In his book, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, John Maxwell says that you cannot connect with others if you are unwilling to get off your own agenda. This is so true if you want to build lasting relationships at your new retirement home. The environment may not be what you are used to. You may not even know anyone.
However, with some insider tips, you can quickly start to make friends easily. It may be a trifle daunting at first, but once you get into the rhythm, you will be making new friends in no time. There are a number of tips you can apply to connect with as many people as possible. Here are just a few of them.
1. Attend Orientation and Welcome Events
Moving into a retirement home can be an intimidating experience, especially if you are introverted. While you may be tempted to retreat into your suite, you won’t make friends that way. Instead, attend welcome events and get to meet other residents.
Grab any opportunity you get to connect with the staff during these events. They are there to help you get comfortable and integrated into your new community. Ask them questions such as: “Is there someone here who is interested in ….? What are the most popular meeting places?” Asking questions is the quickest way to get help.
2. Do a Bit of Exploration
Rather than lock yourself in your room, take a slow walk around your new residence. While at it, smile and stop to introduce yourself to those that you meet. Most likely they are also looking to connect with new people.
Watch TV shows in the TV lounge rather than watching them from your room. Attend movie nights and other residence events as these provide some of the best chances to connect with others. The more you interact with others, the more likely you will make new friends.
3. Be Active
Your retirement home is likely to feature a wide range of activities. Most of these are targeted at encouraging residents to live out their passions and interests. When you are involved in an activity you are passionate about, you are more likely to feel more alive than you have ever been.
In fact, a lot of people report being busier at a retirement home than they have ever been in their lives. This is perhaps because they can at last pursue their interests and passions without having to worry about the daily grind of eking out a living and supporting a family.
4. Find Common Ground
When you meet people with interests and passions such as yours, you will immediately establish common ground. Nothing fuels friendship faster than discovering areas of common interest with others.
For instance, if you love painting, you are likely to quickly make friends with others who love painting. Your challenge at a new retirement home is to look for places and events where residents who are passionate about what you are passionate about meet.
Once you discover these areas of common interest with others, chances are that you will instantly connect with them.
5. Participate in Outings
Many retirement homes provide regular bus trips to take residents for shopping and visits various attractions. In as much as is it is practical, don’t be left behind. Such events provide opportunities to connect with a few extra friends. For instance, sitting on a bus next to someone you don’t know provides you with an opportunity to make a new friend.
When sitting next to someone on a bus, it is almost impossible to avoid a conversation. Introduce yourself and ask about how they are doing. Talk about the trip and ask if they have been to wherever you are visiting before.
Making new friends is not just about talking to them. You really never communicate until you connect.