Dear Wisdom Circle,
En español │I'm facing a milestone birthday — I'm turning 60 — so I've reviewed my life to see what's missing. I've decided it's a friend: someone I can be frank with and who will be frank with me, someone I can accept with no reservations and vice versa. As much as I love my husband, he just can't substitute for a gal pal — a bosom buddy. I've had only three or four in my lifetime and would like to have another. But it seems as if everyone is younger than I am and interested in topics that don't interest me. Any suggestions on how I can make new friends? — Lonely Lady
The Circle Says:
I've started taking classes for adults 50-plus who want to learn for fun (without exams or homework). I've found people who have similar interests, and now I go to lunch weekly with my new friends. Try asking about classes like these at a college near you.
I have the same problem. I found that my old friends and I have nothing in common anymore. So I started joining groups that reflect interests of mine — like photography, genealogy, and my heritage — and learning more about these topics. I also volunteer. Nothing makes you feel better than helping someone.
As a guy, I meet lots of people — especially women, woo-hoo! — while walking my dog. Folks are more apt to strike up a conversation if my dog is with me. Don't have a dog? Go for a walk anyway and say hi to people. Another option is to join a volunteer organization that supports your local police department. You attend training classes before you can become part of your local citizens' police force. (Note: As a volunteer, you only observe and report; you are not allowed to confront offenders.) Try contacting your local police department to see what programs are available. I did — and wound up making friends with several other volunteers.
I love these ideas. They all sound like things I would enjoy doing, and they may be good ways to find friends. I'll check out the possibility of attending classes and will also contact my local police department. (I've always been interested in law and order. I enjoy jury duty — what can I say?) And I've kept walking our dog as usual; he's a Chihuahua who thinks he's a Great Dane. People are talking to me — but from a distance.
— Adapted by Karen Westerberg Reyes