rotary, Sertoma, 4-H are also big in our area and always looking for new people to volunteer. Lots of great opportunities if you make the effort to be involved.

  7. Because I am definitely not retired, I can share this nugget: the blurb on my buildings elevator ride this morning referred to a recent study about making new friends. Since it is early in the morning, the details are fuzzy, but I think the breakdown was: 50 hours to make a friendly acquaintance, 90 hours to make a friend, and over 200 hours to develop a close friendship.
    Perhaps I’m too guarded, but I’d say it takes more time than that. Then again, that also explains why I have few “close” friends – but then, one person’s idea of a close friend may not be mine. I haven’t read about the study methods, but I have noticed that making friends in adulthood is hard.

  8. If FIRE doesn’t give you the feeling of endless time, what does? I mean, other than sitting through a 3 hour kids ballet recital to see your niece perform a 90 second routine…

    I have been trying to get out more to meet my neighbors. While some of them are older or stay at home parents who can’t drop everything to go on a midday hike, they can offer coffee and conversation and laughter and wisdom. I am enjoying it more than trying (and failing) to meet someone exactly like me.

  9. I’m worried about my mother for similar reasons and she’s traditionally retired. When your retired and all your friends still work it can potentially make for a very boring life. That would defeat the point of retirement.

  10. Hi,
    I’m a total introvert so making friends is incredibly hard for me. I’m lucky that the FI community is so nice but I still couldn’t say I have any friends. Plus I have no clue how to actually get them. I like you’re a checklist nerd as I am too.

    LMF x

  11. Such a great topic Tanja!

    I make a real effort to get things on the calendar with my working friends well in advance of the weekends. I learned early on they too easily slip away.

    At our mountain home, Pickleball is our core new friend finding activity. We’ve turned several couples into dinner party, card playing friends (my favorite activity). We’re struggling to find our tribe in our desert home–Pickleball has produced a ton of acquaintances but we haven’t figured out how to do the friend conversion. It feels like dating, if you don’t click around the dinner table, it seems awkward when you’re back on the court. I know it’s a stupid name for a game, I know it seems like you should be 70 to play but it’s so fun. Everyone should try it-easy to learn and hard to master. for court locations and drop in times.

    In Tools of Titans, Gabrielle Reece had a great line–go first. Be the first to smile at someone, be the first to introduce yourself, be the first to extend friendship. It seems so smart but it’s likely easier when you’re a gorgeous, famous, former professional athlete and model!

    You’ll figure this out just as you have the rest of the FI/RE stuff. And when you come through Eagle, CO or Scottsdale, AZ reach out :) I won’t make you play cards and I always have wine.

  12. Not RE (or FI yet womp womp), but I totally get this! The current frontier is finding “mom friends”. Whoa buddy is that a trip. Most of my friends had their kids right after high school, so some of them could babysit HP! They’ve been helpful with advice, but I really want to branch out this summer and try to find more friends for me and for HP. It’s so much harder than it seems…but really important!

    • Wow, I always thought it would be so easy! As someone without children, it seems to me that every potential friend has children and I would do anything to find “non-Mom” friends. I guess no matter what, it’s always a challenge.

  13. Nice picture of the VLA antenna! I went to college at New Mexico Tech and got out there occasionally. There is a fair amount of easy access rock climbing in the area too (Box Canyon was my favorite). I try to use my college experience to meet new friends now. It seemed easier to make plans with people when we were all in school and had similar schedules, but also I was more adventurous and ready to turn a casual meeting into a friendship. After I retired, I became more of a joiner… volunteering at a arts organization, our neighborhood group, exercise classes. Plus, I agree that it is worthwhile to spend more time with casual acquaintances. I turned the wife of a former work colleague into a great friend; we meet up every Thursday to do craft projects and gab. I would suggest that you take your time with Operation Friend, it took time for me to get closer to the people that are my good friends now. If I had been trying more new people, those relationships would not have fully developed.

  14. back in the mid 90’s when i was still a competent runner i went to a couple of free group workouts in the state park nearby. the people running were near my age and near my ability but the boredom of talking to them brought me to tears. i’ve said it before but i like hanging around service industry folks. a lot of them work only afternoons or evenings and have odd days off too. i also like traditional retirement age retirees, so long as they have a sense of humor. they often have a lot to say.

  15. I’ll be joining you in those ranks in a few months. Worse because we’ll be in a new locale and my small circle of existing friends will be WAY too far away to try and hang out with anyway. I’ve already got some plans in the works since there are mutliple volunteer opportunities around the community. Junior Achievement, museums, CASA, and other programs I’ve found that I’m going to look into. There’s a pretty exciting looking one I’m going to volunteer at, but I can’t mention it or it would give away our new location, lol. There’s also the kids school and PTO stuff of course, but I’m not sure how fulfilling that could be. I may need something more, lol.

