The typical structure of a ‘neighborhood’ isn’t what it used to be. Today, most people rely on the workplace to be their social neighborhood. It’s where you spend a lot of time, after all, so it makes sense that you have a lot of friends and acquaintances there. I’ve counseled so many people who seem to be lost after they retire because they don’t keep in touch with their work friends and co-workers. This might be the only social network that you have, or at least a large part of your social life. Even though you can just quit working, you can’t just cut all of your social ties.
It’s important to stay in touch with your co-workers and friends that you have that are related to your career, even after it has ended. If they’re still working, this may be more difficult but it can be done. Plan dates to hang out, spend time together outside of work, and make arrangements so that you can keep in touch even when your lives get busy. Once you retire, maintaining relationships with people from work becomes something that involves deliberate effort on your part, and it’s up to you to make things happen.
If you don’t maintain these relationships, you’ll be left without much in terms of a social circle when the majority of your friends came from work or work-related activities or events. That can make it hard for you to socialize in retirement. Don’t get me wrong. You can always make new friends, and meeting new people is a great way to broaden your horizons. However, retirement isn’t a good enough reason to give up people who you consider friends, so you should go the extra mile to keep them in your life.
People who have retired recently are finding it much more important to maintain workplace ties simply because they are the primary social connection. In the past, people had more friends and social connections outside of work, but that is hardly the way of the 21st century world. Make sure that you don’t cut yourself off completely when you retire because you’ll find yourself lonely fast.