Making friends might have seemed easy when you were a child.

Now, this simple and enjoyable task often becomes slightly complicated during middle age.

At a time when you usually have more freedom in your life, loneliness can easily creep in. Having people to share in your middle age joys and struggles is necessary for a fulfilled social life. But, making friends can be harder now that you’re older. Here’s a guide on how to make friends during this unique chapter of your life.

Rewrite Your Priority List

You’ve likely heard the advice that to have a friend you must be a friend. Have you ever heard that making friends needs to hold a top spot on your list of priorities?

It’s true that people don’t often make a significant effort to items low on their priority list. So, it’s up to you to place this “to-do” a top place in your life.

In doing this, you will keep your goal of making friends in the forefront of your mind. And, you will likely make a greater effort towards reaching out to others.

Travel Outside Your Comfort Zone

It’s easy to get involved in activities and events that fall right into your comfort zone. Not that doing this won’t gain you new friends, but it will set certain limits on your relationships.

Rather than sticking to the same old safety zone, try to challenge yourself. Get involved in things that promote closeness rather than just a fun activity.

For instance, join a group or club where you can share with each other your feelings and life experiences. Not only will this foster new and healthy friendships, but it will also enlarge your capacity for new adventures.

Make the First Move

Depending on your nature, you might have a tendency to sit back and let others come to you. While there’s nothing wrong with this strategy, it can be a little frustrating. Not to mention time-consuming, as you are always waiting for someone else to make the first move.

A better tactic is to reach out and invite people to join you for an activity like dinner or getting coffee. Of course, you’ll run the risk of possible rejection. In the end, though, making the effort will likely prove worthwhile.

Let Your Authentic Self Shine

Although now is the perfect time to try new things, remember that you need to be true to your core values, too.

Middle age is the time when you’re likely able to enjoy the fruit of all your hard work during previous years. Rather than trying to attract friends with all of your accomplishments, aim to engage them with your enthusiasm for a shared passion.

For instance, volunteer work is an opportune time to let your authentic self shine. You get to offer your talents and skills to help others. Plus, you get to do it side by side other people with your same focus.

Allow It Time to Flourish

Much like a romance, a friendship also takes a little time to brew. Although you both might sense a genuine connection, it’s important to nurture that connection and give it time to strengthen.

Also, trying a little too hard might mean becoming clingy or demanding right from the start. You don’t want to be contacting your possible new friend every few hours or you’ll come across the wrong way.

Furthermore, it’s tempting to compare a new friendship to one you’ve had for decades long, but avoid this temptation. A new relationship isn’t going to measure up to a weathered, long-term relationship. It’s best to nurture the new one and value it for its uniqueness.

If you’re hitting a few roadblocks as you try to build new friendships then please reach out to me. I’d be happy to help you overcome any obstacles that you face in your relationship building.