Making friends in later life may not be as easy as when we were younger. If we're over 50, and perhaps retired, it can be even trickier considering we no longer have the daily rythm of activities, and colleagues we meet every day. When we no longer share a common space such as school, work place, or the local library, it can be increasingly difficult to meet people who can become our friends.
However, it is never too late to meet new people, or indeed make new friends, and ine of the best places to start is with yourself!
Think about what you enjoy doing and start from there. Often, when we have not had a chance to enjoy ourselves for some time, we loose confidence in our ability to do things, and in ourselves. We can forget what makes us really happy. If you enjoy gardening, start with by going outside, or plant indoors. If it makes you happy, do more of it. And then consider joining an allotment society, a local gardening group, volunteering for a place where gardening skills are needed, or attending a flower arrangement workshop. If you enjoy doing something, and also want to meet new people, do what you love together with people who enjoy the same thing!
When Jan was in her sixties, she who found herself lonely and isolated. She had lost her self confidence.
After some time, Jan took that important first step to change her situation by starting with what she loves doing.
Jan is one of a group of women who attends a weekly craft group in Birmingham. Until very recently, Jan was rather unsure of herself. Through illness and caring, she had lost much of her self- confidence and thought making friends was difficult.
Jan really enjoys making greeting cards and so she started looking for a group with like-minded people where she could use her skills and meet other people. Having stumbled upon it, she liked the sound of a craft group based in Hall Green. At first, Jan hardly said anything to anyone in the group. She was always one of the first to leave once they had finished and she didn't engage much with the other members. Then, one Wednesday, something happened. Jan started talking and helping others and she became more active in conversations with the other members.
Six months after first having joined the group, she's the one leading the craft session most of the time! She comes early, helps to set up for the sessions, and she stays on to put things away. She isn't the first one to leave but rather the last!
Jan found her confidence again.
For Jan, and those who have gotten to know her, this change is remarkable. Her self-confidence has come back and she really enjoys using her skills to help others. This new found confidence has improved her life tremendously and she's very happy she took that first step of finding something she enjoys doing, and doing it together with other people.
Craft and Tea on a Wednesday at The Oaks in Hall Green, is a group of older people where some are carers, some live alone. Members meet up every two weeks for a chat, a cup of tea and to make some simple craft together. By making things with their hands, they are breaking down barriers that would otherwise make it a little difficult to interact. Through crafting they are allow people to become friends much quicker.
If you'd like to find our more, and perhaps join the group, contact Christine Higgins on 0333 006 9711 or by emailing