The end of your working years will mark a big change in your life. This change often leaves people wondering how to go about making friends in retirement. After all, once you retire, you’ll have more free time than ever, so it’s natural to want to find some pleasant people to spend it with. Strategies like the following can help you build a full, supportive, and fun circle of friends.

1. Take Up a Hobby

In retirement, hobbies are a great way to enjoy your newfound free time, and they can also introduce you to all sorts of new friends. Joining a hiking club or gardening group will get you outdoors and offer socialization opportunities, and there are also indoor options like book clubs.

Keep in mind that hobbies that you already have but usually do solo may have a group option to explore. Two examples are woodworking and baking: Even if you normally do those activities alone, you can always take a class to pick up some new skills and meet people interested in the same hobby.

2. Consider a Community for Older Adults

Your new friends don’t necessarily need to be around your age, but communities designed for older adults naturally make it easier for retirees to meet similarly aged people. For instance, in North Carolina, there are communities set up for people 55 years of age and up, and a local expert can help you identify a great fit. In one of these communities, you can find people in a similar stage of life, providing easy company to relate to and companions for new adventures.

3. Making Friends in Retirement by Volunteering

If you take up volunteering, you’ll have many potential paths toward making friends in retirement. Options for volunteering include working with animals through a shelter or helping out at a local food bank, both of which will introduce you to fellow volunteers. Another example is the AmeriCorps Seniors program, which has a minimum age of 55. This program links older adults with various populations, including elderly individuals in need of companionship and younger people who could use a hand.

4. Get in Touch with Old Friends

As the years pass, it’s natural for some friendships to fade as others grow. Retirement is a great opportunity, though, to reach out to old friends whom you haven’t talked to as frequently as you’d like. Now that the hectic pace of your working life is in the past, you may have more time to rekindle a connection. Making new friends feels great, and so does reforging a link with an old one.

5. Check Out Your Local Senior Center

There are thousands of senior centers across the country, and these can be a wonderful place to meet fellow retirees. They typically offer classes, social events, and other natural ways to find friends. Their staff members can also often help you identify volunteering opportunities in the local community, making senior centers a one-two punch for finding friendships.

Whether you re-spark old friendships, forge new ones, or both, you’ll soon have companions who will enrich your retirement years. Enjoy!