Expanding your network in middle age

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Che_Guitarra, Dec 8, 2016.

  1. Che_Guitarra

    Che_Guitarra Member

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    I'm not quite at middle age yet, but i'm certainly on the doorstep. Whether it be the demands of family, the pursuit of career, i'm noticing my social circle/network is slowly receding each year. Looking around, this seems quite common at my age... in teens and twenties it's easy to turn strangers into friends after a five minute conversation... closer to forty, nobody is looking for new friends.

    I've got a handful of close friends, a girlfriend and big family on both sides, but I feel like i'm in a bit of a social rut... same old faces, same old conversations. Nothing feels fresh. Just wondering how I can flip things around and start growing my network again?

    I'm working a reasonably solitary stop-gap job and share little common ground with anyone I work with. I have plenty of hobbies, but most of them wouldn't be described as team/group-based pursuits (guitar/music of course, woodworking, metalworking, electronics, car tinkering, reading).

    I'm not an extra-extravert who seeks to party, go to every new place in town, or go and get drunk at every opportunity. That said, i'm not an introvert either - I like meeting new people, I enjoy new company, I enjoy being exposed to new perspectives, I like having challenging conversations. But i'd also rather be discussing Sam Harris or Jordan Peterson, than the latest football results.


    So, how to expand your network in middle age?
     
  2. tedm

    tedm Gold Supporting Member

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    I'd try volunteering, library, neighborhood or school things, whatever interests you. It's work, but you'll meet people, keep busy, and find opportunities.
     
  3. circle_o_5ths

    circle_o_5ths Member

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    At your age people are settling down, having families and buying homes, along with their careers, they're busy. Any free time they have, they either want to spend with their immediate family, or relax, the energy to strike up new relationships just isn't there for them.
     
  4. GottaPracticeMore

    GottaPracticeMore Member

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    I wouldn't say 'nobody is looking for new friends'.

    I would encourage you to take the initiative. When I meet someone who is kind, has a good sense of humor and seems to perk up when I say hello, I think: 'That's a person I'd like to know better.'

    I then try to see if we have common interests & can do something together. Music is great for this.

    If it seems to click, I like to invite them over for a meal and have them meet my family.

    Age doesn't matter to me - my friends range from 20 to 84 years of age - all of them are outstanding individuals.

    It doesn't always work out, but my wife & I have developed some nice friendships with new people over the years, and we work hard to stay in touch with them & remember important events in their lives.

    Good luck - lots of great people out there happy to be friends with you. It will take a little initiative on yourepart to get the ball rolling.
     
  5. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    This topic is relevant to me, too, now. Especially so as I'm now less than 6 months from retirement. I know I'd like to audit some classes at a local university in the fall. Lots of retirees do it, also older folks seeking to add job skills, so that might be a cool way to meet new people with common interests.
     
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  6. MoPho

    MoPho Pho Shizzle Silver Supporting Member

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    Add a new hobby or two and immerse yourself in it. Cycling or hiking with a group. Health oriented stuff so I can get and keep fit. Volunteering sounds cool, too.
     
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  7. rjpilot

    rjpilot Member

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    I know exactly where youre coming from. Youre not quite old enough for bingo but too old for the club/bar scene. Start a band man. This is TGP, what kind of advice were you expecting?;) I think the worst thing you could do is try too hard to make friends. Just do what you do and let the cards fall. At some point you are going to get older and lose touch with friends. It happens. You can't be a swinging 20-something forever. Take the opportunity to reunite with your friends when you can and try to live a fulfilling life all your own. Try not to rely on external things to feel whole. Hang with your family. I dunno...I'm babbling.

    Be happy with what you are and who you are and just let things fall into place.
     
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  8. rjpilot

    rjpilot Member

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    Oh I almost forgot...
    There's always the Villages.:)
     
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  9. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    This is typical.

    As we age, we tend to circle the wagons socially. Lots of reasons for it. You are quite observant to notice and do something about it.
     
  10. Che_Guitarra

    Che_Guitarra Member

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    Honestly, i'm not sure I have room for any more hobbies. I've built every amp I use from scratch, i've built most of the pieces of studio gear from scratch... Princetons, Deluxe Reverbs, Neve 1084 clones, LA-2As, 1176s, U87s... don't get me started on my guitar builds. I also actively maintain and fix every problem on my car (a 20yo BMW), and every other car i've ever owned... from rust spots to head gaskets to motor replacements. And I DIY all my household needs. I cook from scratch every other night. I go for long hikes or go camping with the missus when I manage a couple of days off in a row. And try to go fishing with the nephew ever other weekend.

