Life & Culture

Meet and Make Friends Online

The online world can be a wonderful place to meet people….but many find it a frustrating place where people brag about hundreds of “friends” they’ve never met. Connectivity online may not mean connections online.

Forming true connections

First, find people who share your interests on an online platform. This can be cooking, knitting, owning a Bichon Frise dog, your city, your neighborhood or where you grew up, books, history, the outdoors, a sports team, dining out or a support group (for caregivers, health problems etc.). You name it, there’s a group for it.

On good place to start is Senior Planet Community.

Senior Planet Community is exclusive to people 55+. No matter your interest, there’s a community group for you – groups dedicated to Travel, Photography, Fitness, Creativity, Gardening, or Pets; discussion groups like the Book Club, Decluttering Tips, and Everything Technology – and so much more!

Visit our platform every day for engagement, inspiration, fun, and sharing – information, experiences, photos, expertise, and more.

Click here to create an account and join the conversation today – also, remember to invite your friends.

Other Options

On Facebook click “groups” on the left, then type in a keyword. Most groups are public (anyone can join and read posts), but some are private (you need to be approved before reading or posting, by answering some questions). Meetup offers interest groups who meet in real life (at least, before COVID; some resumed on Zoom or with social distancing), and you can pick the distance from your location (two-100 miles, or anywhere). For 50+ folks only, Stitch offers interest groups who meet virtually as well as discussion forums.

One woman’s experience

Jessica Levant (at left), an artist who is 60+, favors Meetup. First, she joined a local group of walkers in San Francisco. “I made a few real connections, and some ties remain friends after meeting almost 20 years ago,” she says. Then, she joined a social group in her age range who wanted to ‘do stuff’ together. “After many interesting performances, newly-discovered eateries and day trips, some people became familiar, and one of my closest friends now came from that group years ago.” Levant adds. She later joined Meetups for artists, jazz, and photography lovers.

“The artists’ group, where we present and discuss our own art and get valuable (or arguable!) feedback, is a tight group and the only Meetup I continued during lockdown. We used to meet in a gallery. But it turns out we can function quite nicely without the wine and cheese!”

A Facebook group for travel, food and wine writers nationwide was how Penny Sadler, 61, a makeup artist in Dallas, met a Los Angeles woman she now visits at least one a year.

Don’t rush it!

But making a real friend takes time. In real life, it takes an average of 50 hours of time together to turn an acquaintance into a casual friend, about 80-100 hours to transition to a real friend, then about 200 hours to deepen to a close friend, found a study by Jeffrey Hall, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas, who studies social media and relationships. So the best way to make friends online is to mimic the optimal conditions in real life, like routineness, motivation and reciprocity (feeling you are heard and understood when you reveal personal things), as much as possible. In the real world, regular events at, say, 6 PM on Tuesday guarantee the same people interested in the same thing will interact on a regular basis, and such proximity and frequency often blossom into friendship.

Persistence, consistency is key

Don’t blame technology if you drop into groups sporadically, and just “lurk” when you do. “You have to do the work, and participate, not just be passive. People who don’t use the capacity of technology won’t benefit,” says Hall, author of Relating Through Technology (Cambridge University Press, 2020), a book that analyzes the good and bad things in the online world. As Woody Allen once said, 90 percent of life is showing up. Apply the advice on older adults making friends in Marla Paul’s book to online platforms. Remember, the best friend you’ve ever had you may not have met yet!

Try these tips

  • Reflect first: don’t just rush online. Consider your interests, and look for communities with similar interests. Offer information that may help others.
  • Think narrow and local. This increases the chances to meet group members in real life, either planned or by pure chance. For example, Hall belongs to a Facebook group dedicated to clouds in Northeast Kansas, who share photos of vivid sunrises and sunsets. If a simpatico pal lives in Kyrgyzstan, you may not see them for a long, long time.
  • Participate: post messages and reply regularly. Don’t just read. In fact, that can worsen your mood, a study of passive Facebook usage found.
  • Broaden your definition of a friend. What you wanted in friends years ago may not be what you want now.
  • Don’t sound too needy. Don’t say you’re lonesome, even if you are. It’s a turn-off. “Research shows it’s quite common for lonely people to behave in ways that exacerbate their isolation,” says Hall.

