Monthly Archives: June 2014

#18 Make New Friends

One of the ironies of retirement is that while you have all the time in the world to meet and bond with new friends, your ability to find them seems to shrink somewhat precipitously. The big wide world of exciting new people that employment casts in your direction suddenly disappears and you realise you need to act.

Yes, it’s time to

#18 Make New Friends

The sad truth is, life-long friends who’ve also retired begin to move away, to seek out warmer places, be nearer grandchildren, or follow some other dream. Before you know it, your wide circle of friends has become a small ring of friends and without care, may end up as a mere dot of friends. And you certainly don’t want to be the last one standing, friendless. So while it’s vital to keep and nurture long standing friends, making new ones also becomes pretty important.

The question is, how do you meet new people in a setting that may help form lasting bonds? What worked in past years doesn’t go down so well when you’re older. I’ve noticed that if you’re not in primary school, blurting out ‘do you want to be my friend?’ has shades of stalking.

School friends

My three BFFs in 1965, no questions asked. 

They say that volunteering is a great way to meet people.  But of course, it all depends on where you volunteer and for whom.

Why I would have thought that reading excerpts from a newspaper on air while cooped up in a tiny studio would increase my circle of friends is a mystery to this day.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Radio studio

A really conducive setting for meeting others and building friendships…or perhaps not

Then one day, out of the blue, an old friend came up with a very clever idea. Why not build up a group of eight or ten people, meet regularly and immerse ourselves in new and interesting activities? Any activity that appeals to us. It would be a way to meet new folk, broaden our horizons and perhaps try something we’d never done before.

And here’s the clever bit. To help the group expand, each new member invites one other person – importantly, someone not well known to the existing group – until we reach the size that works for us.

The beauty of this plan is that you only have to know one other person to ask, yet before long, there are eight or ten of you all meeting regularly, having fun and becoming great friends.  It works whether you’ve lived in the same place for years, or have just moved and begin by knowing only one other.

We call ourselves ‘Discovery Group’ and the person who hosts the fortnightly session chooses the topic du jour.  We’ve had a magnificent array of experiences since we began. There was the ‘Learn How to Tweet’ day, the discussion about what we’d done for our ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ fortnight, the ‘Solving cryptic crosswords’ session – with a guest teacher no less – through to more traditional activities like discussing our ‘Favourite book’ or ‘Learning to make Pasta’.

 But recently, we hit the jackpot when one of our inspired members suggested we hold ‘The Great Clerihew Challenge of 2014.’  Who’d have thought nine such mild mannered people would have such wicked senses of humour, and such disrespect for our politicians?  Of course, it helps enormously to have a leader whose first name rhymes with ‘phoney’.

But among a slew of hilarious Clerihews, this one really took my fancy:

Vladimir Putin

Lootin’ and Shootin’

Is at it again

Invading Ukraine