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How to become in social activities in a group of people you don't know

Community Member

I am in my 60s and been retired for a few years.

i have joined a couple of organisation for people of similar age, but I just don't seem to fit in, they all seem to be already in groups and I am finding it hard to mix.

the organisations do outings, talks, lunches etc but I always seem to be the odd one out, eg on last bus tour I sat myself or I tried to join a table for lunch they said they were waiting for someone but no one appeared

i am one of those people who doesn't really talk about their personal life to people they don't know ie I don't give my life history to someone I don't know.

i was involved in 1 organisation on the committee for 6 years but still felt left out as others always seemed to get on better

i have a problem telling everyone my life story till I know them well it stems from childhood my father was a soldier and was a way a lot and we were always told tell people nothing about what he or family did.

i want to become involved in social activities.

5 Replies 5

Spl spl
Community Member

Hi contrarymary,

Thank you for reaching out here on the forums.

Having trouble mixing with a group of people is such a relatable problem, and I really feel for you. Despite having troubles, you have still put yourself put there and have joined some organisations. That's great, you have already made a start.

I might offer some ideas of what to do, if that's alright:

• Finding another person who is also the odd one out in the group and making friends with them. I understand this really depends on the group.

• Joining one of these organisations with someone else you already know, like a friend or family member. It can be easier to start conversations with two people.

• This is odd advice, but talking to strangers, or people you know you will not see again can help develop your confidence. It also can help you get on with a wider variety of people, especially since nobody spills their life story to a stranger. You may find what interests you have in common or ask questions instead. I held a stall in the past and this helped me get out there more.

Being slow to tell your life story is very understandable. Its okay to feel that way. Its also 100% okay to go at your own pace, and open yourself up in your own time. In conversations, its natural to want to feel comfortable and want the other person to feel comfortable too. If you are way too anxious, or too uncomfortable being out of your comfort zone, it's not enjoyable for anyone. Its okay to take it easy. Don't be afraid of a little awkwardness, it happens to everyone.

For telling your life story, again as I said, please do so at your own comfort level. Still, it can help to have a few things about you that you are comfortable sharing about, things that are not so deep. It may take some time or brainstorming to think of some, but I think that may help.

You may be able to remember some times when you could get on with someone in the past, and what you talked about with them. Other things to talk about may be things like pets, your hobbies, or your past travels.

If this creates too much anxiety for you, or you still have some issues, it might be good to try going online for a change and finding groups that way. You say it takes time for you to open up, but here you have already opened up a little bit. I believe some people have an easier time online, or find things easier in one-on-one conversations. Its okay to start with one of those, and bring that relationship to a group setting.

I wish you all the best ♡

Learn to Fly
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello contrarymary,

Thank you for your post and a very warm welcome to the forum.

I am similar so I think I know what you mean and how you feel about socialising with others.
I think I used to care more but now I am just happy and content with a few friends, though, really good ones. Those are the ones I feel comfortable with and eventually we do talk about what’s been happening in our lives but most of the stuff we talk about are our common interests. I find them far more exciting than my own life, to be frank.
It’s good to come to terms with your own self and accept the person you are, don’t try to force anything on yourself. Try but if it doesn’t work, then maybe try somewhere else. Giving yourself opportunities to meet others is great as eventually you might meet this one or two people who will fit the profile. You are not alone. There are more like us out there.

Community Member

Hi contrarymary,

Joining groups can be tricky, especially in our 60s... everyone seems to have already made their friendship group I find!

Can I ask whether you are in a regional centre or city? I think towns are trickier as people have often known each other for a long time. I moved to a regional centre in time for covid lockdowns, but even now that's almost over it's tough going - much tougher than I thought it would be. I'm in your age group, and the women are pretty closed off here.

I understand about not saying much about your personal life to people you don't know well.

I do go on several online forums and chat with people I know, which is a great help. I also think rather than just social outings things like talks or book groups or a sporting interest of some kind are probably a bit easier as it's not just small talk to strangers but a shared interest. It's still darn hard though!

I have decided to just aim at casual aquaintances for the time being - that is staff at the library I meet each time I go there, so now we have nice chats and it's quite friendly - and I have a small dog and found the local dog park is full of people who go there alone and are happy to have a friendly chat with other people while our dogs play.

I do aim at having just a couple of good friends at this stage in life, rather than a large circle of friends - it's just too hard to break in at this stage!

So you're not alone and it's not you - it definitely is harder to make friends at this time of life and people are not as friendly as they used to be - and everyone travels by car, so it's very insular.

What about any interests you might have where you could join up with people with the same interest? Or places where you could at least get chatting such as I do with the library, the staff at the chemist I go to, the dog park, a cafe you often go to? It's not the same as a close friendship, but it helps with loneliness just to know there are people you know to talk to sometimes..

Happy to chat some more...

I live in a metro area, we adopted a greyhound a few months ago and this has helped in speaking to people as people are interested in finding out about the dog

i signed up for a 5 week course on local history there are 45 in the class been for 2 weeks now and at the tea break I make the effort and speak to someone about the local area, this week I am going to offer to help put the tea things out and can hopefully get a conversation going.

the local bowling club is having an open day on Sunday so I am going along with my husband and have a look.

Hi contrary Mary,

i have a puppy as well and found that really helped me with breaking the ice too and talking to people. Dog parks are always good too because you usually get the same people from the neighbourhood go there and are pretty friendly and chatty. Good job on signing up for the history course as well. I started doing these types of things when I moved to a new town and it first it felt like I was only making acquaintances but I have now established friends who I go out with on a weekend. So I just want you to be mindful that even though sometimes it feels like it’s not working, it really is, you just need to keep at it and give it time.