When you retire where do all your friends go?

This question comes up at presentations I make on Victory Lap Retirement. A strong social network is key to our happiness and longevity. Friendships enrich our lives, so we should always look to build our social network and build relationships with people we care about.

The challenge for all of us is that we are so busy working and nurturing our families, we can sometimes underinvest in our friendships. Our relationships with friends can also suffer when we are stressed out and in some cases pull back from friends; after all, who wants to be a “downer” to our friends?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is sacrificing your time with friends, just so you can work longer to save for your retirement. The risk is when you finally get there, you may end up wondering where all your friends have gone. We all have times in life where we have to invest time at work, which means not spending time with friends and family. Don’t lose sight of your friends and make it a priority to invest time strengthening your friendships, especially as you get closer to retirement.

Everyone has two groups of friends: work friends, the group you spend a great deal of time with; and your outside or real friends, people that know you warts and all, and accept you for who you really are.

Work Friends

If you take an inventory of your relationships, you may be at risk of a lonely retirement if you find the majority of your social network is from work. It’s not uncommon as we go through our lives to spend much more time working than at home. We mistakenly view work relationships as true friends but the majority of them are not.  Many of these relationships do not last; our connection is based on office politics, a common purpose at work and working in the culture of the Corp. In many cases your work friends don’t know the real you, and your friendship won’t survive in retirement when the corporate glue that binds is gone.  If you feel there is a connection with some of your work friends invest the time to deepen relationship, or chances are they will disappear over time.

In many cases our work buddies keep working when we leave for our Victory Lap. Many of these friends will move on, out of sight and out of mind; its not malicious, it’s just life.  Our pace of life will slow, and our connection to the Corp. will be gone, while our working friends plow on unable to slow down. You may meet them on the street one day and it will feel like you’re watching a reality show that you were once in but thankfully are no longer one of the cast.

Real Friends

Real friends are special. They are the ones that you can call at 2 in the morning for help. They are the one who say:  “I’m here for you no matter what.”

Real friends laugh with you, laugh at you, hug you and give you a kick in the pants when you need it. They accept you as you are but challenge you when you are wrong, without judgment or condemnation. You know that no matter what happens they have your back. That is very comforting.

A Word of Advice

When planning your Victory Lap make a list of your friends. Which ones make you smile, make you feel good about yourself and take an interest in you? Those are the ones you want to develop and invest in. When you think of friends make sure you are being a good friend by showing an interest in what’s going on in their life and supporting them. Friendship is a two-way street!

 Victory Lap Lifestyle Transition Program Week (1)

My transition (training) period started on May 1st and there sure is a lot of work to be done over the next four months.  The first month is a period of self-reflection, taking inventory and goal setting to get me to where I want to be.  I will share my progress in a number of key area: financial, health, and nutrition. I will talk about bad habits, where I am and what needs to change.

Every Monday I will do a weigh in to show my progress, as this is a key focus for me. Ok so I am embarrassed to say, I’m starting off at a whopping 237 pounds. No wonder I’ve had trouble fitting into my pants!

This month I’m staying away from all desserts. I am also implementing a regular walking program.  I’m a work in progress! Stay tuned:  this should be interesting!

Next time:  introducing “The Four Me’s.”

Mike Drak is an author, blogger and speaker based in Toronto. He can be reached at michael.drak@yahoo.ca. Victory Lap Retirement, co-authored with Hub CFO Jonathan Chevreau, is available online and on Kindle and Kobo ebooks, where it is a bestseller. The paperback edition is available in Chapters Indigo and many independent bookstores, as well as Costco, and the book has been on the Globe & Mail bestseller list. This blog originally ran on Mike’s site on May 4th, 2017  and, with slight edits, is reprinted here with permission.

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