Finding new friends over 60 48



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Forming new friendships has been a large topic of conversation here at Starts at 60 in recent weeks. A few weeks ago we asked how long it had been since our over 60s here had made new friends and 52% answered that they couldn’t remember the last time they did so. So we’ve made it our mission to make making friends more easy. And today we’ve got tips. But first I have a story to tell you about one of our dear community members, Jenny.

Jenny joined Starts at 60 about a year ago. She is a widow in her 60s with a few health problems. Vibrant and happy most of the time it seemed, she had just moved to the northern beaches of Sydney three months earlier trying to find her happiness after losing her husband a year earlier and was feeling a little down.

She wrote to me in a private facebook message one day. “I have just moved to a new area and don’t really now how to get started making new friends. I am worried that most people my age in this area seem to have their own friends already and I just don’t know how to be the new kid on the block. I thought it was going to be easier to have a fresh start after my husband died… but I’m just not getting to where I wanted to,” she wrote.

We chatted back and forth for a few days then I wrote an “Our Community Cares” article for the site asking people for ideas on how they had made friends before. Jenny wrote back after reading it with a pledge… She was going to more actively seek out a few friends.  She joined the U3A and a bridge club in her area and started to volunteer at the Coastguard too. It was remarkable how meeting a few people made her whole world spin differently and over the next couple of weeks I heard less and less about her angst and more and more about the busyness of her life – a great thing I think. I am sure many of us can relate to this.

If you can, and are considering stepping forward to find a few new friends in your life, what can you do?


Admit that you would like to make some new friends

Having some self-awareness of your desire to add to your friendship network is an important first step. Pay a little attention to what gets you excited these days… Is it the latest edition of SVU on TV, the daily updates on Facebook by Starts at 60, or do you wish your phone would ring a little more with interested people who want a chat?   Would you like to go to the movies more or have someone to enjoy a wine and a meal with occasionally.

Look deep within for any flags that are telling you you’d like to get out more and set them into action. Today isn’t a day for loneliness… it’s a day for action.


Decide what kind of friends you’d like, and what kind of friend you want to be

As we all should know… the reason friends pool around you is because of you! If you don’t make an effort, care or show concern, friends likely won’t show concern for you. But flip that attitude around and become someone who is a keen friend and you might be surprised how people are drawn to you.


Look for things to say yes to

It can be nerve wracking or even desperately uncomfortable to consider joining a group but, the first step always lies in saying “yes”.


Take a look around you at what is available that you are interested in.

A choir, a charity, a dance class, a meetup, a mens’ shed or a bridge club are all very interesting ways to meet people. In fact, research shows joining interest groups is one of the best ways to meet kindred spirits. If you can pick something that aligns with your passion, you might be surprised how much you have in common with the others who also have similar interests.


Invite people in

I always find that inviting someone I have built a bit of a bond with into my home brings our friendship a lot closer, yet increasingly I think more and more people stay out of each others’ homes unless they become very close. Could you build a few special friendships by inviting a small number of new friends you meet in your adventures over for a dinner party? Even if the idea of cooking for a large group makes it all seem too hard or expensive… you could plan a “pot luck” dinner where everyone brings a plate or an afternoon tea where all you need is a cake and tea.


Why not try the Starts at 60 Coffee Meetups?


Have you found a good place to make friends? Or been through a similar process of gradually starting to look for friends?

If you are enjoying the company of Starts at 60, you might like to consider coming to our Coffee Meetups in each capital city across Australia tomorrow, Tuesday 17th February. For more information or to book your ticket… go to

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. There are 250 U3A groups around Australia with 95,000 members. New members are always welcome. Each state has groups and many people join just to stay socially connected. You would never be short of friends if you join U3A and you would learn new and interesting things.

    5 REPLY
    • They are run entirely by volunteers from the membership. If you google u3A On Line, it lists all U3A groups in Australia and NZ. Australian groups are listed under States. Depends were you live. I live in Qld and the smallest group in a little country location has 40 members. Brisbane has 3,700 members. Activities offered depend on the volunteers available and U3As are mainly for semi retired or retired people. They offer opportunities of learning and social connection. U3A is a world wide organisation. I could go on with more information however you can look them up and hopefully find one near you. Good luck.

  2. ” I went to a group to find a friend and couldn’t find any: I went to a group to be a friend and then I found many “. Even God ‘aside’, try a church. After the service you’ll notice “trust” and “honesty” > handbags strewn around the place, keys, wallets and one more thing; most smiles and conversations seem genuine. That’s a great start!!!

