Seniors Who Have Friends Live Longer

Jun 9th, 2009 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Everything I am reading dealing with aging, becoming and remaining a productive senior indicates that having a very healthy social life, lots of friends, interactions, and contacts with persons you enjoy adds years to your life.

Finding out if that is so only requires a few interactive occasions with persons whom you are willing to spend enough time with to come up with an honest evaluation. 

The questions that come out of those experiences are these:

*Am I stimulated at the prospect of being with the people I have chosen ?

*Do I feel inclined to want to repeat an occasion with the same people again?

*Was conversation provocative, well balanced and shared among all the participants?

*Were there pauses and lulls in the time together so as to create embarrassment?  

*Did the occasion offer enough stimulation that you felt energized by being in the group?

*Were there persons you had just as soon not be present?  Why?

*If the occasion was a meal, was the seating arrangement such as to add to lively conversation?

*Did you feel included/avoided/involved/ignored during the occasion?

Working at having and keeping friends, even renewing friendships, often requires patience and focus.  Discovering what you had once in common may no longer apply.  Digging for new tidbits and treasures which create new reasons to enjoy one another will likely be necessary.  Sharing the particulars of each other’s life’s journey is always a good place to start.  Some, however, prefer to talk than listen, which can create considerable discomfort.   Some conversations, in social settings, do not always offer the comfort for everyone present to engage in revelatory details about what has happened with them.  Warming up, having time for the ice to break is another exercise in patience which may be both necessary and required .

Some conversations to avoid on first blush: comparing  illnesses, and hospitalizations; divorce details; politics,especially if  you aren’t in a compatible group;  off color stories;  certain aspects of religion.

So, what is left?  These are always light and can lead to other topics:   children and grandchildren;  places you have lived  or traveled and what you found enjoyable there; asking questions regarding episodes, travels, and books read can always open windows;  what favorite movie have you seen lately is a good question?  If you haven’t seen it or didn’t like it, don”t rain on the other’s parade.  Keep the conversation lively and entertaining by avoiding judgmentalism.

When it is time for the conversation to be detoured or interrupted, find a comfortable way to excuse yourself and move on to someone else with whom  conversational engagement may start again. 

If you are hosting a get acquainted event, avoid putting chairs in one circle in one room;  arrange for intimate conversation circles;  do not reenact a Sunday School setting  or Tupperware party.  Standing is okay, if there aren’t enough chairs in the same room.  As host, circulate and help conversations which may be lagging. 

Be sure everyone at the event meets everyone else.  Allow persons to circulate on their own.  But, be sure no one is a wallflower.  There is nothing worse than feeling left out at such occasions.

Suggest that one or another may want to consider hosting an event themselves.  Perhaps there are persons who can be included next time that would fit well into such a  milieu.  Try to be sensitive to relationships where uncomfortable tensions may be widely known and would create universal discomfort.

At last, give lots of thought to how you want the occasion to feel to everyone there and how they are likely to feel when all the good nights have been extended.



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  1. Please, explain more in detail

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