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Retiring as a single person.
Old 10-03-2013, 09:38 AM   #1
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Retiring as a single person.

Lots of people worry about social connections in retirement once they stop the daily interaction with the people at work. But they might have a spouse, children or other family to connect with.

What about single people, without children who don't live close to other family members? Of course there are friends and maybe people you connect with through clubs and hobbies, but do they miss work more than most? Any observations from single retired people would be interesting?
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:18 AM   #2
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I don't miss work at all. In fact, the type of work I did required me to have more social interaction than would be natural for an introvert like me. I had to "work" at being an active listener, communicating in the politically correct way, and presenting a certain image, etc and sometimes my directness would offend people despite my best efforts. Now that I have retired that is less of a burden (although some on the forum might argue to the contrary).
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:33 AM   #3
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I retired from a job that required constant social interaction with people. Once I retired, I have withdrawn considerably. No real contact with workers and coworkers, though
I had many worker friends. I have about 4-5 friends that I occasionally do activities with, along with a long time girlfriend (still works full time) who lives in same town. I enjoy having the peace and quiet of my home. My DD lives across the state attending college, so weekend visits are only a couple times a semester. I would venture to say on average I have 25 hours a week direct contact with other people (probably 20 of that GF) and the rest of the time is spent with me, myself, and I. Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way. Though occasional jaunts with friends are great. Just completed a 4 day gambling trip with a friend. It was a great time, but I was glad to get back home to my routine.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:38 AM   #4
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I retired almost 7 years ago as a life-long single (no ex, no kids). Disclaimer: I had been in a long-term relationship with my SO which ended 1.5 years after I retired.

I live in an area where I have no family as I moved here because of my job. 99% of my friends are still working full time.

After retiring, I found that I didn't really miss work much.

After the relationship ended, I was rather lonely, as we had been 'constant companions' for many years. And, at that point, I actually entertained thoughts of going back to w*rk simply to alleviate the loneliness and go back to 'hanging out' with a group of intelligent people. Fortunately, I got over that idea rather quickly.

Instead, I joined a ton of meetup groups, got into ballroom dancing, and reconnected with long-retired friends/family who live out of the area who have invited me to visit and/or travel with them, etc.

When home, I do spend a lot of time by myself. I have found that I really enjoy my own company and have become very comfortable doing things on my own and just being by myself. Occasionally, I'll contact a 'still working' friend for lunch or dinner. If they start talking about things at work, it only serves to remind me why I chose to leave and it makes me happy to know that I don't have to deal with any of that 'stuff'.

I do enjoy travel and had been planning on doing a lot of it with my now ex-SO after retiring. In the past 5 years, I've taken multiple trips (from 5 days to 6 weeks long) with a companion or two. Some have been great and some have been disasters. I still am looking for a travel companion(s), as I prefer traveling with someone rather than alone. I have found it difficult to find someone(s) who has/have the time, money, and interest who also travels at the pace and in the (mostly LBYM) style that I do. But I keep looking. And as more of my cohort group starts to retire, hopefully I'll find some who will make for great travel companions.

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Old 10-03-2013, 11:08 AM   #5
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Lots of people worry about social connections in retirement once they stop the daily interaction with the people at work. But they might have a spouse, children or other family to connect with.

What about single people, without children who don't live close to other family members? Of course there are friends and maybe people you connect with through clubs and hobbies, but do they miss work more than most? Any observations from single retired people would be interesting?
I would be in that category. And, I think most here know that I don't miss work one single bit. Once in a long while I prowl my agency's website to see what is going on and when I see what they are doing, I shudder and thank heavens that I am now retired (because it looks like they are drowning in work, comparatively speaking). So far, retirement has been the best part of my life.

I have been surprised at how much I do NOT miss work. I worked so hard, for so many years, and thought that what I did was important. Somehow, it was easier than I anticipated to just let that go when I retired and let the young turks handle everything. It helped that I left my job duties in what I felt were capable hands, split between about a half dozen excellent scientists, some new to the job and some not. I think that a lot of us who think our jobs are important, may be pleasantly surprised when they retire and realize that so often this is just a self-created illusion that gets us out of bed at 5 AM every morning of our working lives.

As far as social connections go, I do see Frank every single day for at least a little while. So, that helps. If that wasn't the case, I would probably spend more time talking to acquaintances at the gym or elsewhere. I love my "alone time", but also recognize that I do need a little contact with others in order to not get weird.

