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How to Build Strong Friendships in Your Senior Years

One of the loveliest things about aging is the wisdom you gain along the way. But remember, wisdom isn’t just about knowing things. It’s also about recognizing when you need to learn something new. We make friends throughout our lives, but in our senior years, it’s not quite as simple as running up to a new kid on the playground and asking if they’d like to play. Scroll down to learn how to build strong friendships in your senior years.

How to Build Strong Friendships


Though it sounds simple, truly listening actually takes a lot of effort. Pay attention to what your friend is saying. Maintain eye contact. Ask follow-up questions. Communication is the foundation of a good friendship, and you can’t really communicate if you aren’t willing to listen closely.

Be vulnerable.

The best way to transform an acquaintance into a close friend is to open up to them. When the timing feels right, start sharing more of your life and opinions — not just your thoughts on the weather or your latest sitcom obsession. Tell them about a difficult time in your life. Ask for advice if you’re having family issues. Share a memory that really shaped who you are as a person. Your friend may feel inspired to open up in turn — and if they don’t, you can gently push them to share more by asking questions.

Don’t try to fix all their problems.

Sometimes a friend really wants specific advice, but often, they’re simply sharing something that they’re struggling with. Instead of trying to fix every problem they mention, remember that it’s usually more important to listen and sympathize. Remind them that you’re there by their side and you’ll support them however they need.

Express your gratitude.

Let your friends know how much they mean to you. Spend a little time thinking about the value they add to your life, and then share your thoughts. If the idea of saying these things aloud is overwhelming or nerve-racking, remember that you could always write a note instead. Or, show you care by making a small gesture. Give them a call and let them know you miss them. If you see a book you know they’d love, buy them a copy. The little things matter!

Make time for your friends.

You need to nurture a friendship if you want it to thrive. One of the keys is simply showing up. Make time for your friends. Look at your calendar, and schedule your next hang-out if you haven’t already. If you don’t interact with someone on a regular basis — especially if they’re a new friend and the relationship is fragile — the friendship may fall apart. Consistent interaction is essential.

Focus on the positive.

Why do you like hanging out with your friends? Chances are, it’s because they make you feel happy. Maybe you cherish their sense of humor, their kindness, or their support. If you want your friend to feel good around you too, make sure that you’re bringing positive vibes to your interactions. Along with consistency and vulnerability, positivity is one of the three primary components of a healthy friendship, according to friendship expert Shasta Nelson. So, look for ways to make your friend smile!


Like all relationships, friendships take work, especially when you don’t see each other at school or work every day. But if you make the effort to learn how to build strong friendships, we promise that you’ll be pleased with the results. After all, you can never have too many friends!

Are you looking for an assisted living community in Tennessee? Check out Hearthside Senior Living in Collierville and Bartlett. Our warm and inviting communities make it easy for seniors to embrace a healthy lifestyle with home-cooked and restaurant-style meals, exercise classes, and a nurse devoted to residents’ health and wellness. We would be happy to schedule a tour for you so that you can explore the community, speak with the Community Director, meet some of the residents, and ask any questions you might have. To learn more about our amenities and services, please call 901-266-3329 (Bartlett) or 901-854-6590 (Collierville). We look forward to meeting you!

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