How to expand your social circle in retirement

Without the stress of being bogged down by a work schedule, you have more time than ever to devote to your friends and loved ones in retirement. While there's nothing like the company of lifelong pals, it's still important to meet new people and it's never too late to make a great new friend. Follow these tips to meet people during retirement.

Volunteer locally

Meeting new people and forming close relationships helps promote healthy aging, explained AARP. There's no better way to connect with others in a positive environment than to volunteer for a cause that's important to you. Browse the Internet to see which local groups could use your help. Do you love animals? Try working at a shelter. Was your family affected by a certain health condition? Volunteer at a nonprofit devoted to finding a cure. Doing so will put you in touch with others who share your priorities and interests.

Use social media

Facebook and Twitter are great forms of social media that help you stay in touch with old friends, but when used correctly, they can also help you make new ones, noted AARP. Try creating a social group for older adults and invite your friends to join. They can invite their friends who can invite their friends and so on until you have a large group of second- and third-degree connections. From there, you can suggest fun activities and outings to put you in touch with new people you otherwise may not have met.

Download an app

Imagine an online database that allows you to search through potential friends based on their interests and location. With Stitch, a new mobile application made for seniors, you can do just that. Whether you're looking for a dinner date, a travel buddy or just someone new to talk to, you can find it on the app. The technology features security checks on all of its users so you can ensure that the people you meet are who they say they are.

Take a class

Signing up for a class that interests you can put you in touch with others who share your hobbies, noted Psych Central. If you're looking to stay physically active, join an exercise class that will help you accomplish that goal and meet new friends. Check with your assisted living or independent living community to see which ones are available. Oftentimes, yoga, dance and other forms of exercise are offered to encourage physical and social activity among residents.