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Users of a variety of online discussion forums participated in this study.We hypothesized and found that participants who felt their expectations had been exceeded by the forum reported higher levels of forum identification.
Also see: Be a Better Friend Not only do you have fewer opportunities to meet new people, but "there's also a little more resistance to forming new relationships later in life, and your skills can get a bit rusty," says Marla Paul, author of The Friendship Crisis: Finding, Making, and Keeping Friends When You're Not a Kid Anymore. So if watching Grey's Anatomy is the highlight of your week, or you find yourself enthusiastically chatting with telemarketers, you probably need to make some new connections. "Nobody wears a sign that says 'I'm looking for a friend,' but there are a lot of people out there in the same boat," Paul says. Accept invitations, even if you suspect it won't be the night of your life. If someone doesn't call you back immediately, don't assume they simply don't like you. Just getting out increases the chances of meeting new people — and friends are sometimes found in unlikely places. Check out continuing-education classes at your local college or university. Conversations with other dog walkers are guaranteed, and even people without pets will stop to say hello to Max, giving you the perfect opener. In addition, many colleges allow older adults to audit regular classes for free, and some have programs specifically for seniors. Senior centers have moved way beyond Friday-night bingo. If you're retired, take a part-time job, even for just a few hours a week. Invite a few of your neighbors for dinner if you like to cook, or organize a potluck meal if you don't. En español | When you were in school, you had no problem making friends. Museums, hospitals, churches, animal shelters and schools are always looking for people to help out. You'll find dozens, even hundreds, of groups in your area, focusing on everything from animals to Zen meditation. If you can't find the right group, you can start your own.
Ditto for those years when you were a parent of growing kids. Many churches and synagogues make it a point to welcome newbies and introduce them around. Find opportunities in your area at AARP's or Volunteersof
But the idea that we can’t possibly care for a person emotionally unless we’re their exclusive romantic partner has always seemed kind of silly, as has a lot of the rhetoric around “friends with benefits.” Granted, it's tough to define relationships and to talk about them in a generalized way—but brave fools that we are, we've decided to give it a go from a scientific perspective.