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It seems like going on the internet has become the norm for forming new relationships and finding new friends. We here at MatureRomantic still believe that nothing is more invigorating than in-person meetings and “live” friendships. BUT virtual friendships have their place and can lead to rewarding online or offline connection with other seniors.
It seems like going on the internet has become the norm for forming new relationships and finding new friends. We here at MatureRomantic still believe that nothing is more invigorating than in-person meetings and “live” friendships.
BUT virtual friendships have their place and can lead to rewarding online or offline connection with other seniors.
This begs the question, “Can past generations participate in this new form of community building?”
Fortunately, the world wide web can easily include them through virtual hobby spaces and communities.
There are now platforms and avenues for the older members of our communities to create new and lasting bonds with others, even in this digital social relation environment.
Here’s everything you need to know about forming virtual friendships for adults in their old age.
Understanding Virtual Friendships for Seniors
Growing older shouldn’t stop you from forming new connections with other people. The importance of senior friendships has shown many positive effects on mental health, wellness, and life overall.
Here’s a look into how forming a friendship has changed and how you can make the most of it today.
Defining Virtual Friendships
Humans are social beings. Ever since the pandemic and social distancing, people have resorted to going online to fight loneliness. While this is popular with the younger generations, more and more platforms have opened up to older people.
Many platforms are available to help you reach people locally and worldwide.
These virtual relationships heavily rely on how you communicate with someone and how much effort you’re willing to put into getting to know someone based on your conversations.
The Benefits of Virtual Friendships for Seniors
With the changing landscape of relationships, turning to technology has dramatically helped people of all ages, especially older adults.
Research shows that even older people can benefit from these virtual communities and connections.
Some of the benefits of virtual friendships for seniors are:
- It provides them with a sense of hope that they can create new bonds with like-minded people.
- It’s accessible to everyone, especially those who can’t leave their house.
- You can connect with anyone from any country.
- With their positive impact on mental health, studies show that a person can live longer if they’re surrounded by positive relationships.
The Challenges of Making Friends Online for Older Adults
While finding virtual friends can be a great way to connect with others, it still has its challenges.
However, with the right strategies for maintaining online friendships and by practicing caution, any person can safely find friends online.
Some of the most common challenges of making friends online for older people include:
- Using technology and social media can be a challenge for some seniors.
- There’s always a risk of meeting the wrong people.
- Risk of hacking, fraud, and other cybercrimes.
Tips on How to Make Friends Online for Seniors
Using the internet and apps to make friends can be pretty intimidating, especially for older adults.
I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be complicated. You can find a friend or a group you can have fun and feel comfortable with online if you’re open to this new form of communication.
Here are a few tips to try to start forming meaningful connections with others. Some are free senior friendship sites. And others may require a small membership fee.
Choosing the Right Platform for Your Interests
The first thing to do when finding a friend on the internet is to look through available platforms.
You can try a social media platform where you can find virtual interest groups.
If you’re more into writing lengthy pieces about your passions and having a discussion with other people in the community, you might enjoy online forums like Reddit.
Finding the right platform isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. You’ll have to try them out and assess if the communities suit you.
If you’re looking to step out of mainstream platforms, you may have to do additional research on what other people have to say about these apps and their verification methods to ensure you’re chatting with a legitimate person.
Creating a Compelling and Honest Profile
Writing a profile is vital; it will inform people’s first impression of you, so you’d want to make it right.
Being honest about your profile benefits you and potential new friends by giving them an idea of who you are.
Tell them a bit about your life, like jobs in the past or previous travel experiences. You can also tell them about specific passions, like books, movies, and series.
These are great talking points you can circle back to once you chat with them.
An honest and compelling profile can encourage like-minded people to get to know you.
Engaging in Online Activities and Groups
Studies show that simply reading through social media can be more harmful than helpful to your mental health. Instead of connecting with people, you might end up more isolated than before you started.
Participate and interact with other members of the community, especially if you’re on a platform like Facebook.
Join a group that you can easily relate to so you’re more likely to post messages and comment on other people’s posts.
Try to engage on a regular basis to have a more positive experience. Also, be open to chatting with new people interested in getting to know you.
The more you join in discussions, the higher your chances of finding people with the same interests. That said, don’t sound too needy when interacting. Know your limits and respect others while engaging them.
Practicing Online Safety and Privacy
It’s normal to share things about you when you make friends, whether through the internet or in real life.
However, platforms can’t guarantee your safety. While they have rules in place, it’s still possible to encounter suspicious people on the internet.
You have to make an active effort to maintain your safety and privacy while participating on these platforms.
Let people know something about you, but NEVER overshare. Don’t be afraid to click the report button if a user makes you uncomfortable.
If you plan to meet new people face-to-face, inform your closest friends and family members about them.
Top Platforms and Programs for Building Virtual Friendships for Seniors
You can easily explore the best apps for seniors with a tap or a click. They’re more accessible nowadays, especially with how easy they are to navigate.
Try out these platforms and programs to start connecting with other people.
Meetup is a website that can help you arrange activities and physical meetups with local groups. It’s a great stepping stone to finding friends you can meet in real life.
You can look for people online with similar interests who want to try out fun activities.
