Sage Advice: Lonely Woman Wonders How to Make Friends

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Dear Amy: I am a 61-year-old woman, divorced for years. I have an adult daughter, and a small immediate family. Years ago, I had lots of friends. Some moved, some got married, a lot of them are very involved with their large families, etc.

Here I am – alone. I am a very active, friendly and interesting person. I have volunteered, gone to church, participated in meet-ups, taken classes, etc.

It is extremely hard to make new friends at this age and in this day.

The majority of people are into their own thing, do things with their families, have their own problems and are not responsive. I’ve tried everything. Someone told me to stop trying and it will happen. Nope, it doesn’t. I can’t believe that in a city as big as New York City, it’s so hard to make a friend with so many lonely people out there.

What do people in my shoes do? I need people in my life! Can you give me ideas?

– Lonely in New York City

Dear Lonely: Being a lonely woman in the big city is a theme that stretches from Edith Wharton to Nora Ephron. You’re not alone in being alone.

My main suggestion is that you should stay in one place long enough to establish yourself. This would be not only to meet people and make friends, but to also benefit personally from the activity.

Dipping in and out of groups, volunteering or going to church sporadically – this really makes you a moving target. And while it’s wise to try different things if something isn’t working, being consistent will put you on the radar of others who are also consistent. For instance, if you volunteer, take the same shifts for a period of time to see if you click with any other volunteers.

Checking in New York City, I see a huge variety of groups, including many advertised for the “young at heart” age group. You can join a book club, go bowling, play board games, go for hikes in the city or meet at a comedy club. You could also start a club devoted to a particular interest of yours – even if your interest is to meet for coffee and discuss the challenges of friendship.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

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