How do we make new friendships? When we were younger, it may have felt easier to make friends. Many of us first met our friends through our neighborhood, school, college, or place of worship. With time, as many people get into relationships and start families, we may meet friends through commonalities such as other young couples or new parents.

Some friendships may be built through work relationships or having similar interests, such as attending the same gym or supporting a common cause. 

However, as people age, it can become more challenging to maintain or even make new friendships. With aging, retirement, moving, or possibly even growing sick and having acquaintances pass away, there can be challenges in keeping the same personal connections.

These changes often lead to loneliness. One in three U.S. adults 45 and older are lonely, according to a 2018 survey by the AARP Foundation. 

Loneliness Risk Factors

“Loneliness may be even more deadly than obesity or smoking 15 cigarettes a day,” stated a 2017 report by the American Psychological Association.

Psychology Today reports that loneliness may also lead to other health issues. Those health concerns include cardiovascular problems, anxiety, depression, and even premature mortality. Loneliness can cause cognitive and creativity decline. It may lead to problems with adequate sleeping. Other studies are starting to link loneliness with Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Loneliness can also cause higher cortisol (the stress hormone) levels and compromise the immune system.

When country musician Hank Williams sang, “I’m so lonesome I could cry,” he had good reason. Loneliness is no joke, particularly when chronic loneliness can lead to premature death.



Friendship Eases Loneliness

What can we do about the growing loneliness epidemic? The good news is that fostering relationships can help ease the problems. 

"Social networks and friendships not only have an impact on reducing the risk of mortality or developing certain diseases, but they also help individuals to recover when they do fall ill,” report the Campaign to End Loneliness and the Institute of Health Equity.

Working to develop meaningful and positive friendships can help save and lengthen lives. According to Health Prep, three elements to fostering a good friendship include positivity, consistency, and vulnerability. A good relationship should have an average of five positive feelings for everyone one negative. Both friends involved need to regularly make an effort to connect. The amount that both parties are willing to share with each other can also deepen and strengthen their bond.

Friendships can be further enhanced when both people understand the art of giving and taking. While each friend may at times need more, at other times they should be giving more. Body language and eye contact can support honesty between friends. Practicing the art of listening and expressing gratitude can also encourage a positive and nurturing relationship.



How does LifeBio help?

There is nothing like natural storytelling to build friendships. We all have so many things to share, especially as we gain experience through a lifetime.  There are powerful ways over the phone and in face-to-face groups to reduce loneliness. If you are an organization or a family that is seeking to reduce loneliness for an older loved one, please reach out to us. We can suggest some great ideas using reminiscence therapy and natural life storytelling as a loneliness intervention.  

As the old AT&T jingle goes...  "Reach out, reach out and touch someone."  We absolutely agree. That's just what we are doing.  If people are homebound or would like to make a friend, we are building ways to make that a reality.  There is always someone out there that needs to hear your voice or word of assurance or caring too. 



LifeBio's MyHelloLine service are here to connect seniors from around the United States. We have setup one-on-one visits with seniors who have something in common. We also coordinate group phone calls with seniors sharing their stories together with remarkable results; this program is called Capture Your Story

At LifeBio, we love to foster friendships and lessen loneliness. We value you and believe everyone needs a friend and has a story to tell. We can assist you and the special people in your life with making connections and sharing your stories. To get connected or for more information, please contact us: