Making New Friends as an Empty Nester Can Be Awkward

Making new friends as an empty nester can be awkward

Nobody ever told me that once you pass 50, a lot of your best friends get super-busy and it’s almost impossible to get together.

This was supposed to be the time of life when people are finished raising kids and have plenty of time to have fun and hang out. Right?

But it hasn’t worked that way.

A couple of my friends go on long trips several times a year with their husbands. And have grandchildren they spend a lot of time with.

Two really good friends moved to other states.

Another has a full-time job, a fiancée, rental properties and an aging mother that keeps her busy.

And my sister lives 700 miles away.

I want only the best for all of them, but that means sometimes when I want to do something on the weekend or a holiday nobody can “come out and play with me”!

What’s the solution?

When my son and his wife moved out of state to go to grad school, he joked that I could get a pet to take their place.  But I can’t get a dog because I’m always at work and out and about.

And online dating prospects look more and more bleak the older you get …

I’ve joined Girlfriend Social – a website that’s like online dating to meet platonic female friends — and that’s how I met a wonderful friend  who, unfortunately, moved last year — and several nice friends I meet for lunch regularly. But there are very few women registered on the site who live near my house.

I continue to do the things I’m interested in by joining Meetup groups, library book clubs and other activities. And I occasionally meet nice women there or through mutual friends  – made a great new friend when the mom of the man next door retired and moved to town and a new friend from the library book club, too. I even asked my doctor if she wanted to get together and we took a walk on the beach and had dinner afterwards one night and ending up laughing most of the evening!

Also made a great, fun new friend when I went on a women’s kayaking and hiking weekend in North Carolina through the local walking Meet-Up Group. We drove up and back together and realized we both like the same kinds of activities and are always looking for new adventures.

I swear, though,  it makes me feel like a grade schooler again to approach potential friends for the first time about getting together.

You can’t just smile hopefully and say, “Do you want to be my friend?”

And if you suggest doing something together too soon, you run the risk of the other person thinking you’re creepy and/or stalker-like.

But sometimes you only have one chance meeting and the opportunity is gone.

Even if you do mention getting together and exchange contact info, and the other person responds positively, if you don’t have all the confidence in the world you still sort of wonder, “Is she just being polite or does she really want to get together?”

It’s awkward.

I guess that’s what men feel like when they ask women for dates.

Only making new female friends as an empty nester is weird in a slightly different way.

Related blog posts:

Meetup Groups: A Great Way to Pursue Hobbies and Meet New People

Brave Women Go Places Alone

Finding Female Friends Online: Don’t Laugh — It Works!

Escape Rooms: A Unique and Challenging Way to Spend Time with Family and Friends

Fall Fun at a Women’s Adventure Weekend in Brevard, North Carolina

A Tribute to Amazing Women, Fabulous Females in My Life

Second Women’s Kayaking and Hiking Weekend in Brevard — Wonderful Except for the Near-Death Experience

How to Host a Fun Girlfriends Wreath-Making Party

Scammers are Ruining Over-50 Online Dating

Internet Dating Scams

Protect Yourself from Online Dating Scammers By Using Google Image Search

Bored with Life? The Ultimate Boredom Buster’s Guide

Weird Solo Travel Experiences

Host a Fun Girlfriends Wreath Making Party

Funny Friends: Laughter is the Best Medicine

Why I Love Solo Cruising

Cruisin’ Solo and Lovin’ It

Traveling Solo: Why I Love Princess Cruise Lines

Vacationing on Your Own: Pleasures and Perils of Solo Travel

Yoga Doesn’t Have to Be Dull: Amazingly Unique Yoga Classes

Aerial Yoga: A Fun and Uplifting Experience

Walking Clubs: A Great Way to Exercise, Enjoy the Outdoors, Meet People

Exotic Chair Dancing: Not Your Grandma’s Exercise Routine

Ping Pong: Not Ready for the Olympics

Polga (Pole Fitness and Yoga) Awesomeness








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25 Responses to Making New Friends as an Empty Nester Can Be Awkward

  1. Elisa says:

    Hi, Diane,

    That’s great you have the energy to look for stuff to do! I was really tired my last few years of work, and just wanted to veg on the couch after work and on weekends.

    I know what you mean, though. There’s so much more transience at our age than I ever expected. Lots of long vacations for people who can do it, LOTS of babysitting, and a lot of people caring for older relatives. I get together with other teacher retirees, but it’s not as often as I expected–one group about twice a year and one about 4 times a year. I see high school friends (since we’re still in town), but I don’t pick up the phone and call them either. I’ve had a lucky year because at one of my volunteer jobs, there’s a lady who comes the same day and we gab and laugh the whole time. Also, I took a little job as a tour guide at a museum close by, and it ended up 3 others in my training class were also from Oakmont! We car pool and laugh a lot. Grove City’s homecoming was Saturday. We are out 40 years! I was going to go because I figure 10 years from now I won’t want to, but our water heater broke that day, so we stayed home. The good thing about things being so transient now is you know they will change soon. We will probably both be driving millions of miles to babysit before we know it!

  2. Elisa says:

    I do spend a lot of time with my dog.

  3. Elisa says:


    Good luck with the weather.

  4. Rita Dixon says:

    If not for Meetup, I’d be a crazy person, especially as a new widow. But in the five years I have been active in groups, I have made some wonderful friends! Some had too much free time as single women, so I wasn’t able to spend much time with them since I was married. Others have the travel and/or grand baby thing going on, so I only see them on occasion. But with enough of them, you can strike a happy balance. And so many have been here for me when I needed them most – such as the group I’m spending next weekend with in the NC mountains!
    Enjoying your blog,,

    • blogqueendiane says:

      Thanks,Rita. Love your walking group and am looking forward to the weekend away– after we get through hurricane Matthew!!

  5. Elisa says:

    Hi, Diane,

    Thinking of you and hope things are going well with the storm. Take care.

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  7. Sue Bowden says:

    Hello from Calgary Canada!! Came across your post today as I was looking for something to do while my last child (older ones have gone) went out trick or treating. Stuck at home alone again. No husband (the last one ruined that one for me and now scared to look for a new one) and no career ( gave that up to raise kids). So bored and lonely. All those friends I had, cleaned house of the toxic ones. Surprised to find not to many left. Starting to wonder if anybody likes me anymore, spent my younger years thinking everyone liked me (ha). My friends used to call me the social butterfly. Now I don’t really leave the house much. Joined a few meetup groups but just don’t feel like I really fit it in. I know I could try find a job and try dating 😛
    Empty nest years is real and for me, lonely.

    Going to keep moving forward with a smile on my face though 🙂 Good thing I like my own company and my dog’s.
    Thanks for listening,
    Sue (54)

    • blogqueendiane says:

      Hi Sue-
      Thanks for stopping by! I agree,the Empty Nest years can be tough, and so can online dating. 🙂 If you like to read, maybe you can start or join a book club. There are tons of activities out there where you can meet other people, you just have to find them — and keep at it. I met two nice new friends the last couple months through group activities.

    • Joanne says:

      Hi Sue,

      I finally noticed someone like me lol.

    • Joanne says:

      Oh I also forgot I’m in Calgary too. Woot! ??

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  16. Paula says:

    Hi Sue
    I totally understand. I moved from Calgary when I met my now husband. I now live on his family farm outside of Innisfail. ( I lived in the area years ago).
    Moving back to the Red Deer area, I tried connecting with friends from the past however, as they say you can’t go back! Friends that would have been empty nesters are either raising grandkids, still attached by the hip to there now adult children or constantly chasing after them. Even being married makes it difficult to find outside friendships. I find that people simply don’t want to make the time. I started a Facebook group for our area for Empty Nesters. I hope it takes off.

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