    Another professor had a wife “retire” from her career when they relocated to the university and she got into volunteering and has made a lot of friends and acquaintances that way. I will try to leverage her experience as well since she’s “been there, done that” with what I’m about to go thru. Hopefully that will be helpful, but ultimately I know I’ll ened some more interaction than I’ve created for myself here in Houston.

    I’m looking forward to it, however it pans out.

  16. I understand the spirit in which you’re doing this, but to go back to the dating analogy – being asked to hang out with someone I just met is pretty off-putting for me, like being asked on a date by someone I just met in line at the coffee shop. I don’t like it when people come on that strong. It’s actually a little harder with a new acquaintance than a date that’s gone sour to try to get the “I’m just not that into you” message across. They may be perfectly nice, but for an introvert like me, overly forward and “let’s hang out all the time” types are not a good match and can get overwhelming and draining very fast. Trying to let them down gently can mean months or years of awkwardness. I have yet to find a nice way of letting someone know that it’s nothing personal, but I don’t want to hang out. At all. In an effort to avoid more such mis-matches, I now take things very slow in the friends department, and I definitely value quality over quantity. I do think friendships are important, though. When I’m FI I’ll be looking for organizations and activities where I can get to know people gradually, work on constructive projects together, and hopefully develop some close friendships naturally with people who already have some common ground with me.

  17. I think this post is useful not just for early retirement, but even prior to that! For instance, my social circle where I live used to be quite large, but since then it has dwindled down to only a couple people whom I rarely see!

    I’ve begun to realize I really need to make new friends here as like you said, that’s extremely important for your overall health. Hoping the methods I use here I can potentially use at the onset of early retirement as well!

  18. I helped my SO make a new friend (and possibly friend group) recently. We were having a rare dinner out at a pub a few blocks from our house on a Monday night. I overheard a few guys at the bar discussing D&D. My SO used to have a D&D group, but someone moved away and someone else had a baby and then it stopped. He hasn’t had any luck finding another one. I urged him to go talk to them, but it’s a little scary to talk to total strangers, so he waited until he’d had a drink and then got up his nerve to go ask if they had an opening. It turns out that guy didn’t, but he had another friend who did. They met for a drink a week later and hit it off. TL;DR, my SO has a new group to play D&D with because I pushed him to go talk to a stranger at a bar… so it *is* like dating!

    Personally, nearly all my current friends have some connection to an annual volunteer event I did for 10 days every year (after work and on weekends) for 12 years. The organization no longer exists and a lot of people have moved away, so I need to find a new one to meet some new folks.

  19. We moved to a very small town six months ago from a larger city. I read the book “This is Where You Belong” and it has a lot of great ideas for meeting people and growing your roots in a place. Highly recommend.

  20. Great story and picture about phantom Meet-ups!

    Of course, even Meet-ups that actually occur may not necessarily work out because the people participating may not click with you in other important ways. I recently attended a Meet-up of French learners who wished to converse in French. It was described as suitable for both Intermediate and Advanced speakers. I attended, thinking that surely someone else would be an Intermediate like myself. It turned out to be a group of 15+ mostly senior–and very Advanced!–speakers. As they went around the table in their fluent French, talking about their upcoming plans to make their annual return to their Paris flats for the spring months, etc., I realized that the group was not for me…

  21. I have found that it is very difficult to make friends where we live in the Northeast. People just aren’t as open. Our closest friends are still over 1,000 miles away, which is, in some respects, why we want to eventually move back to our home state or close nearby.

  22. One of the hardest things I’ve realized about adulthood is that it’s hard to make friends! Or maybe it’s just me, I dunno. I think FinCon meetups are definitely a great way to find like-minded friends. The nearest one to me is an hour away, so that’s a no-go. :/ I think I prefer to have a small friend circle with deeper relationships. It saves me the hassle of having to juggle hanging out with multiple people and scheduling (I’m an introvert, obvs!).

    • Touchy subject, for sure. I agree that it seems harder to make friends in adulthood. That said, I only had 2 or 3 close friends all through grade school. In college it felt like dozens, but college is a special little time in life – somehow maybe what we’d idealize our early retirements to be more like? Minus the idiotic binge drinking of course.

      We struggle a bit to make new friends and it’s harder with the kids ironically. We figured they would be a common denominator of sorts with so many other toddler parents around. Ha! We’re all too dang busy and worn thin to do much socializing it seems… :-)

      Luckily we have this sweet little community of early retirement bloggers to hang with. Meet-ups are fun – and we’ve enjoyed the company of a few stellar bloggers so far. Life is too short to not try and branch out. Maybe that’s part of why Jiro never retired – too afraid of all that free time!

