Expand Your Social Circle by Reaching Out brought to you by contemporary retirement coaching

If you're an introvert, you may be looking forward to retirement as a time when you won't have to deal with 'people' and can spend your days either by yourself or with a small, select group of friends and family that you like to be around.

If that sounds like you, you're probably anticipating spending your time engaged in a range of. mainly, solitary activities such as reading, crafting and gardening.

A word to the wise, however. Don't burn all your bridges as far as social activities are concerned. Although solitude might be your idea of absolute bliss, it's not good (and somewhat short-sighted) to completely cut yourself off from the company of others.

If you have a list of people you can call when you want a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on, it makes life a whole lot easier.

Life is even more fulfilling when you have special people with whom you can share victories and create cherished memories.

Consider these ideas about how to establish and keep contact with others to maintain an active support system:

1. Make the effort to talk to two people in your family each week. Whether you’re communicating with a brother, sister, or an extended family member, make a personal decision to phone or visit two family members per week.

Why? Because family members are often our biggest sources of social support. Consider people in your family as part of your social network.

You could also meet your new best friend through your aunt or brother. Your relatives have neighbours, friends, co-workers, and various other types of acquaintances you might meet when paying them a visit.

2. Keep steady “real time” contact with your good friends. Have you noticed your phone and face-to-face time with old friends has decreased since the advent of email, Facebook, and the like? Make the extra effort to schedule lunch or an outing together, or even extend an invitation to them to just come over to your house and hang out together.

If you want to keep in contact with a few workmates that you're particularly friendly with, you may be surprised how quickly people move on when they no longer see you every day! If you want to remain in contact with ex-colleagues, you need to be prepared to do most of the work involved in staying in touch yourself - even when it feels like you're the only one making the phone calls and suggesting the meet-ups!

3. Join a club or organized group to share a hobby you love. You’ve probably heard this suggestion before. You might even think, “I’m just not a ‘club’ sort of person.” But if you’re looking to expand your social contacts, why not try joining a local group of like-minded people?

Consider that you’ll also expand your skills and experiences in the hobby by joining with others to practice your activity of choice. For example, if you love to read, join a book discussion group at your local bookstore.

If you feel uncomfortable, you can choose not to speak much during the group. Just listen to others and think about what they say - and then chat to them about it later on a one-to-one basis. The point is that you expand your social circle with those who enjoy taking part in the same activity that you like to do. You already know you’ll have something in common with the participants.

4. Tune in to your neighbours. You wouldn’t be the first person who took his or her neighbours for granted. However, you might be living near some very fascinating and friendly people. Why not take advantage of it? If you haven’t already, introduce yourself to your neighbours when you see them outdoors. Offer to help them carry in groceries or to take in parcels and deliveries for them if they're out at work all day. If you have time on your hands and they have a dog that's left alone all day, offer to walk it for them - your neighbours will love you, you'll make a new doggy friend and you'll get daily exercise thrown in. You might meet other dog walkers you can become friendly with at the same time!

Make an effort to notice your neighbours – their activities, comings and goings, and interests. You never know, someone who shares your love for golf, jogging, or sailing might live right nearby. And you’ll be comforted by the fact that should you need something or simply want to visit with someone, they’re just outside your door.

The human condition can, at times, trigger feelings of loneliness and isolation. But you can do plenty of things to overcome or even banish those feelings from your life.

Keeping weekly contact with family members, having more talks and visits with friends, joining organized groups, and taking notice of your neighbours are ways to expand and maintain a supportive social network. Commit to continue to reach out to others. You’ll both enjoy it!

This short guide was brought to you by Ann Harrison and Contemporary Retirement Coaching.

Created By
Ann Harrison
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Credits:

Created with images by skeeze - "clasped hands comfort hands" • Happy Mermaid - "Old Friends" • TheArches - "Govanhill photoshoot at the Arches, Glasgow: Laughing" • insidious_plots - "Coffee for Wesley and I in my new birthday cups! :)" • Wedding Photography by Jon Day - "Helen + Sam" • francisco_osorio - "FR Society 10: Lunch break in Paris" • summonedbyfells - "MEMBERS OF THE BACKPACKERS CLUB" • danxoneil - "Gapers Block Book Club: Water for Elephants" • mike_waz - "Old Friends" • penelope waits - "thanks, friendly neighbours!" • Annabelle Orozco - "Old friends"

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