What’s your experience been with online socializing?  Do you have any other tips? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget – you can always socialize virtually with Senior Planet’s online activities – from book clubs to exercise classes and more. Check it out here. 


31 responses to “Meet and Make Friends Online

  1. Hello there, well my name is Lorne and I live in the province of Saskatchewan in Canada. I am 69 years old, retired and a published author who is just looking to make some friends online. I am married to my wonderful wife of 47 years and we are both just going into retirement, still with the possibility of working should we choose. Our house is up for sale as we plan to move nearer to our son and his family. I am a people person and like to talk about life!

  2. Hi Everyone!! I live in SW WA in the city of Vancouver, I’m divorced, no kids, 71 Years old, but don’t look my age LOL. I would like to make some new friends to go out with for lunch, take short trips maybe to the WA or OR coast, biking, and out for entertainment such as concerts, etc. near my location.

  3. The following tip in this article enforces the stigma of loneliness! “Don’t sound too needy. Don’t say you’re lonesome, even if you are. It’s a turn-off. “Research shows it’s quite common for lonely people to behave in ways that exacerbate their isolation,” says Hall.”
    I am lonely and am openly admitting it. Being lonely is not a personal failure. I am needy. I need friends and companionship to be physically and mentally healthy. This is a fact supported by research.

    1. Hi Joy, I agree! I read that last tip and thought really? That’s why we’re on this site looking to find friends, geez… I’m in my mid60s and battling health problems, so have been at home on my own a lot recently. Let me know how you’re doing.

    2. My only friend is in hospital and no way to call her all my family is gone. This is the first time I have been apart from her in 3 years. I met her just before my sister who was my only family died and so now for the first time Im totally alone.
      This brings the same pain as solitary confinement.

      I spoke to my friend briefly since she was in hospital for bipolar and she said she would call again next day but hasnt for 2 days. I cant visit the hospital. Just looking to chat on any subject.

  4. Hi I love nature and outdoors. I am looking for friends that I can have a chat or go for coffee sometimes. I’m 63 years old Married. I am from Cape Town and have been in London for 15 years, would like to make genuine friendships where you feel you can just sit down and have a good conversation just about anything. Would love to hear from you
    Many thanks

  5. I’m a spunky senior citizen that has a husband in The Masonic home with dementia. I do not have Many friends. My interests are cooking reading. Learning new things from tax laws to investments..I enjoy movies , bingo and perhaps cards! I like day trips and currently live in Ohio but still love my home state of Delaware . I am in good health and not on medication. Would enjoy phone friend. Pen pal or live visits .

    1. Hello Barbara, my mother is interested in making a new friend and is in search of a nice companion to chat with. Please let me know, she is home a lot so it is easier for her to get on the phone and to talk with someone and a good ear to listen.

      1. Hello, Tara. I am Zeres Sebastian, 64 years old, Filipina. This is my first time to seek online friends or someone to chat with. I’m still working in our local high school, but sure to retire a year from now, probably looking for somebody to be in touched with to ease the transition.

    2. My name is Jacob. I have lived in Delaware all my life.
      I am just looking for a online friend to chat with.
      I am 60yds old.
      I grew up close to bowers beach. I have been living in Dover for 35yrs.
      Would love a friend

  6. What would you Suggest I am a caregiver of my husband I am 76 years old and don’t have time to socialize except maybe an hour I haven’t any friends his cancer has forced us to be unemployed and possibly give up our house, presently he is in rehab where I spend 4 hrs daily. I would like telephone or email or text friends if possible thank you for any help I am located in WPB Fl but I know that makes mo difference. Just a voice a presence. My dog died recently and can’t be placed. Pls any ideas

    1. Hello….. I am looking for a friend for my mother. It’s a hard world to make friends plus she is over 70 and has some physical restrictions. If you want to share your email I will have her write to you.

