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Social interaction after ER?
Old 07-15-2011, 04:12 PM   #1
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Social interaction after ER?

Not a major problem for me right now, but I do recognize I have much less contact with people than I did while working. DH is retired plus I have my mom, brother and a few friends I see regularly. I worry my circle of friends and family is narrowing and will continue to do so over time.

Since retiring, I've worked as a volunteer with an animal shelter quite a bit. Mainly fostering kittens, serving on the board of a charity and helping out with fund raising. Not a lot of contact with people here really. I think it would be healthy to have more contact and interaction with people and am considering changing or adding to my volunteer and other activities. What do you think? Suggestions?
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:17 PM   #2
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I am one of those INTJ's that don't need much social interaction, but if I didn't see F. every day (heaven forbid) then I know I would feel a need for a little more.

I have gotten to know several other seniors at the gym on a "waving hi" basis, but haven't pursued any friendships. I'd probably do that if I needed more interaction. I'd also take classes there, both aquatic and just regular exercise classes of various kinds, and get to know other gym members who attend the classes.

Instead of doing Weight Watchers Online, I'd go back to attending weekly meetings and get to know people there.

I can't imagine wanting more social interaction than all that, and I do not attend church, but I am sure some people get a lot of interaction by attending church functions as well.

There's a book reading club at my local library.
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:24 PM   #3
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:25 PM   #4
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I think it would be healthy to have more contact and interaction with people and am considering changing or adding to my volunteer and other activities. What do you think? Suggestions?
Like many other things discussed here, it varies from person to person. If you feel the need for more social interaction then pursue it. I personaly like as little social interaction as possible and generaly avoid it.
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:36 PM   #5
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Like many other things discussed here, it varies from person to person. If you feel the need for more social interaction then pursue it. I personaly like as little social interaction as possible and generaly avoid it.
That's my natural inclination too since I'm an introvert. Early retirement was quite liberating in that I didn't have to engage in "forced socialization" or be cooped up in cubical city with people I'd rather not have in my space.

Even so, I realize the need to be part of a social group. I worry about being old, lonely and cut off one day. May be more of an issue since DH and I never had children.
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:30 PM   #6
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Since most of my social interaction was with co-workers I felt a lack in retirement . I joined a gym and took regular classes and I would strike up conversations with everybody . It worked now three plus years into retirement and I have new friends . We lunch weekly and occasionally do other things together . Combined with the time I spend with my SO it's the perfect amount of interaction for me.
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Old 07-15-2011, 07:58 PM   #7
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We have at least as much social interaction in RE as while working, maybe more.

With time to get out and do things, we're involved in lots of group activities. Kayaking/canoeing club, RV club (brand specific), Multiple ham radio clubs, informal groups such as the folks we meet at fishing camp twice a year, ongoing associations with work buddies, lots of family involvement........ Well, you get the idea.

The nice thing about social interaction in RE is that we choose who and how often. Example: sometimes we like to hitch up the camper and throw the boats on top of the truck and head out to where we won't see a soul for a week or more. Other times it's fun to go caravaning with the RV club camping in the same spots and sharing a camp fire and cooler of beverages in the evening. It's all about doing what ya feel like when ya feel like it.

We've generally found people to be very, very friendly and open and making new friends has been easy. But we're careful to keep in close touch with life long friends too, even those where our interests may have drifted apart over the years. Earlier this week I had lunch with a buddy I met in kindergarten in the Chicago Public Schools in 1953!
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Old 07-15-2011, 11:34 PM   #8
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I think there may be a bit of a gender issue going on too as far as wanting/needing friends in retirement. My observation, for what they are worth, indicate that more women than men feel the need for close friends. DW is a great example where she has increased her circle of friends a great deal in the past couple of years vs me who as added zero. I am not antisocial...just not actively involved in the community and have no need or desire to do so other than DW's spouse. DW seems to have a number of social needs met through these interactions...I don't. I would be just as happy being alone all day; which is just about how things work out now with DW being gone most of the day. I actually enjoy the solitude.
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Old 07-15-2011, 11:57 PM   #9
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That's my natural inclination too since I'm an introvert. Early retirement was quite liberating in that I didn't have to engage in "forced socialization" or be cooped up in cubical city with people I'd rather not have in my space.
Even so, I realize the need to be part of a social group.
I think you have to listen to the preferences being expressed by your brain and your body. Maybe someday you'll return to social butterflydom, but there's no need to rush it.

We may know intellectually what's "best" for us, but frequently it doesn't happen because it's not an internalized priority. So if you're truly suffering from a lack of socialization then you'll feel compelled to do something about it, and you'll do it.

Frankly it sounds as if you can find a more mutually rewarding & fulfilling experience with your felines than with much of the human race.

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I worry about being old, lonely and cut off one day. May be more of an issue since DH and I never had children.
Someday we're all going to be old & cut off, but by then Facebook will come with an ocular-implant feature. And when your friends "poke" you, you'll feel it!
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:18 AM   #10
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We are members of the YMCA and enjoy all the facilities including gym, pool and exercise classes. We also enjoy sitting in the communal area having a drink and talking with other folks. We have noticed that for older folks there are many additional, non-exercise, activities and we'll sometimes chat to them while they are gathering for a bus to collect them to go someplace.

There is a disabled lady we've talked to several times and she gets to and from the gym by a special bus that runs around the town taking folks like her to where they need to go. She has no family, and really values her visits to the "Y".

Like W2R says above, places like this make available as much social interaction as you'd like to have, or none at all if you just want to go swim or exercise, or sit in the sauna or hot tub.
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Old 07-16-2011, 05:02 AM   #11
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I would be just as happy being alone all day; which is just about how things work out now with DW being gone most of the day. I actually enjoy the solitude.
Fully agree.