  23. I find that one of the best ways to make friends (especially in adulthood) is to be yourself! And I mean your own, true, quirky, authentic self! The most recent really good friend I made was gained by me saying something totally random about cats out loud – she laughed and now she’s my best friend :)

  24. I’m outgoing and an extrovert, so this is a priority for me. I create calendar reminders to make sure I check in with everyone I’m close to, see what’s happening on the weekend so we can get together. :)

    For the few folks you’ve connected with, how about establishing a regular schedule to hang out?

  25. I have had some mild success with the asking random people on friend dates method. My husband and I met some of our close friends when they picked us up at a wedding registry event, and I turned around and tried the tactic on another couple we bumped into at a bar. We were in the wedding party for that second couple a year later!

    I’ve also had it backfire because, even if you can get a phone number or e-mail address, the other person has to put forward some amount of effort to schedule with you. If your schedules can’t mesh, then you find yourself still texting two months later and wondering if it’s really worth it.

    You should not worry about sounding like a cyborg trying to understand human relationships! My husband and I talk about friendship formation in concrete steps, too. My experience has been that both parties need to move quickly (usually within a couple days to a week after the initial meet) if you want the connection to survive. Despite how creepy it felt to ask, we’ve had the most success with people we’ve brought into our home for dinner for the first formal meet-up. Sometimes I’ll initiate the second meet-up as well, but if the other person/people don’t reach out after that, I typically let the connection fizzle out. I don’t want to feel like I’m imposing myself on other people, and I want them to engage with the process, too. It’s difficult and time-consuming and emotional, but it can be rewarding!

  26. Ooh, interesting topic! This is actually something that worries me a bit when I look forward to an eventual (hypothetical) FIRE. But then again, when I look at my current situation, I feel somewhat encouraged.

    Three years ago I moved to the German-speaking part of Switzerland (and I didn’t speak any German). It’s been genuinely hard to make local friends, and I still don’t feel like I’ve integrated very well into society here. I did manage to make a few good friends, though, mostly other foreigners. Sometimes I start to feel guilty for not making more friends (now that is a weird psychological quirk…) – but then I realize that I’m actually pretty happy with my current level of social interaction, and I think I would even feel stressed if I had more things to do on the weekends!

    I guess it helps that I’m (like many here it seems) an introvert and definitely need a certain amount of time to myself to feel sane and relaxed. But in general, maybe what I’m getting at is that while friends are doubtless a valuable resource at any time in life, sometimes you can make yourself more unhappy worrying too much about how to get more of them than you would be just enjoying what you have…

  27. You sound very similar to me when it comes to making friends. I’m more than willing to put myself out there (say, with mom friends I meet at our local park), but the struggle of finding time for existing friends is a real thing.

  28. I wish we lived closer so we could go on more friend dates!

    Having friends is definitely something we think a lot about as we plan for our retirement location. Low cost of living sounds nice for making our nest egg last the longest, but since we’ve spent our whole adult lives in busy, high-paced, HCOL, high professionals density areas we’re worried that we could ultimately be uncomfortable and lonely in a LCOL area. (Harder for us to make friends possibly?)

    Social network is so important to fulfillment and happiness. A concept demonstrated nicely in your recommendation “The Blue zones” but also something I feel in my own life. We’ve been lucky with really great neighbors. Nothing is better than strolling around the neighborhood on a nice evening and impromptu joining someone inside or on a patio for a long talk or drink while the kids play.

    Also enjoyed your recommendation “Fates and Furies” – it was a crazy ride! Cheers, friend!

  29. luckily I’m an extreme introvert so I am happy with my books and my internet, hehe

  30. m going to go back and read your previous article about this, but would be interesting to know if any of the studies differentiate between the introverts and extroverts among us. thanks

    • Yeah, that’d be interesting. My wife (a writer) and I (ret.) are both introverts. I’m more of an ‘organizer’ kind of guy, tho, and am happy to org up small groups. She’s less inclined—–however, the irony is that her professional expertise is in small groups, so when she guides/leads one, they rock. Over decades I’ve done a lot of reading on Friendship—even done some academics on the subject—because it’s been a central facet of my life. All said, yes, would love to know more about this.

  31. As YFK said above, I’m also in that frustrating “most of my friends have moved away and I really need to make some new ones but help, how do you do that when you’re not living/taking classes together and therefore together by default??” post-college phase. This is compounded by the fact that all of my free time is taken up by blogging! Granted I’ve made a bunch of friends blogging but I suspect it would be good to find one or two who aren’t constantly thinking about money ;)

  32. I swear I didn’t tell you this before but I decided to work on this this year too. Not because we’re in imminent need of retirement friends but because I’ve spent years here in the Bay Area without making any real effort at all and it’s suddenly occurred to me that having a support / social circle that’s physically here is actually a good thing. So my list is kind of like yours but pared down – we’re hosting already good friends for dinner every one or two months and occasionally mixing it up with less well known friends to expand that circle a little. We’re scheduling meet ups with some friends we already enjoy and want to deepen friendships with, and I’m actively speaking to some neighbors selected on the basis of Seems Sane and Has or Likes Dogs. I don’t really know how to make friends, I have to start somewhere!

