Stay Connected

It's healthy to hang out. Do any of these reasons sound familiar and keep you from socializing?

Photo: A group of friends smiling at camera.

Taking part in social activities is good for your mental and physical well-being. It's not always easy to do, though. What makes it difficult for you to stay social or make new connections? There may be a simple solution.

I don't know where to begin.
• Start with activities that match your interests, like lectures, cooking classes, game nights, or sports leagues. Check out community centers for events. (Find your town's center online at Places of worship offer a chance to meet people with similar values.

• Online dating has proven successful for many older adults. There are several websites
designed just for "mature singles." You can read self-descriptions of others in your age range, then send a message to spark up a conversation.

I feel best in a group.
• Check the bulletin board at your library, senior center, or grocery store for notices about group trips. You're likely to find outings to ball games, museums, outlet stores, concerts, and local gems you may not have visited in a while, like Longwood Gardens or The Franklin Institute.

• At free sites like, you can browse through activity groups in your area that match your interests—from Phillies fans to lovers of mystery fiction.

I'm looking for a situation that doesn't feel forced.
• Volunteer at a museum, hospital, animal shelter, or homeless center.

• Sign up for a class at a local college. You'll focus on learning but be surrounded by people with similar interests.

• Travel. Look for trips designed for solo travelers who are likeminded. Classic rock cruise?

I feel shy and awkward.
• Take small steps. Try going out alone, even if for just a little while.

• Go to a movie or a free lecture. This gets you out of the house. You never know: Someone sitting near you may break the ice.

• Consider joining a group that takes trips to galleries, sports events, historic locations, or the theater where the focus is more on the place or event.

It's physically challenging.
• If your mobility is limited, pick up the phone. Call a friend or relative you haven't spoken to in a while. Have a computer or a smartphone? With services such as Skype and FaceTime, you can make video calls like the Jetsons.


Taking part in activities should be fun, not stressful. It’s OK to ease into socializing.