Senior Resources » Making Friends in Retirement: First Impressions Can Be Wrong

Making Friends in Retirement: First Impressions Can Be Wrong

First impressions are important. Most of us remember this from our workdays. We needed to be well-groomed and well-dressed. Of course, we also needed to have positive attitudes. Yes, first impressions are important, especially in the fast-paced working world.


As we grow older, now we can see that oftentimes our first impressions are wrong.

Moving to a retirement community taught me that.


First Impressions Don’t Have to Be Last Impressions

I’m ashamed to admit I have the tendency to jump the gun when it comes to people. I didn’t have a good first impression of many of the people in my circle. Good thing life has a funny way of working things out, because I’ve become friends with a few of those people I was wrong about!

Therefore, I try not to jump to conclusions about people when I first meet them. Sometimes, you just get off on the wrong foot with someone. Remember the childhood fight with a kid who later became your best friend? Well, maybe we adults don’t solve our problems with fisticuffs, but we can still forgive and forget!

When moving to a retirement community, you come in contact with a lot of people. My advice? Don’t write people off just because they’re different than you. You can still be friends with people who have different personalities, religions, ethnicities, and political views. Maybe you don’t have common ground in one area, but friendship can still blossom amid our differences.

First Impressions of Communities Can Be Wrong, Too!

senior couple outside of house

One lady, who we’ll call Deb, had an interesting method of testing out prospective retirement communities. Apparently, she’d sit in front of the clubhouse and how many people came up to talk with her. Deb claimed that the residents at my Del Webb Community didn’t pass her test.


However, I feel in this instance, Deb is in the wrong. Like me, she may have jumped the gun a little too quickly. People in my active adult community were friendly to my wife and me when we moved in. The good, old-fashioned Southern hospitality made us feel right at home.

Remember, folks. When trying to find an active adult community, don’t ever write it off based on first impressions. Don’t pull a Deb and sit around and wait for someone to approach you. Instead, be proactive! Ask residents questions and strike up conversations. Participate in some of the activities. Play a game or take a class to really get a feel for the community.

Most of all, try not to overthink it. Coming from someone who loves their active adult community, I think you’ll find they’re filled to the brim with the most accepting, friendly, and positive people around.

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Originally published August 19, 2023

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