Sometimes I do worry about extremely old age, especially if F precedes me in death. But these problems exist for married folks, too.
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:11 AM   #6
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There's another thread somewhere around here titled something like : "What thing did you hate most about your job?" My answer to that would be "The People". Not every single one but seems like everywhere I've been in life and everything I've done it was always the people involved that ruined it.

I do not miss work. I actually had 2 jobs over a 2 yr period after I retired. Quit both because of the people involved.

I live in an area 1300 miles from family and am not really connected in any way to anyone else. Say "Hi' to the neighbors. Like someone said above, I enjoy my own company. I have thought about joining groups, clubs etc just to be better connected in case something happens but history has shown some personality type will likely ruin it.

I do worry a little about getting hurt, having a heart attack, will I be able to get someone to take care of my dog etc etc but to invest in groups and clubs and formal activities on such a --- just in case --- basis seems like a lot of work for a very slim chance of payoff. And of course just like previous situations with friends, cohorts, colleagues, family members, neighbors, when you really need them they will not be there for you.

So other than some minor logistical concerns I have had no problems being retired and off the social grid
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:24 AM   #7
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I notice that I am happier and generally more relaxed when I have a good flow of people in my life. This has always been easy enough, but the last few months have been harder because as I wait for my hip surgery, more things are painful and my comfort getting around is limited.

Last night I expected to be home alone, but my son stopped by with a pot of chile con carne, and then my GF called and we invited her over. It was great and I even slept better than usual.

Until my separation and divorce I spent very little time living or being alone. I do appreciate my downtime, but I would like less of it.

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Old 10-03-2013, 11:45 AM   #8
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I'm a believer in people being able to "find their own level", so to speak. In other words, more outgoing people who need plenty of social contact will already either have the social connections they need in retirement, or will have the skills in order to develop them. For the most part, the ones with less developed abilities to foster social connections are also the people who don't feel the need for as much social activity.

That's my theory anyway, though I know it's a broad generalization. I think the people with the greatest potential difficulty are those who need few social connections, but value the ones they have very highly. If that's your style, and you lose your most important friend, it can be a bit of a lonely road until another one comes along.

I'm an extreme introvert and though not single, my SO and I don't live together. I have a very few casual friends who are also like me - we only need occasional communication and even more occasional face to face contact in order to keep the friendships going. I am very dependent on her though. We talk daily and see each other once or twice a week. If I lost her I'd be OK, but it it would probably get a bit lonely for a while. However, loneliness is part of the human condition and it doesn't hurt to experience it from time to time. I'm quite resilient and besides - I will always have my cats
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:29 PM   #9
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I've been retired 6 years. Rarely do I experience loneliness. One of the treats of retirement to me is not having to interact with people. I have all the interaction I need and then some.
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Old 10-03-2013, 04:19 PM   #10
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I have been retired for nearly 5 years and I have never missed working. I was never very social at work. In my 23 years at my former job, I never attended any office holiday parties and rarely went to farewell luncheons for other coworkers. I asked not to have a luncheon on my own last day, opting for a lunch with a coworker/friend I often had lunch with.

I don't have a lot of interactions with other people. I have my ladyfriend for the last 9 years and my best (male) friend for the last 25 years with whom I play Scrabble and chess. My dad lives not far away but I don't see him as often as I used to because I am not in his neighborhood as often as I use to be. My brother lives about 200 miles away and I see him and his family (wife and one kid) once a year, usually at Thanksgiving but sometimes in late January when my dad, my brother, and my nephew all have birthdays within a few weeks of each other.

I have my school Scrabble volunteer work which keeps me busy during the school year at times. I have my square dancing which is 2 or 3 nights a week. I don't "hang out" with anyone in either activity outside of the activity itself.

At home, I have my online work of reading and posting on blogs and message forums such as this one. I have my Strat-o-Matic Baseball game I resurrected about 7 years ago after not playing it much since the 1980s. I like to read books, as I get a lot of my book ideas from C-Span's BookTV. Most of the books I get from the library but I do buy some. I do watch TV a lot, or have it on in the background.

I hate being on the telephone. I have no cell phone, for me it would be a waste of money. A landline is fine. I have no interest in Facebook or Twitter, they are worthless to me.

