When you are around the same people all the time, you assume that you’re friends, right? You’re at least friendly, and that builds a relationship. When you go to that place, whether it’s work, or church, or some place that you just like to frequent, you chat with people and you feel like you’re one of them. That’s comfortable for as long as it lasts.
It’s shocking when you realize that, regardless of how small your town is, or how local your community is, you don’t see the church people at the store. I never see them at the grocery store--I don’t know why, but I don’t. As we realize how compartmentalized our relationships really are, we start to wonder, how often are we going to get together and talk? What do we really have here? Do we really have a friendship, or is it just a relationship of convenience? Might as well talk to somebody, right? I think that’s what happens for a lot of us; we’re shocked to find out that we were really just a part of that institution, and when you separate from those places, the friendships do not follow you. Maybe you make the effort, but then you realize that life goes on for everybody.
When we leave one place, it’s hard for us to maintain older relationships, and maybe it’s time for us to establish some newer relationships. With all this in mind, before you retire, you need to figure out if you’re the type of person who is good at making friends. Are you really the type of person to go up to someone and slap them on the back, shake a hand, smile at them, and say “I’d like to know you”?
"How are you going to maintain those relationships?"
The point I’m making here for people in retirement is that you’ve gone to the same place of work, and you’ve had the same people in your life at work for a number of years. You’re very familiar with these people and all of a sudden you’re going to retire and they’re still going to be at work. Or, they’re also going to retire and do their own thing. The point is, you’re not going to have these people around you anymore. So how are you going to build new relationships? How are you going to learn to initiate those relationships if you’re not an initiator? How are you going to maintain those relationships? What are you going to do? That’s something that I think most of us don’t think about; we take it for granted. So, who do you want to be with? How are you going to decide that? How’s that going to work for you? These are important questions to think through so that you can help ensure you are emotionally prepared for retirement.