Home Perspectives Advice Making new friends is worth the effort

Making new friends is worth the effort


Dear Ella,
Watching my mother take care of my ill father has made me rethink my own life. My parents were always each other’s constant companions. They traveled and worked together, and had common hobbies. Now that dad is ill, mom is having difficulty finding people to spend time with.
I also find myself in a similar situation. I have been married for many years and my husband truly is my best friend. We have the same likes and dislikes and we enjoy each other’s company. Until now, we have not found it necessary to spend social time with just “the boys” or just “the ladies,” and we don’t have many friends to do this with. Our kids are grown and gone and we don’t want to fall into the same difficulties as my mother. We are both in our mid-50s. How, at this stage, do we start to make new friendships and connect with like-minded people?
Finding Friends

Dear Finding Friends,
As we mature, our needs and priorities change based on our current situation. You are learning through your mother’s experiences. If you are prepared to be proactive, you can enrich your lives through new experiences and friendships.
A great place to start is with an already established group, possibly through a synagogue. Most synagogues have all kinds of clubs, ranging from mah-jong and bridge, to traveling groups, book clubs, study groups, etc. If that’s not exactly your thing, you can join other clubs, such as walking or cooking groups, take a course on a hobby you enjoy, like art, photography, investment or anything that will get you out meeting new people.
For now, I think you and your hubby should split in your search for friends. If you take these courses or join clubs together, you may be tempted to stick to each other, which sends the wrong message to fellow members. You do need to step out of your comfort zone. Open up. Don’t just talk to people about safe stuff like the weather. Get personal. If you open up, you break barriers and others will reciprocate.
As the slogan says, “Just do it.”

Dear Ella,
I recently met a really nice guy at a dog park. We were both there exercising our animals and we just started talking and laughing. We left the park and walked our dogs to the nearby coffee shop and continued talking for a couple of hours. We’ve met a few more times, very casually.
I really like him, but there are some red flags. I don’t know if he is truly single. He says he is, but he’s constantly checking his messages and when I ask if it’s important or if it’s his work, he becomes almost nervous and says not to worry about it, then changes the subject.
I’m not sure if I’m just being paranoid. I’d sure like to pursue this, as we seem to click. What do you think?
Should I Take a Chance

Dear Should I Take a Chance,
You are getting close to a situation where your heart is leading you in one direction, but your head is saying “not so fast.”
Your gut instincts are formed from patterns you’ve identified from past experiences. Don’t ignore those feelings, but unless there is imminent danger, there is no need to turn and run just yet.
You need to do some investigation, followed by straight forward communication. See if you can find anything on your new friend on social media. Perhaps also check out dating sites. It’s all public info, so let your fingers do the work and do a thorough search where you can.
Ultimately, you will need to confront him with your thoughts and ask those hard questions about why he seems nervous to you. Be honest and don’t hold back. If you can save yourself time and aggravation while setting your mind at ease, I say, why not?