Recognizing that it can be challenging to meet people beyond school and the office (not to mention that technology often prevents people from meeting face-to-face), speed friending presents a simple, structured way of connecting with others who want to do the same. Further, speed friending sessions are a perfect fit for senior centers and retirement communities, where residents are often looking to find others with similar interests.
During a speed friending gathering, participants will have a set amount of time (typically five minutes or less) to get to know the person sitting across from them. Icebreaker questions might include: What are your hobbies? Where did you grow up? If you had one superpower, what would it be? What is your favorite book/TV show/movie? What are you passionate about? What is one thing you would like to share about yourself? Depending on the session, you may also have time to talk and ask unstructured questions.
You will have the chance to meet with several others and, likely, some general socializing time as well. You are welcome to take notes and connect back for a future conversation or outing. There is no pressure to find a new best friend, rather speed friending opens up the avenues of conversation and introduces participants to more people than they would likely meet on their own.
Friendships have real benefits. Social connections are not just fun, they are also healthy. People who have strong connections tend to live longer and report greater happiness and fewer health issues than those without. Lack of strong social connections and relationships increased risk of premature death by a full 50 percent in a study on socialization and mortality rates; it had a stronger influence on longevity than both obesity and lack of physical activity.
While talking to strangers can be a challenge if you are an introvert, speed friending creates an opening with a list of questions and a set time limit. If you are considering organizing or participating in a speed friending session, make sure that you let your personality shine through when you have the chance to talk and that you offer an open ear when it is time to listen. Avoid snap judgements and recognize that everyone has a story to share. If you find a match for a potential new friend, you can follow up via the speed friending session or make plans to play tennis, enjoy a cup of coffee or visit a local attraction.
Enjoy your retirement and the folks with whom you chose spend it by planning well. Contact your advisor today for guidance.
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The opinions expressed by Ms. Morrow are strictly her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Herbert J. Sims & Co., Inc. or their affiliates. This is not a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any particular investment. All investment involves risk and may result in a loss of principal. Investors should carefully consider their own circumstances before making any investment decision.