Posted by Tim Stobbs on October 25, 2007
I find it almost strange that it doesn’t occur to people that their relationships are likely going to change significantly in retirement. After all think about how much of your working life centers on your job. If you take that away you are going to lose a significant amount of your common ground with some of your friends.
For example, if you retire a few years before everyone else there is bound to be some feelings of jealousy from others who are still working. Additionally, most men have a lot of their identity tied up with their jobs. We don’t say, “I work at X” we say, “I’m a X” so when that goes away the often feel a drift as they try to sort out their new identity. Then to add insult to injury most men discover you can’t golf every day and call that a retirement. It doesn’t provide enough variety to keep us engaged in our lives.
Women tend to adjust easier to retirement, because they don’t equate their job with their identity as closely as men do. So they tend to have a wider circle of friends with a range of common interests that don’t necessarily have anything to do with work.
Then there is an additional problem for both sexes. Adjusting to having 2000 extra hours a year to fill up. We can’t reasonably expect our friends to fill most of that time. We have to expand our interests and build new relationships with other people. By creating a wider net of relationships we enjoy many people’s company without becoming a burden to anyone.
So irony of your working career is your people skills are going to be more important in your retirement than they were in your working life. By meeting new people and expanding your interests you can ensure you will have a happy and joyful retirement.