    I also read (and listen to podcasts) constantly, and educate myself constantly. I'd much rather discuss the erosion of western democracy's idealogical metaphysical underpinnings toward a marxism bias, than discuss who the winning goal kicked on the weekend. But the latter is all I have on offer in my social circles. Could I fit in an origami or yoga class between all this? Or volunteering? Sure. But I don't live in a big American city - I live in blue collar Australia. My options for getting 'out there' aren't as varied. And I work/commute 60-hours a week across six days.

    This all said, I still want a wider scope of interaction in my life. I'm a little bit scared if reduction is the only option from here.



    Oh well, that's my rant for the day. Apologies to my lovely girlfriend if she ever reads this, but at this rate i'm going to die of boredom, not of some horrible disease like everyone else. At least if my network is bigger, I can complain about this inevitability to a wider base.
     
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  11. The Captain

    The Captain Supporting Member

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    I don't know, but if you find out, can you let me know. I have the same issues, but much worse as I'm over 50, and people my age bore me, younger people have their own friends, I don't drink alcohol much, don't have children and don't care about football or other sports.
    We would probably be friends, but several thousand kilometres separate us. If I'm flying that far, I would rather be in LA.
     
  12. AZChilicat

    AZChilicat Member

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    I think just being places and having a good time tends to attract new friends. For example last Friday night we were at one of our favorite venues with another couple just sitting at the bar and having a good time. After we'd been there for over an hour a couple sat down next to us and I started a conversation with them. Turns out they live five minutes from us, have a few common interests (wine being one and this venue has a great wine list which is basically why we were all there,) and are now planning to spend NYE with a group of us at that venue.

    People want to be around people enjoying themselves. I hope I never stop making new friends.
     
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  13. Stu Cats

    Stu Cats Member

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  14. Yer Blues

    Yer Blues Member

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    I wouldn't call my self a social butterfly, but in my mid 30s I have more friends/acquaintances of all ages than I did in my 20s. I think part of the reason is I've mellowed with age.... these days I won't totally write someone off just because they listen to Nickleback. :idea
     
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  15. jimijimmyjeffy

    jimijimmyjeffy Member

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    In the same boat. There is literally nobody in the town I live in that is remotely close to my set of interests. Young people just see my age and are done with me. Old people around here have no interesting interests -- cars, guns, sports, bro country. My fate here is seemingly to die alone, even though I spent my whole life cultivating what I thought was an interesting and wide set of broad minded interests, to become an "interesting person".

    That ended up separating me from people, ironically. I'd be much better off just being into guns and football or NASCAR, or having no interests other than raising a family and PTA meetings/church. To me those things are uninteresting, though, and therefore friends are scarce.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2016
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  16. a1briz

    a1briz Silver Supporting Member

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    Any kids? Seems like most of my new friends come from meeting the parents of my kid's friends. Not all of them are my cup of tea, but some are really down to earth and more my style. These we form friendships with.
     
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  17. 7thString

    7thString Member

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    We need more people like you in blue collar WA mate! I cant offer much advice; I often feel similarly to how you have described. I'd say lets hang and talk politics / philosophy or whatever but I'm currently stuck in London dying of boredom and poor weather. All the best
     
  18. lostpoet2

    lostpoet2 Supporting Member

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    The easiest way is with some sort of wireless access point, but you can also re-configure an old wireless router to do the same thing. ;)
     
  19. rizla

    rizla Member

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    yeah, it just gets lonelier and lonelier.
    Then you die.
    Alone.
    And no one notices for weeks.
    Its the growing pile of junk mail that gives it away in the end. Nothing else.


    What you can do is broaden your interests. Forget about your own interests taking 1st place for a while. Take interest in what people around you do.
    Theyll open up to you.
    Like a can of worms sometimes. Theyre just as lonely and crazy as you.
    Be friendly and interested in people. The types of people you might have not gone out of your way to associate with when you were younger, maybe they didnt seem cool enough or wouldnt fit in with your circle of friends etc, often when you get older are the coolest people you could hope to meet.
    I learnt late in life that I had been missing out on meeting interesting people by limiting my preferences.
    Making friends is not about your key interests lining up. Its all the other important things.
     
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  20. sundog964

    sundog964 Supporting Member

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    Your hobbies are all individual activities. Except for playing to an audience. I did it by sports with groups, waterskiing, son skiing, soccer. All with great groups of people I still hang with. Work usually isn't a great source of friends. Try darts, bike riding, hiking, pub trivia all ways to meet people. Cooking classes, or something your girlfriend wants to do. What kind of people do you like to hang with? What are their activities.
     
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