Bottom line - I have never been bored or lonely in my retirement.
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:05 PM   #11
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It's all about AA. Have a SO and a dog for companionship. Though the two are not quite in the same category but that's the point, it provides a good asset allocation against the ups and downs.
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:46 PM   #12
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It's all about AA. Have a SO and a dog for companionship. Though the two are not quite in the same category but that's the point, it provides a good asset allocation against the ups and downs.
The SO is your equities, and the dog your bonds?

Or something like that
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:56 PM   #13
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I love my "alone time", but also recognize that I do need a little contact with others in order to not get weird.
Oh, I dunno. While I do have time with DW I also spend plenty of time alone (we're both introverts) and it hasn't made me the slightest bit weird:
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:09 PM   #14
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Oh, I dunno. While I do have time with DW I also spend plenty of time alone (we're both introverts) and it hasn't made me the slightest bit weird:
You're right! You don't look weird to me at all.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:37 PM   #15
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I am 4 months away from my 7th anniversary of retirement. I do not miss work at all. I was living in a town of about 1400 people and found that was just too small. Have since moved to a larger town (about 20,000) and closer to some cousins. I am pretty introverted and there are enough opportunities to get out occasionally to a movie or live entertainment.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:49 PM   #16
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I telecommuted so I worked alone. ER'ing allowed me more time to get out of the house and be more social. In ski season I used to ski a couple hours and then rush home. Now I can take a hot chocolate or lunch break and stay out longer with my ski buddies with no time concerns.

Even if I had been in an office environment, it wasn't with people of my choosing, though I did get along with a lot of co-workers. But there are a lot fewer times where I have to deal with someone I don't want to deal with.

And like Meadbh said, being an introvert I'm more comfortable on my own anyway.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:51 PM   #17
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I don't miss work at all. In fact, the type of work I did required me to have more social interaction than would be natural for an introvert like me. I had to "work" at being an active listener, communicating in the politically correct way, and presenting a certain image, etc and sometimes my directness would offend people despite my best efforts. Now that I have retired that is less of a burden (although some on the forum might argue to the contrary).
As an introvert I can relate to this. As a single person my work colleagues kind of filled the gap that a wife and kids might have filled. But after a while the chit chat, gossip, talking for the sake of talking, rivalry, and passive aggressive stuff became too much. I retired two years ago and it was great not to have to put up with that anymore. Do I miss some of my colleagues? Sure. We had a reunion a few weeks back which was fun. I am doing some consulting work that I may post about sometime, and one thing that I have noticed about it is how hard it is to keep the energy level up in relating to people in a work environment. A great thing about being retired is you can take things at a comfortable pace. If you don't want to socialize, you don't have to. When you feel like it, you can, although it is not built in anymore so you have to try harder, attend meet-ups, call people. It is all up to you since you no longer have that social crutch that comes with a job.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:57 PM   #18
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Another thought about social connection at work: for every person that I truly enjoyed getting to know and would have wanted to stay in touch with after leaving there were probably 2 or 3 that I couldn't stand, mean, back stabbing, selfish.
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:18 AM   #19
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Single and have been retired 6 years. I guess the jury is still out on me. My mom was in failing health for most of my retirement(she passed away in March). So looking after her took up a good portion of my time.

But I don't think I will be bored or not have plenty of things to do. I love golf and have lot's of buddies who I play with. Also have friends who I hook up with a couple of nights a week. Who knows how it goes as I age and can't get out as much. Something we all have to face though.
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:32 AM   #20
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Wow, we really do have a lot of genuine introverts here. I'm surprised.

I haven't retired yet -- looking forward to doing that in about a year -- but I'm an introvert, too. I was reading "Party of One" a couple days ago (great book for introverts, btw). She has one sentence in there that disturbed me when I read it. I can't find it now, but it paints an image of an introvert on his deathbed, who has spent his whole life in the workplace, interacting with people he wouldn't have to chosen to be around, had he not worked there. The sentence made me sad, thinking about how much of my mind and life energy is preoccupied with social interactions with people I wouldn't have chosen to be around.

I think that in retirement, you get to choose the people you interact with. To me, that would make things much better. I have some friends at work, but work also forces me to be in proximity with people I do not trust or like. Or sometimes, just being around a lot of people buzzing about is annoying, regardless of whether they are likeable or trustworthy.

I suppose a lot depends on whether you are an introvert or extrovert, as has been pointed out. I think extroverts would have more difficulty adjusting, because they would lose a lot of the social contacts they like.
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