The Buddy System

Matthew Solan is the executive editor of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. Recently, he and Howard LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor at Harvard Health Publishing, produced a piece examining how friendships can help you stay socially active, the health benefits of this, and how to make new friends while maintaining old ones. This can be a challenge for everyone, though compared with women, men especially struggle with making and keeping friends as they age. The full article can be read at Harvard Health, but three good places to start to get your friend journey on the right track include:

  • Get into group dynamics. Join a group activity, such as a walking club; a golf or bowling league; a card, book or chess club; or a continuing-education class at an adult education center. Or ask a current friend to join you so you both can expand your friend circle.
  • Schedule time together. If you already have friends but don’t see them regularly, take the initiative and schedule a set time for get-togethers. Choose a designated day, time and place for coffee or lunch, ideally a setting designed for easy conversation. Begin with a weekly or every-other-week schedule to help everyone ease into the new outing without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Work on a project. Another way to stay connected with existing friends and meet new ones is to launch a group project. Schwartz knows of a group of retired fishermen from Gloucester, Massachusetts, who, once they retired, decided to build a boat together.