- An activity partner is someone you get together with to take part in a particular activity.
- An activity partner differs from a friend because a friend is not an activity-specific association, though activity partners can turn into friends.
- There are a myriad of places to find activity partners including social groups and apps.
Wondering where to find activity partners? As we get older is becomes more and more difficult to find friends and companions that share our interests and hobbies.
Fortunately, there are many sites and apps that are geared towards dating and meeting people for romantic purposes but what if you just want a friend with whom to play tennis or go for a walk or just chat over a cup of coffee. How do we make friends as elderly members of the community?
Let’s start with the most basic question…
How Does an Activity Partner Differ From a Friend?
An activity partner is someone you get together with to take part in a particular activity. For example, a cycling activity partner would be someone you cycle with routinely or perhaps it is a golfing buddy which means you play golf with him often but perhaps don’t see him anywhere else.
A friend would be someone with whom you do a variety of different things with. This could include playing cribbage with, cycling on weekends with, and having one another over for dinner. An activity partner can develop into a friend over time, however.
Places to Find Activity Partners
Knowing where to find activity partners can result in greater community engagement, a better social life, and overall improved outlook. Following are some places to turn strangers into activity partners (and possibly friends).
Churches and Places of Religious Worship
Churches are an ideal place to meet people. They meet regularly, at least once a week, there is no pressure to participate and the community is warm, friendly, caring, and inviting. If you are in any way religious, joining a church can expose you to a whole horde of people your own age, as well as others. Activities can be limited to church activities or you could find someone who shares interests with you outside of church.
Volunteer Groups and Charity Work
Volunteering with a charity group can expose you to new and interesting people. Volunteering also has the benefit of structure and gives you something meaningful to do. Choose a volunteer group that means something to you whether it be working with small children, animals or the poor. You can even volunteer in a nursing home.
This way you will most likely meet people who share your ideals and beliefs. Once you have made some friends you may find you have interests beyond the charity. Charity work has the added benefit of making you feel good.
Neighbors can be great activity partners especially for activities such as running or walking as you do not need to drive to meet up. Getting to know your neighbors takes a little effort but the rewards are great.
Joining a gym can be a good way of making friends. You can find a partner to work out with or you can join a group class such as spinning or yoga. Although there won’t be too much chatting going on during the class there is always sure to be time after class for a chat. Who knows, perhaps you’ll even end up going for coffee.
Just as it was easy to make friends when you had small children as you were pushed together with other parents on the side of sport fields, parent committees, concerts, and other school events, so it is with dogs. Get yourself a dog, take your dog to the dog park and soon you will be meeting all the other doggy people out there. You can keep activities dog related like walking your dogs together or you can branch out into other activities you both enjoy.
Joining clubs is a fabulous way to meet like-minded people. If you are new to an area, try to join every club you may have an interest in, and perhaps even some you don’t. Book clubs are great because they usually comprise a relatively small group of people and the point is to chat so you get to know people quickly.
Garden clubs are perfect if you’re new to an area as, not only will you meet people, but you will get to know your surroundings.
Craft clubs like pottery, knitting, quilting, woodwork and others are super for making friends and have the benefit of delving into your creative side. Here too, people chat as they work and you will quickly get to know your fellow crafters.
Try to join and take part in any community activity that is going. From wine tastings to fetes, try to be a part of the activity or at least support it.
Bus Tours and Cruises
A great and fun way to meet people is to go on a bus tour or a boat cruise. This may be quite an expensive option but if you’ve got the money to spare nothing beats this experience. Often bus tours and cruises are designated for certain age groups to ensure you won’t be surrounded by a throng of young partiers. This ensures you will find people of a similar age to you and hopefully similar interests.
There is a lot of time spent on the bus which can be used getting to know your fellow bus mates. Many friends made on bus tours remain friends for years after the tour has ended. Maybe you will even become travel activity partners organizing future travel adventures together.
Walking and Running Groups
These groups are designed so that you can exercise in safety as well as encourage each other to keep at it and do better. They are also a great place to meet new people. While talking and running may be difficult, it is definitely not impossible. Walking allows for hours of chat time and often members get together for coffee or just linger to chat after the exercise is completed. This option will improve your health and your social circle at the same time.
Weekend Classes and Short Courses
Signing up for a weekend class may be a way of making that dream that got away, become a reality. It may be photography, cooking or pottery. Whatever it is, it is also a great way to make new friends. Just as it was relatively easy to make friends at school and university, a short course will take you back in time and soon you will be chatting after class and sharing notes before assessments.
Activity Partner Sites
In today’s digital world it makes sense to make use of technology to meet new people. Although most sites and apps are geared towards dating there are some that will help you to meet new friends and activity partners.
You may already be a part of one or more online communities. Like-minded people join on a site to share anything from videos of animals, play scrabble, share interesting tips on travel to advice on how to restore vintage cars. Administrators of these groups can organize real life, in person meetups for various members of the online group.
This is a great way to meet people who share your interests. You probably already know each other quite well despite never having met in person making the first meeting relatively easy and sure to be a success.
Craigslist is a website for classified ads and community notices. It was started by Craig Newmark in 1995 in San Francisco but has since spread across the world. Search to see if there is a Craigslist for your community. Although it was started as a site to communicate social events, it has now become more of an online marketplace.
Despite this, you can still find postings of social events and club get-togethers. Look through the posts to see if there is an event that interests you. Or you could post your own ad asking for a partner in a particular activity. It is always advisable to meet online friends for the first time in a group.
Specialized Activity Apps
There are apps available to help you find a partner for activities. ‘Playo’ is a reliable app to find a badminton partner. ‘The Run’ is an online community where runners of all backgrounds and abilities share stories, get tips and encouragement and talk about races.
Jaha is an app designed to help you find a sport’s partner. The app is area specific so you will meet people from nearby. You simply fill out a profile section indicating your interests and then you can find like-minded people with similar interests to you. You can also indicate your preferred gender, age range and distance of your soon to be activity partner.
PlayCity is an app similar to Jaha except that it is designed to help you find a partner for a variety of activities, not just sporty ones. It will help you find people in your city that have the same interests, time availability and skill level as you. You can also find organized events that you could join.
Stitch is a social app that promises ‘companionship, dating, travel and activity partners for older adults. It is designed to bring older people together safely. Sign up is free and only when two people have indicated that they’d like to talk is the introduction made.
Safety When Meeting Strangers
Although there is a huge group of great potential friends out there it is important to remember that there are a lot of nasty scammers out there too. When meeting your online buddy for the first time there are a few steps you should take to ensure your safety.
- Do some online research into your buddy before you meet.
- Choose a public place.
- Ask a friend to go with you.
- Use your own transport.
- Don’t drink too much alcohol.
- Don’t leave food or drinks unattended.
Don’t give away too much personal information. Be safe – and good luck!