Could online dating sites help people form lasting platonic friendships as they age?

Every day, thousands of people, of every age and demographic, are logging on to find love. Whether they use a dating app or are members of an online community, they all share a common goal, to discover a new relationship or perhaps even a lasting partnership online. But relationships come in many forms, and for many seniors joining the busy world of online dating, there is also a real desire for platonic friendship. Friendships are one of the most important relationships in our lives, but often the least talked about. So, while dating gets all the attention, many of us are increasingly craving a little more friendship in our lives. If you’re one of the increasing numbers of over 50s looking for friendship online, we have everything you need to get started. Explore our guide to online friendship, below.

Pleasant senior older lady resting on couch, using applications on smartphone. Happy old mature woman chatting in messenger or social network with friends or children, shopping in internet store.

Why does loneliness increase as we age?

Often, as we get older, the number of people in our social circle decreases. Children fly the nest, we may be hit by divorce or illness, and we may leave the workforce. All of these life events can lead to a slow decline of our social circle. Good friends may move, get caught up in their own life events or even pass away. Loneliness is a slow drip feed of declining relationships, and often, we don’t realise how lonely we have become until the problem is severe.

The statistics on loneliness make for sobering reading. Age UK reports that more than a million older people in the UK go a month or more without any human contact. This means that there are older people in our communities who don’t speak to a relative, a neighbour, or a friend for months and weeks at a time. And this story is something that we are seeing around the globe. Loneliness is something that many of us will experience, but that doesn’t mean that it’s something we have to accept. Using modern technology and the power of an increasingly connected world, we can all add to our happiness by creating and nurturing new friendships.

How do I find friendship online?

There are many ways that you can connect with new people online, you could join an online community that shares your interests, or perhaps get chatting to new people on social media. One of the most effective ways to form new friendships online though, is through dating and friendship sites. Here at 2Seniors, we don’t just help older people find their perfect partner. We also help over 50s to form deep and lasting friendships. Just fill out our simple registration form and mark the box that indicates you are looking for friendship. Soon you will find yourself looking at thousands of profiles of older people who are just as eager to form new platonic relationships. You may quickly discover that you now have that important someone to meet up with for coffee or go to the cinema with. Someone to chat to about your day or share your worries and concerns with. We help people build friendships that enrich their lives.

How can I turn an online friendship connection into a lasting relationship?

Meeting a new friend who you have shared a spark with online can be just as nerve-racking as going on a first date. What should you wear? What will you talk about? What if they don’t like you? First, you need to take a deep breath and realise the person on the other end of your meet up is in exactly the same position – sharing the same concerns and nerves. You should also be prepared that not everyone you meet will immediately become your newest best friend. Friendships, like romantic relationships, take time to mature and blossom. And you should also accept that not everyone you meet will be the right fit. That’s ok too. Be kind, go slow, and work on meeting someone who shares some of the same values and interests. By signing up to a friendship or dating website, like 2Seniors, you are taking the most important step in expanding your social circle.

When you do meet someone that you would like to get to know better, make sure you are putting in some of the groundwork. Arrange meetups, keep in regular contact, and essentially send the other person signals that this is a friendship you would like to develop. You can’t expect one party to put in all the work – that’s an easy way to let a burgeoning friendship die away.

Why does friendship matter so much as we get older?

Loneliness not only has a negative effect on our emotional wellbeing, it can also adversely impact our long-term health. Research has shown that loneliness increases the release of stress hormones, which could, in turn, increase the risk of dangerous diseases like, heart disease, arthritis, and, dementia. There has even been research that suggests people who feel lonely may not live as long as their peers with strong social relationships. And we know that loneliness disproportionately affects older people, putting them at greater risk of the mental and physical effects of isolation. It seems that making new friendships or maintaining old ones as we grow older is not something that any of us can afford to ignore.

I am struggling to connect with anyone who is a good friendship match, why?

Don’t be disheartened if your first attempts to reach out online don’t result in a good friendship match. Just like in the analogue world, online friendships can take a little time to discover and to grow. Make sure that you are logging on regularly, that you have a completed profile (with picture), and that you aren’t searching in too narrow a field. Of course, it would be lovely to find someone of exactly your age and interests within a couple of miles, but this approach may result in a very narrow field of potential friends. Instead, open your search to people who may have had different experiences, the best friendships sometimes work like the best relationships – opposites can attract.

Is it safe to meet friends I connect with online?

Many people are concerned about the safety of meeting someone online, who is, in real terms, a stranger. It’s a completely normal and appropriate worry to have. Most people you meet online are just like you, hoping to connect with someone new and perhaps try a new experience. But there are, unfortunately, some unscrupulous individuals in the online world. By taking some small, sensible precautions you can protect yourself and help both you and the person you are meeting feel comfortable and secure.

Always meet someone new in a public space and let a good friend or family member know where you are and when you expect to be home. Keep your mobile phone on you and charged. You should also never provide intimate personal details, like your surname or home address to someone you have just met. And it goes without saying that you should never, under any circumstances, give out financial information. Making friends online is fun and exciting but it pays to take a sensible approach to meeting new people.

Sign up at 2Seniors today and begin your journey to better friendship