Before retirement, I had to see people (and "play nice"). Not anymore ...
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Old 07-16-2011, 05:36 AM   #12
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:00 AM   #13
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Steve, I think you have a good point about the sexes. Not only do women crave more interaction than men do, they are more inclined to set up little clubs and cliques with unwritten rules about who fits in and who doesn't, and then exclude the ones who don't (usually, me! I get along great with women generally, but can't seem to stay in a "woman's group" to save my life, even though I have plenty of "feminine" interests).

Men, on the other hand, seem accepting of anybody who has similar interests, no matter how little else they have in common. My husband was the first one to put that into words for me, and I have found it to be true. Since I love the outdoors, fixing things, solving problems, I have ended up with more, and longer-lasting, men friends than women friends...especially since I have reached the age when the men aren't muddying the waters by primarily looking at me as a potential source of sexual relations. I also get along well with gay men for some reason.

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I think there may be a bit of a gender issue going on too as far as wanting/needing friends in retirement. My observation, for what they are worth, indicate that more women than men feel the need for close friends. DW is a great example where she has increased her circle of friends a great deal in the past couple of years vs me who as added zero. I am not antisocial...just not actively involved in the community and have no need or desire to do so other than DW's spouse. DW seems to have a number of social needs met through these interactions...I don't. I would be just as happy being alone all day; which is just about how things work out now with DW being gone most of the day. I actually enjoy the solitude.
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:47 AM   #14
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interesting topic. For us social interaction is great but sometimes gets out of hand. We have been at our cottage for about 3 weeks and haven't had as much time to ourselves as we would have liked.
We have made some great new friends on recent trips and I hope this trend continues. Otherwise it's mostly family with a few close friends. I can see as we age interaction will be less and more difficult. Striking a good balance is our objective at this point.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:31 AM   #15
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There is a group of painters here that goes out each Monday morning and visits places to paint outdoors like wineries. They are friendly in general, more women then men. It tends to be a not too competitive activity which can help to create a friendly atmosphere. People just arrive, set up and paint, then there is an informal critique of the paintings (oil, watercolor, whatever) -- you don't have to attend this or you can attend and just watch without showing your work.

I run a lot in the park and sometimes talk to people informally. Better interaction then at work since there is no ulterior motive.

Also there is the dog option -- unconditional love and attention, especially around feeding time. You can discuss anything with them and they will just agree with a smile. Take 'em for a walk and you get some exercise too.

I think cats might work too.
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:28 AM   #16
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My husband was the first one to put that into words for me, and I have found it to be true. Since I love the outdoors, fixing things, solving problems, I have ended up with more, and longer-lasting, men friends than women friends...especially since I have reached the age when the men aren't muddying the waters by primarily looking at me as a potential source of sexual relations. I also get along well with gay men for some reason.
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I think the men may have reached the age where they are not pressing the matter, but IMO usually when men or women think "Oh, they just want to be friends" they do, but they would also like more if they are unattached anyway.

I mentioned to a woman friend at a dance that it was so nice to be able to make friends and enjoy dancing and not have it be sexual, and she said that "most of us would much rather get it too". She said we can get all the friendship we want from other women, so that isn't what we want you all for.


I think true hang out, call up, help type friendships are often not easy to form for older men. And, if these friends are female, your GF can get suspicious and threatened. I believe by far the best venue for all around friendships is church, if one's beliefs about that don't get in the way. Mine kind of do, but I am working on it.

Ha
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:42 AM   #17
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My solution when I have the need.
Dawg, I always wondered what people got out of going to bars. Now I know! Friends.

Actually even though I am an adult who has theoretically been around the block once or twice, I have never been to a bar alone. There's the fact that I don't drink, and then at some level it just doesn't seem "me". Pretty funny for someone who lives in New Orleans.

As for the gender difference that others were discussing, I guarantee you that I am 100% female and still manage to be an INTJ who loves her solitude. Luckily, I have plenty. Even though we spend every afternoon and early evening together, I get about the right amount of solitude alone at home the rest of the time. There is nothing more fun than having a big quiet house to myself and the freedom to do what I want. In retirement, I am having the time of my life.

Still, I can imagine that at some stage I might worry about dying at home and the ensuing headlines, "Mummified Woman Found Eight years After Death". The idea of that doesn't sit right with me and gives me the creeps. Right now that wouldn't happen because F. and I get together every day. But should he pass first, I would either have to have friends to check on me, or hire someone to do that now and then.
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:54 AM   #18
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Oh, I surely did not mean to imply that either the men, or I, are dead. I know better, even with my longest-standing male friends. Honestly I don't think people are ever dead "that way," even the ones who look half-dead Heck I am not even sure about entirely dead men! Show 'em a sexy young woman, and a resurrection might well occur!

But that whole sense of "we may be discussing cars or hiking, but I have to be careful what I say and how I act because I don't want to accidentally Give Him The Wrong Gosh-darn 'Signals' and have to disappoint him," is gone.

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I think the men may have reached the age where they are not pressing the matter, but IMO usually when men or women think "Oh, they just want to be friends" they do, but they would also like more if they are unattached anyway.

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Old 07-16-2011, 11:07 AM   #19
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Still, I can imagine that at some stage I might worry about dying at home and the ensuing headlines, "Mummified Woman Found Eight years After Death".
I see you keep up with current events:

Woman's Remains Found 8 Years After Death - Pennsylvania News Story - WGAL The Susquehanna Valley
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:12 AM   #20
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That's exactly what I meant, though I hadn't seen that particular story.
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