    • Haha, love your neighbor conversation criteria! It’s on my To Do list to meet some of our neighbors. We moved into our area 1 1/2 years ago but have only spoken briefly to two sets of neighbors. I have an ulterior motive of wanting to have one of them feed our cats when we’re away for a couple of days at a time – this is the dream! Just have to pluck up the courage…

  33. Check out more meetups! One bad meetup does not make all meetups bad. Just like one lemon does not make all cars bad. I find most meetups in my areas are particularly populated with (older) retired folks as those are the ones with free time and availability on Wednesday at 2:33pm. Same goes for volunteering and hiking mid-week…

  34. One of the best ways to find new friends is to be more humble. Meetups are great, but if you continue to cary this “look at me attitude” on this site, you aren’t going to make a lot of friends. You also don’t reach out to different cultures either and focus on your own little bubble. Yes, Lake Tahoe is a very un-diverse place, but if that’s not an excuse for being so myopic.

    The first thing you can start with is to recognize your privilege. Recognize your high income, your easy life, nobody to support, etc. People like to be friends with people who are self-aware.

    • I’ve been listening to Tanja on her podcast, The Fairer Cents (where, as it happens, her podcast partner is a woman of color and from a different generation), and she’s not only inclusive of diversity, but an advocate for it. She likewise frequently acknowledges her privilege, here on her blog, in her podcast, and elsewhere.
      Dunno where you got the idea she’s focused on her own “little bubble”, nor any of the other unfounded criticisms in your comment, but I respectfully disagree. She strikes me as justifiably confident, rather than so proud she’s in need of increased humility in order to find new friends. As for a “look at me attitude”, isn’t any public blog an offering up of one’s life and writings for examination? How else would you suggest she share the approaches she’s found effective? I, for one, am grateful for her generosity in sharing her insights, observations, and successes.

  35. I’m glad you listed steps, because so many people don’t know how to make friends as adults. So many of their friendships before were about proximity and had time to grow from there.

    I take the same approach for broadening my circle of friends and potential dates. I go consistently to activities that I like and figure out whom I liked to spend more time with. One of my new favorite post-break-up activities is a monthly sing-along with theatre people. I now know some delightful retired dudes that I enjoy harmonizing with. I’ll be a plus-one for an upcoming theatre events for one of these fellas.

    An activity I’ve really enjoyed is a class I’ve been in for 2 years. Many of the same people show up each semester and some of us now gossip about our lives over dinner.

  36. I enjoyed this post not only because of the subject, but I want to applaud and promote the development of posts that don’t have a neat and tidy ending. That don’t have a success story at the end, wrapped up in a bow with a 3-part recipe for success. I’m much more interested in how it feels along the way to try to put some values into action than whether the particular plan worked in the end. Please revisit this topic every once in a while and tell us about the progress (or lack thereof), what’s working and what’s not. If a year or two from now, you have no new friends at all (which possibility is remote to zero) the twists and turns along the way will have still made for a more fascinating series of blog posts than just one or two on making a plan that quickly came to fruition (“and here’s how you can, too!”).


  37. I am not retired, but can still relate to this. I’m a social introvert and love my checklists. You definitely have to meet and chat with the people that might turn into good friends, but my trick for conversion is food. This might not work if cooking isn’t fun for you, but people don’t often get together in other people’s houses for dinner anymore and I feel like this can jump start a relationship (if there is going to be one). ‘Family dinner or brunch’ is a thing we like to do every so often and it’s easy to say, ‘Hey a few people are coming over for french toast casserole and board games, wanna join?’ You can do spaghetti and meatballs and the guests bring a bottle of wine. Or pancakes for dinner and then old school video games. Maybe not for everyone, but it has worked for me so far!

  38. When I moved cities I needed a checklist and campaign to turn acquaintances into friends. They liked me, we would have fun together, but they already had full lives. So introvert-me made myself invite one person per week to join me for a movie, a walk, a coffee, whatever. It took six months of this before I found I had a small bunch of functional friends. So I think it is sensible to plan it as a campaign. You have to judge it sensitively, not to seem rude or needy!

  39. I am 48 and “retired” for health reasons. Because of my disabiliy, I lost my resort home and have a much lower standard of living in a new state. Everyone my age works. I recently moved here and am having difficulty finding friends. Advice is appreciated. Thank you.