Online Companionship and Friendship for Seniors

September 09, 2014

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If Martha Stewart can find potential companions online, why can’t you? In 2013, the septuagenarian lifestyle mogul logged on to match.com in search of prospective dates – two of whom met her for the first time on an episode of the “Today Show.”

Seniors are increasingly turning to the Internet to find love interests as well as friends. According to seniorplanet.org, “Bowling Green State University professors of gerontology, Dr. Wendy K. Watson and Dr. Charlie Stelle, have … found that people over 60 represent the most rapidly growing demographic in online dating.”

Seniors are also among the legions of Internet users who find friends through a plethora of general interest and niche websites.  

Benefits of dating and friendship

For a senior who is widowed or divorced, or one whose friends or family members have moved away or passed on, cultivating a relationship with a love interest or new friend can fill a major void. Such relationships may also boost a senior’s self-esteem, lessen boredom and feelings of isolation, and stave off depression. 

Places to find companions and friends

The well-known social media sites, including FacebookGoogle + and meetup.com, offer plenty of potential for interaction. A quick search on these or other sites for topics of interest will yield “communities” and “groups” whose members communicate with each other publicly and privately. 

Tips on dating

Improve your experience by following this advice from eharmony.com:  

  • Don’t act your age. Have fun!
  • Be here, now. In other words, don’t dwell on the past.
  • On the first date, omit emotional accounts about your previous relationship(s).
  • Leave your kids at home, meaning don’t give too much credence to their opinions about your dates.
  • See each date as a fresh start. Don’t compare your current date to previous partners.

Best online sites to use

The good news: There are plenty of options. The bad news: It’s hard to know which are best. Seniorplanet.org researched numerous sites for such factors as being “senior friendly,” ease of use and pricing. Here are seniorplanet.org’s top five sites:

Tips on meeting and dating someone online

You can maximize your chances for a successful pairing by making the most of what you post on dating sites. Alovelinkspost.com recommends the following:

  • Complete the member profile as much as possible.
  • Include your most recent photo in the profile.
  • Upload a short video message.
  • Browse a wider circle/area of your service for potential mates.
  • “Bookmark” or place into “favorites” the member profiles you most like.
  • Submit a brief but informative introduction letter.
  • Try different online dating services.

If you’re truly ready to add meaning to your life or to fill a void, take the next step by pursuing relationships of a romantic or platonic nature online.

For more information on ways to stay active in retirement, download our free guide, 5 Ways to Stay Active in Retirement.

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