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A New Social Life after RE?
Old 09-21-2014, 03:02 PM   #1
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A New Social Life after RE?

So, I thought I would broach another subject in life after FIRE. That being one's social life. There may have been a thread on this before, I don't know. What I see for early retirees, including me is the challenge to build a social life after stepping out of the work force. While I did not view the people I worked for as long term friends, but friends for a season, they did give me social interaction for a part of my life. Now that I am RE, I find that it is difficult to connect with people my age as there are few RE. No problem connecting with the mid-range (65 to 75) retiree but they are on average 15 years my senior and they are nice to interact with but they have different priorities. I was curious what other 50 something retirees have found and have done to build social connections.

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Old 09-21-2014, 03:08 PM   #2
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In my experience, the single best thing to do is get more active in your hobbies (or develop some new ones).

For any activity you can think of, there is probably some sort of club that has meetings related to that activity not far from where you live.

Go to a meeting, introduce yourself, and become active in the club. Before you know it, you'll have all the new contacts you could want, and the bonus is that they care about some of the same things you do.

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Old 09-21-2014, 03:19 PM   #3
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This is an area that I'm really struggling with myself. I'm single and retired at 42. Work had been a major social hub. Those my age now are busy with work and family. I'm split between hanging out with young people with no job and no money... and old people with money and time, but not motivation to do anything. Obviously, travel is on the agenda, but it would be nice to have other things to do to fill the day.
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Old 09-21-2014, 03:43 PM   #4
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I have reconnected with some of my "old" friends. Now that I have more free time, it seems easier to get together. But I can tell some of them are jealous about me being retired, so I need to be careful.
If you are looking to make new friends, you can check out and see if there are any local meetings that match your interests.
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Old 09-21-2014, 04:02 PM   #5
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Good topic.

This is something I'm going to have to address as well. In my wanderings around town to get groceries and do various errands, even visits to the gym, I'm not really seeing many opportunities for social interaction.

My intention has always been to join some clubs that align with my interests and hobbies (sea kayaking, duh!) and this should help out.

I am not a social butterfly by any means, but even I admit I need more personal interaction than blogs and message boards can provide.
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Old 09-21-2014, 04:06 PM   #6
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In my latest job at Megacorp, I didn't make any friends. In my younger days, all my friends were from w*rk.

So, when I finally pull the plug after OMY, I have no fear. Currently my social life comes from church friends and activity friends (biking, hiking, swimming). If anything, it is frustrating today when some who are retired ask me to do stuff during the week. So, I'm hoping I'll have more opportunities to bond.

This is somewhat intentional that as I've neared ER, I've kept my distance at w*rk. It is a glide-path of my social life of sorts.
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Old 09-21-2014, 04:11 PM   #7
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Retired this year at age 60 so I am not a young one. I meet up with friends from work with regularity. I grew up about 60 miles from my present home and have reconnected with some retired high school classmates and also distant relatives. I looked at that interests me nearby. I might take some classes at the community college this winter (not to make new friends necessarily but to keep my mind active). I have a couple of Road Scholar trips scheduled this fall also (in PA and VA).
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Old 09-21-2014, 04:35 PM   #8
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I gave the hell up years ago. Fortunately I am one of those people who does not need associations with other people in order to draw any fulfillment or self-identity.

When I was working and well connected I found that most of what passes for "Social life" was people carping about their spouse, kids, or debt. I never fit into that demographic either.
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Old 09-21-2014, 04:43 PM   #9
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We are having the same issue and we are 3 years in. My hub is an introvert and homebody, though he does like to travel. I have tried to get him to join things, he talks a good game, but then doesn't want to in the end. I have my own friends and do things with them, but I would like to do more couple stuff.

I did one thing sort of out of character - I used to work with this company in Baltimore as a vendor. I liked the husband and wife owners. So last time we were heading through there I asked them to dinner and we all had a great time. I then emailed them a couple months later and asked if they would be interested in vacationing with us - namely Alaska, they said maybe. So maybe I just need to keep doing this?

Meetups are another great place. I am going to try those again this year.
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Old 09-21-2014, 05:03 PM   #10
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For my own experience at 54 retired moved to a quite mountain town to hike and sit watching the clouds go by. Joined a hiking group that had been on going for 30+ years. One of the part-timers asked me if I could help on the construction of a new fire house, so I said sure. I tell you I was the friend of all the old-timers, was invited to more dinners and socials. It made me feel so needed that I took all the firefighting training and for 8 years have been a volunteer firefighter, and a Board member for 5 of those years. Answer the door when someone knocks, it just may change your life.
For me experiences are not good or bad, just different
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Old 09-21-2014, 05:11 PM   #11
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When we retired we moved to a sub-division that is about 60/40 retired. We have had no trouble meeting people, and no problems establishing a new social structure. It is not a 'retirement community' a la the Villages, so no real planned activities. But, still lots of people to get together with or just do your own thing. I would think it would be far more difficult in a neighborhood where you are the only one around all day.
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Old 09-21-2014, 05:16 PM   #12
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When I first retired I joined a gym & signed up for classes . I met so many nice women through there . We started a lunch group that meets once a week and is fun . I also joined a book club between all these activities I have my quota of women friends . My SO & I enjoy being with each other . He does spend time with his older children especially during football season. We do have a small circle of friends that we spend time with but we really prefer to just do our thing .
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Old 09-21-2014, 05:17 PM   #13
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We moved just before ER (hub's job moved) so we don't know anyone here. Everyone in the neighborhood works, they are all younger, have kids, etc. I would love to move somewhere with social stuff and retired people.

