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Friend Finding

Good friends are key to our longevity and healthspan, but how do we make and nourish friendships? Try these tips and join us on Leap Chats for more

When we were younger, we probably had a comparatively large group of people we knew, hung around with, and maybe called friends. Then as we have gotten a bit older, the gang we hang with may have shrunk. This is not always a bad thing, as some of those people who we called friends may not have actually been friends. Sensible editing and pruning of what works and what doesn’t is a gift of age. As was recently said, stay with the fountains and avoid the drains. 

What actually is a friend vs an acquaintance, family member, or co-worker? It has been written that actual real friends probably number no more than 6, whereas the other groupings can run to 150 or more. There are many ideas about the qualities that define a friend as differentiated from all the other people we may know or encounter. Let’s keep it simple. A true friend accepts you as you are, will tolerate your perceived eccentricities for years and, when the chips are down, they will be the ones you can count on to show up. This last one is key. Who will visit you in the hospital? Who will drive you to the store if your leg is broken? Who are the ones who, no matter what, call you on your birthday year after year? Not all these may be true friends, but it is a good indicator.

Join David on Leap on Monday, October 3rd, at 9:30am PT / 12:30pm ET to talk about friendship and how he makes new friends.

One of the problems, though, is that as we get older, at least for some of us, it becomes harder and harder to find new people to hang out with who may become future friends. Since there is a strong relationship between having a solid, dependable group of friends and healthspan and longevity, it is rather important to keep adding to the pipeline of potential friends. This may sound a bit clinical, but maybe try to think of it in the same realm as getting a yearly medical check-in with your doctor or going to the gym. The more robust your friend circle is, the greater your chances of living a long, healthy, and happy life. Social isolation tends not to have good mental or physical outcomes. 

How does one start? A smile and a hello go a long way. Expressing interest in and paying attention to others, because we all want to be seen and heard. Pro tip: gentlemen, you don’t have to be the master of the universe; asking for help is more important than offering expertise. Remember that everyone enjoys an invitation; think of it as a gift. And if the gift is not acknowledged, ‘no’ may simply mean ‘not right now but maybe in the future.’

Easier than making new friends is keeping the bonds of existing friendships alive. Phone calls, texts, Zoom calls, meetings for coffee just for the heck of it — as the famous EM Forster quote goes, “connect, only connect.” It is good for you, and good for them, too. Be important to someone and make them be important to you. 

Here are a few suggestions to help fill your potential friend pipeline:

  • At the gym, try going at the same time every day. You will see the same people. Maybe ask one to help with whatever exercise you are doing. Gym people love to help other gym people.
  • Go do something that you enjoy, that is social. Maybe it’s taking an art class. Or a cooking class. They have them at Eataly! Yum.
  • Get on Leap and join a chat about a topic of interest. There are so many and you are bound to see some familiar faces if you join regularly, just like popping into your local coffee shop.

We have created a private AGEIST group on Leap for our readers to connect face-to-face and through chat. Our first conversation in our private group is with David, talking about friendship, how to make new friends, and how to keep friends. Join us this Monday, Oct 3rd at 9.30am PT / 12.30pm ET. Join early to enjoy messaging with new and old friends!


  1. David, where do I find the private AGEIST group on Leap? I got the app and signed up but can’t find the group. Also I thought I had signed up for the chat this morning with David, on making new friends. But I never got the logon info. I’m still new at Leap. Did I miss something? Thanks for your help!

  2. Hi David,

    While no substitute for real-world friendships, there are many older adults that use social VR to overcome real-world challenges and participate in activities that improve mental and physical wellness. I run a non-profit, Thrive Pavilion Inc., that meets in Horizon Worlds platform on Meta Quest devices. Our community is called “Thrive Senior Community.” It’s a growing group of older adults that participates in actives that are similar to the ones you would find at a community center, but held in computer generated, immersive spaces. The social aspects one gets from the immersion is very real and has similar positive impacts as being together in the real-world.

    I would invite you to join us for an event to see what it’s all about.

    Robert Signore
    Thrive Pavilion Inc.


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David Stewart
David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.

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