You can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of really true friends that you’ve acquired over the years. These are people with whom you can share and exchange confidences. They’ll be friends during good and bad times. You can rely on them, and like you, they’ll go out of their way to help you when the need arises.

Continue to cultivate these friends. If you’ve been derelict in your contacts with them, then do something about it. If they live in your general area, you can arrange picnics, fishing trips, golf or other activities that you both enjoy. If they live in another area, plan a vacation together at some mutually-agreed-upon location or visit each other's homes. You’ve got lots of time available and the chances are that they’re in retirement as well.

People frequently live next to each other as neighbours and never get to know each other, except for a quick over-the-fence chat. While working, you both go your own way and have your own circle of friends and interests. There is a fear that if you get too close to your neighbours you’ll never have any privacy. With more time on your hands, you might want to reach out a little and get to know them a little better.

Remember that your close friends are probably about your age. That means some may move to other locations or, unfortunately, some may die, leaving a vacuum that you want to fill. You can never replace a close friend but you can attempt to widen your circle of contacts with the hope of meeting others with your interests and temperament. Age should not necessarily be a factor. Having friends who span a spectrum of ages will keep you in contact with the realities of what is going on in the world.

During your working career, you'll have a fairly wide network of relationships with associates at work and with people you’ve met in business clubs and associations. You may or may not have continuous contact with these people when you retire.

The loss of work-related friends should, of course, be offset by the discovery of new friends through leisure activity.

There are many ways to reach out and acquire new friends. Consider the following:

  • Joining organizations (such as, a photography group or other club of interest) can lead to new friends.
  • Participating in group sports, such as golf or curling and getting together at the theatre or dining clubs will expose you to new contacts.
  • Active participation in church or community affairs and volunteer groups can be rewarding.
  • Attending educational courses provided in your community will let you rub shoulders with people of all age levels.
  • Participating in politics, this can be challenging and rewarding.