Grasshopper - love your story!
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Old 09-21-2014, 05:19 PM   #14
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I can only say what worked for my DW and I, when we retired 25 years ago.
My intent was to live on the top of a mountain, with barbed wire around the perimeter. Enough of business and co-workers, and really, enough of the people in our neighborhood. They were nice, but not retired.

For starters, we couldn't afford world travel, or golf club memberships.

After the initial settling in our campgrounds, with other relatively young retirees... we went to Florida, and looked at at least 30 different senior parks... (note: not all senior parks require the age 55 minimum, but often require 80% to be 55 or older, and only one person of a couple need be 55 in the "all senior" parks.)

Not being super social at the time, the park we picked out WAS social. It took about one week of living there, to know many people who were (as were we) in their early 50's, and another month to know almost everyone in the 350 home park. With everyone being retired, and in our case, in a similar socioeconomic position, it was a case of looking for happiness, so, between hobby groups, singing groups, billiards, shuffleboard, bowling, boats (our own marina), the pool and hot tub, and a minimum of one party a week for the whole park, it was a case of picking and choosing. Just too much to choose from. A wonderful problem!

It's no different today. The people are different, but the park is still active, as young people move in, and take over the social organizational management.

Yours truly became a party emcee, the computer class instructor, and more or less in charge of organizing the group trips to Daytona or Orlando or Cedar Key. DW was into line dancing, country western dancing and pool exercise. Plus we had our own little group of couples for cocktails and dinner at each others homes... that met once a week. That lasted without missing a meeting for over 20 years. Different folks as people moved or drifted away. 20 years of weekly get togethers count for a great social life, and forever friends.

Life after retirement is what you make it. For sure, it changed my plan to live in a cave. I DO believe that a new start... like moving and finding people that share your retirement hopes, is a great way to explore a new social life after retirement.

BTW... I never danced after our wedding until we retired... 30+ years later, and now we rarely miss a dance.

I am so happy that we didn't hunker down in our Chicago suburb home, with a one or two day a week meeting with a church group, or the twice a year neighborhood barbeque.

Would this work today? I think so. For those who have moved into our Florida Snowbird community, I know so. The age spread may be a little older, but the spirit and the action is no different. Ask the convertible club, or the motorcycle group... and ask the party goers, who never seem to get over the band, the kegs of beer, endless wine and hors d'oeurves, for $6/person.
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Old 09-21-2014, 05:41 PM   #15
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My husband and nearly all our friends are retired. I think I'm the only one still working. They all tell me that as soon as I retire, they want me to go with them to estate sales, used book stores, day trips, etc. I think I'll have all the socializing I want.

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Old 09-21-2014, 06:36 PM   #16
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I have found my kids to be magic social lubricants to get me out of the house, around other people my age who don't work during the day, and connect on common grounds (usually kids).

We have also reconnected with a few high school, college, and even elementary school friends who fill up about half of our close social circle. The other half of our social circle includes the parents of our kids' friends. This second group of friends may have some turnover throughout the years, although it's possible we will stay connected with our friends since they live in our neighborhood. Many of my friends that are 30- or 40-something don't have full time 9-5 M-F jobs, and as a result are free to socialize during the weekdays.

Then there's the acquaintances I have met at playgroups, school volunteering, etc. We don't really hang out but our relationships could mature to that point eventually.

I also have 3-4 work friends I still keep in touch with and occasionally join for lunch. They remain friends because they are interesting, not just because we worked together. The vast majority of former coworkers I don't keep in touch with.
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (6, 11, and 13).
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Old 09-21-2014, 06:44 PM   #17
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I just ER'd in June at age 56 and am working on the social aspects. I've never been much of a social person and my last job was zilch when it came to friendships. I contacted a few former co-workers to try and stay in touch, but no luck.

I do some volunteering and am looking for other interaction opportunities. I've looked into some clubs and organizations.

I don't want to think that my new j*b is to find engaging social activities.
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Old 09-21-2014, 07:57 PM   #18
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I'm not yet retired, but a few I have found in "planning" for my social life in retirement:

- One has to be specific if you meet someone and want to get together with people. Just saying something like "we should get together sometime" means you'll never get together. You have to offer specific dates/times to socialize.

- Don't be disappointed if you don't hit it off with everyone... nothing is guaranteed that you will always make friends, but that is life. You'll make some, which is more than none.

- Finally, when you do join organizations for hobby/interaction, don't come across as the "experienced know-it-all with all of the answers" or the "cynical curmudgeon"... I've found that being a good listener, being ready to help, and being sensitive to when one chooses to offer suggestions is well worth it in the long run.
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Old 09-21-2014, 09:20 PM   #19
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We moved about 6 months before I retired but to an area we knew well as a result of having our summer home there for a number of years. Since retiring at 56 we have both got more involved in golf and joined a local CC and a number of golf groups.

Most of the people we golf and socialize with are 5-10 years older (or more) but we haven't found the age difference to be an issue at all.
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Old 09-21-2014, 09:23 PM   #20
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I'm enjoying the thread. I see it's not just me.

Besides people I meet playing golf and my tennis buddies, my social life revolves around my wife's friends. And that seems to be the same with most of my male acquaintances.

It's not that I'm antisocial, I like to make conversation and I enjoy being around others.

But to me a friend is one in which I can confide my innermost secrets, and besides my wife, I have only one other person with which I can do that.

Frankly, I'm OK with that, but it would be nice to have a solid deep friendship with someone of the same sex and lived nearby.

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