      1. Hello… I’m also looking for a friend to be chat sometime, im 65 widow…im with my granddaughter, when she go to school I’m alone, my daily routine is just too clean the house…I need someone to talk to…

    2. My name is Barry Soren. I’m 79, married and looking for a conversationalist. I read, and am a watercolor artist. My married situation is simply a long stranding friendship . Cathy is a devoted athlete, and I’m more of an intellectual . My last friend ddied a year ago and i’m missing a few friendly words.

      1. Hi Barry. Just looking for mind stimulus, interesting conversation. I’m just a salt water hippie in my 70s, retired therapist non religious and outspoken. Good listener.

  7. It seems like a beautiful sunny day makes us cheerful and happy. It seems the world is smiling. I love new green leaves on the trees and colorful flowers. Nature appears to applaud the coming of spring. Isn’t it a wonderful time of year?

    1. Hi Amy! Your lovely description of spring definitely brought a smile to my face! Its still brown and mostly white here where I am. But I haven’t given up hope that spring will actually arrive here soon in all its glory! Thank you for sharing your uplifting thoughts! Hope your day is wonderful!
      : ) Annette

    2. Amy, i read ur comment and i felt so good. I too love the coming of spring its like nature has taken a fresh shower and is ready to awaken all its beauty. The colors of the flowers the wonderful fragrance of freshly cut grass and the kids the toddlers all playing outside. I could live in springtime everyday. Amy you have a wonderful spring and enjoy the essence of it for as long as you can.


  8. I have loved I have participated in local hiking groups, vegan cooking, gardening, animal rights, a book group, and grandparent connections. There is every interest available in any geographic location and it’s free to join. You can see members first in a group you are interested in to see if it looks good for you. Whether there are charges for the activities you choose depends on the group, but I find plenty of free ones that I enjoy. Instagram is fun if you like to post your photos or videos and like to be artsy with them. is great place to share book reviews and get or give book recommendations, learn of author events. is one of many sites that offers you many different volunteer opportunities in your locale to check out. There are other good sites too. This article did not discuss the effect of pandemic. Most of my groups are not meeting in-person at this time and it’s all online, though hiking is starting to have small hikes with public health guidelines, but often ask that older adults not be part of it until things are safer. The vaccines should help that.

  9. This sounds incredible. I am writing a book for seniors called” Legacy Living”. I moved in the past few years and have found myself without a real community yet. I am exploring ways to change that. Right now my best friends don’t know me, as I spend much of my time reading and I think of the authors are my best friends. That is a wonderful thing, but I would likesome more reciprocal relationships, so I am thinking this might be a great place to start. I really need help learning tech to go forward with my life in this new, hopefully, post covit world. My background is marketing. I am unclear on what volunteer opportunities are available through this group. I find this information extensive and yet unclear to me. Help.

    1. Hi Mary Jane – This is Linda. I’m also writing a book, the first one I’ve co-authored, and it’s fun! My husband and I moved to the central coast area of California during the Covid shut-down, to help with a grandson. That was a difficult time to find new friends, but being active in church and in a local art center has helped. I sing in the choir, (now in person), and help the art center with its fund-raising and visual arts program. Would love to hear about your book, and to share about mine.

    2. Hi Mary, my name is Kim, male of 84 years, origin in India but higher education in England. I worked as a creative in advertising agencies. Lived in six and worked in twenty-three different countries where I made friends, some very close. All topics, except religion, interest me for conversation and knowledge. I am eager to learn. Am a very good cook and if the theme interest you we can learn from each other. I have lived in Mexico for forty-two years. Can we communicate? Good wishes.

      1. Senior Planet can’t facilitate contact between commenters but you can meet like minded people online by joining Senior Planet Community and checking out our many discussion groups.

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