    1 REPLY
  3. It’s not that easy if you live in a small country town. Particularly if you are the new girl in town, and single! Friendship circles have been made for years and the doors are closed. I’ve mentioned this to some people and even tho’ they’ve said things like “oh, that’s sad” not one of them offered the hand of friendship. And I’m not into choirs (can’t sing), charities (tried that, a lot of self-important, self-centered people!), a dance class (not interested), bridge club (don’t play bridge). So the 3 friends I have managed to make will do. But it’s still lonely – although I do enjoy my own company, and that of my dog!

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    • I live in the city of Melbourne and joined ” meetup” all sorts of groups and ages of people who want to meet up for, book clubs, theater, walking, coffee, i have friends but wanted to extend that circle.
      I also went on RSVP dating site and met my husband a couple of years ago, on weekends I spend my time in a rural coastal town as I have a beach house there and I have made 2 friends and now I have many, as I was introduced to others, that took about 8 months, I am very chatty and genuinely interested and like people, I even find people that others roll their eyes at amusing, the things I stick to isI do not work or play in my immediate environment, I do not do gossip, I listen and reserve my judgment and quite often forget what the story was if it’s just ranting or bickering, I am easy going and friendly but no push over. Enjoy everything, be the person you want to meet, and learn to see the good and let go of what does not suit you.

    • Margaret, that’s a bit mean. You don’t know me and for your information I am an extremely positive person. Furthermore, you don’t know my situation. When you live in a town of under 6,000 people it’s not all that easy to find like-minded folk, particularly when you’ve had a somewhat different past to 99% of them, career wise and lifestyle. Also I came to this town (not by choice, I can assure you) when I was well over 60 and knew only one person in town. She never even offered to introduce me to other people! Should have been a sign of times to come!! The only entertainment and/or restaurant facilities are RSL, golf and bowling clubs – and I’m just not a club person.

      I joined three volunteer groups – one of them had many young people who considered if you were over 50 your place was in the kitchen making sandwiches! The other dabbled in some activities I found to be slightly, well not exactly illegal, but not exactly legal! To do with money! The other had a president who was a little dictator, definitely not a team player, which reduced the amount of participation by others. Boring and unrewarding. A shame.

      I have my garden, my books, my email friends around the world, a book I’m writing, my dog, 1 very good friend and 2 rather good friends. So I get by.

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      • I know exactly what you are up against. I too went to live in a small town where everyone seemed to be related. I made two friends, who both left the area after a few years. You either had to go to the pub, join a sporting club, or a church to meet people. The CWA were definitly not the open welcoming organisation they make out they are but were very cliquey. I was only 20, ended up very depressed and suicidal, husband always at pub with old mates. After 5 years and a breakdown ! My family collected me and took me back home. I changed from a popular outgoing person, to a shy withdrawn one
        Get out if you can, go back to your old life and friends. BTW, the only job I could get was a solitary one, housekeeping at a Motel..

    • I moved from a country town in South Australia, 3 years ago, to another place in North East Victoria. I do have a daughter, her husband and 3 teenage grandchildren loving 35 kms away (the reason for moving) but I do not ‘live in their pockets’ but is good to know they are there if needed. I am basically a reserved person and have never made friends easily, but when I moved I decided I had to put myself ‘out there’ and not expect others to come to me. I started aqua aerobics classes, I volunteer at Aged Facility, involved with church – I am never lonely, although I don’t mind my own company. The friends I have made at the pool are just so supporting and encouraging. I have not enjoyed or been happier in such a long time. I was a new girl on the block and single and have made it work for me. You can too. You must make the decision to ‘go out there’. All the very best.

    • Marsha, how very nice of you. Unfortunately there are a few kms between us – I live in the Upper Hunter in NSW. But if you’ve ever up this way please pm me.

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      • Any good meetups in the hawesbury area?

  4. I know how that lady feels moved 18mths ago and still have not meet any friends. Moved to Central Coast, was big move from Sydney. It is so much harder when you are older.

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    • I just went over my mums story… My dad died when they were both 48. From there she volunteered in just about everything she could. Footy club canteen, high school canteen, meals in wheels, founded travel club, church warden ( she loved that as she was very religious) she did bible classes, she was in local hospital fun raiser group, she knitted and crocheted squares for blankets for underpriveledged. She had bad arthritis in both knees and eventually couldn’t move about too well. She out lived all her friends whom she also was their chauffeur. In the last ten years of her life she was extremely lonely because she could not get out to do things for others… So if you are lonely and alone I think if you find a group of people who have similar interests join in . my sister plays bowls she has made some wonderful friends and she is very shy, but coming out of her shell. Her husband passed only last year… she lives in small town too.

  5. I have more acquaintances that I can do things with at my retirement estate. 4 of us went on a weekend cruise on the river & had a ball. Many times I have gone to the movies or shows on my own. You miss out on so much if you don’t go it alone.

  6. Be the friend you want to meet, stay active, interested, learn new things, join in be part of it, if you really don’t like one thing try another, there is always something to do, but you have to make the move.

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