To make sure your relationships are healthy and satisfying, take some time to consider what type of relationships you want. Think about how you want to interact with the people in your life. Are you looking for fellowship and someone who can help you strengthen your walk with God? Are you looking for emotional support? How do you want your relationships to look with different people in your life, such as friends, neighbors and family members? Thinking through these ideas can help you work on your existing relationships and seek out new friendships that fit those goals.
You already have several relationships established, even if you don't talk to those people frequently. While you want to move forward with healthy relationships that support your faith, that doesn't mean you have to cut off old relationships completely. Some of your existing relationships might stay more on a surface level if you can't connect on a deep, healthy, faith-based level. Certain relationships might be simply for fun, while others might be designed to push you deeper in your faith journey. Don't try to force something with a friend or family member that doesn't fit that relationship.
Sharing your faith can help you develop stronger relationships with people already in your life. It can also help you meet new people who have similar beliefs and values. This can be as simple as doing good deeds for others or posting faith-based messages on your social media accounts. If you want to share even more, consider starting a prayer group or Bible study group. By sharing your faith, you're showing others what type of life you live and how you want to build your relationships.
Seeking out community and fellowship helps you find a sense of belonging. It can also help you find new friendships and strengthen relationships with others you already know. You can find community in several places. Finding a church family or being active in the church services in your senior living community can be a good place to start. You can also form friendships and social groups with other residents based on your faith and supporting one another.
If you're lacking strong, healthy relationships or simply want more faith-based friendships, put yourself out there to meet new people. You can meet other seniors of faith anywhere, so explore your interests and be open to new friendships while you do so. Even if you don't find a lasting relationship, you're still enjoying your time. Here are some ideas for meeting others to grow new relationships:
Sometimes, you need to set boundaries to keep existing relationships healthy. For instance, if you have a family member who doesn't believe or is negative about your religion, you might need to set the boundary of not discussing faith together. If your faith means you don't agree with certain activities, such as drinking, you might agree that when you spend time with that person, they won't participate in those activities. This allows you to maintain the relationship without compromising your beliefs or feeling tension between you.
Healthy relationships take effort, especially as you get older and naturally grow apart from people. If you want to focus on building healthy relationships, be intentional about reaching out to people. Invite friends you haven't talked to recently to visit your assisted living apartment, or set up a recurring weekly or monthly get-together with a group of friends. If you have long-distance friends or family members, try video chatting once per week or more to keep in touch.
God's word can give you a model for how to grow your relationships. You can find all types of relationships and interactions with people in the Bible. It shows both positive and negative relationships and ways of treating people. If you do regular Bible study, use that time to think about the characteristics of healthy relationships. Common traits include giving of yourself, humility, forgiveness and respect. Reflecting on how you exhibit Christ-like behavior in your relationships can help you find ways to improve your interactions. You might also pray over your friendships and ask God for guidance in becoming a better friend.