If you meet a local group, you can join classes or do activities together and share your hobbies. It’s a great way to build a community. If you’re an assertive self-starter, you might even consider setting up your very own Meetup group or outing, and think of it as your own senior citizen friendship club.
Many have also shifted to more online meetings, like Zoom, especially after the pandemic. You can arrange a video call with your new friends and share your passions further.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform used by people of all ages to interact around the world.
You can easily find a group or community you can join based on similar interests, passions, and ages. You can participate in their discussions by commenting on posts and interacting with the community.
You might even find a group with a specific taste in music or one where people share recipes you can try.
The app also has some of the most used chat options that allow you to talk to people for free.
Try to discover and join the best Facebook groups for seniors to get to know new friends you can keep for life.
Amintro is another app famous for building communities for older people. It helps you reach out to new friends you can engage with.
It’s a fun way for most people to find a group with similar experiences and passions.
They can also arrange meetups with local people to help you get out of your homes and meet people in real life.
This app focuses more on helping you find friends than dates, so you’re less likely to encounter any harassment on this site.
Instagram focuses heavily on pictures and short videos.
While it seems unlikely for a senior to hang out in this space, Instagram is a great place to find people with the same passions through these images and videos.
If you’re interested in 70s and 80s music, you can easily find people who post short videos of these artists. Its comments section is filled with people discussing them.
If you’re interested in books, Instagram has its own book club or Bookstagram, where you can find great recommendations under their tags.
You can also chat with the other users for a more in-depth discussion on these passions.
While most people on Instagram can be young, you’ll find the occasional senior there, creatively sharing their adventures and passions.
Senior-Focused Online Communities
Apart from the previous platforms, it’s also easy to find online forums and discussion groups more focused on older adults.
These virtual clubs can target specific passions, which serve as the basis for the relationships you’ll be forming.
Try to join communities that require verification, so you won’t be at risk of interacting with people of younger ages. It also helps keep everything curated according to what’s appropriate for your age.
Virtual Activities and Groups for Seniors to Connect with Others
Finding people with common interests is essential for any friendship. Even if you go virtual, you can still do activities you would typically do outdoors.
While interactions may seem limited, they can’t stop you from talking and getting to know a new friend.
Here are a few virtual activities you can try to help find people with the same interests.
Online Book Clubs
If you’re into reading, there are plenty of online book clubs you can try. Many people join this community to discuss their favorite books or get book recommendations.
The book community is very active on the internet, especially on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Different groups exist for specific genres, authors, and even writing books!
If the book club you join is local, you might also encounter options to meet up at a cafe or park for a book event. It can be a stepping stone to meeting someone in real life.
Virtual Hobbies and Learning Groups
Nowadays, it’s common to find people through virtual hobbies.
You can join groups to experience exercise classes or learn to knit. The subjects of these learning groups are virtually endless, given what you can pick up at your age.
These platforms are great for people who are looking for something new to try while forming bonds with other people around the world.
Live Streaming and Video-Sharing Platforms
Live streaming and video-sharing platforms are popular for all ages. A host would usually speak about a specific topic while the viewers interact through the comments section.
There are also platforms available for older adults to interact with a larger group of people.
Online Volunteering and Support Groups
Many groups focus on volunteering to care for each other or the community.
Suppose you’re interested in providing emotional support to a fellow senior or have a passion for making a change in your local area. In that case, you can try joining a group that matches your values.
You can make a difference while finding friends along the way.
Frequently Asked Questions
You might have more questions about virtual friendships for older adults.
I’ve gathered the most common ones to help you with your research.
What Are the Best Apps for Seniors to Make Online Friends?
Besides mainstream social media like Facebook and Instagram, many websites and platforms help you form relationships with people.
You can try apps like Amintro and Meetup to find people with the same passions.
You could also check out stitch.net and silversurfers.com for more serious relationships.
How Do I Stay Safe When Making Friends Online?
Know what information you should and shouldn’t share on the internet.
For example, you can state that you’re from San Francisco, California, to help connect with local adults. However, NEVER provide anything more specific, like street names or specific blocks.
If you plan on meeting someone you’ve met on the Internet, do it in a public place like a park or a restaurant. Only meet if you feel like you know them enough.
Inform a friend or a family member about your meet-up. Give essential details, like where you’re meeting your friend, the time, and even how to contact this person if needed.
Can I Form Meaningful Friendships Through Virtual Connections?
It depends on how willing you are to invest in others, as even if you’re chatting and interacting virtually, at the end of the day, you’re still chatting with real people.
If you’re open to getting to know these people and working on the relationship, then it should be the same as any friendship you form in real life.
How Can I Ensure That an Online Community Is Right for Me?
There’s no perfect community, even on the internet.
Try to see if it’s a safe space that supports everyone regardless of background. They should help you feel safe and confident to put yourself out there and meet new people.
The site should also have a way to report posts and people who are suspicious or make you uncomfortable.
Stay open and be willing to learn, especially with how different these communities can be.
What Should I Include in My Online Profile to Attract Like-Minded Friends?
List down your passions and include what you like.
Try to keep it simple, like your favorite books, music, and what you like to do in your free time.
Your profile should give a little background about yourself, enough to give people conversation topics with you.
A Final Thought…
Thanks to the internet and technology, you can still find friends from the safety of your home.
Just be open to these relationships and take the time to get to know other people.