Time with Others: Now and in Retirement

Your job structures your time whether you like it or not. When you’re fully retired, you have about 1,800 hours a year that could be vacant time. As well, you may be cut off from your former daily contacts with people you’ve known for years. You have to re-examine your strategies in your social relationships with others.

There are obviously different sets of circumstances for those who never married, who are divorced or who are widowed. However, the relationships with family, relatives, friends, neighbours, and associates apply to the person who lives alone. Who do you spend time with today and how will this change in retirement? What about fifteen years into retirement?

Friendship Checklist

As you consider your social network in retirement, it might be helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there someone I can call when I want some company to do an activity I enjoy?
  • Do I have someone who is close with whom I can confide? Do I see that person often enough so that he or she knows what is going on in my life?
  • Do I have at least some friendships that are "equal" in which I don't think I’m receiving more than I’m able to give?
  • Am I able to develop new friends when others are lost because people move away, become ill or die?
  • Do I see enough of my friends?
  • Do I see too much of some friends?
  • If I were to move to a new location tomorrow, whom would I miss the most? What aspects of that friendship gave me pleasure? What can I do to try to replace it?

You should take the time while you’re still at work to foster relationships so that when retirement comes you won't feel left out. You may also want to consider your responsibilities to aging or ill parents who might become dependent upon you. How will you handle the situation? Giving thought to it now might prevent some very inadequate arrangements as you approach or move into retirement.