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How to Stay Young? Expand Your Social Circle

Get-It Done Guy reveals his secret to staying young at heart (and mind): as you get older, find ways to ensure you have new friends coming into your life.

By
Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #327

Be a Mentor

But let's face it: you do have experience, or at least age. You've seen patterns. Skirts shorten and lengthen. Tie-dye, facial hair, and internet bubbles recur at regular intervals. You can contribute to their world.

Some contributions might just be funny stories. "In my childhood, the fact that our phones were attached to the wall, and that our parents trusted us to be alone, liberated us to have a carefree, adventurous childhood for 6 or 7 hours a day!!"

Another contribution is perspective. A mid-20s friend expected his new job to be super-intense by the end of his first six weeks. It wasn't. I pointed out that six weeks isn't much time to get integrated into a company. A month later, he was in charge of several projects, and being groomed for advancement. He didn't have the experience to know six weeks wasn't a long time to evaluate a new job.

Save advice-giving for when they ask. If you do feel compelled to offer unsolicited advice, first ask if that's OK. If they say, "yes," then go for it. But don't frame it as, "I'm more experienced, and therefore smarter." You might not be--so just say, "This is what I've seen happen in the past."

Have Fun Together

And, of course, once you've made friends, hang out with them. You can introduce them to the joys of the opera, and they can catch you an Uber to a virtual reality mosh-pit meetup. Everybody wins!

I started doing this about a year ago, and my social circle already spans from ages 19 to 99. It's been wonderful, and humbling, to discover how much awesome is out there in all those generations I'd been ignoring.

Look around you. If the people you hang out with are all within a few years of your age, start branching out. By cultivating relationships with a wide range of ages, you'll bring more community into your life, and everything that goes with that: wisdom, insight, idiocy, idealism, energy, and naiveté (on both your parts.) Look past parent/child generational roles.

Start today. The first person you meet after listening to this who is a more-than-15-years age difference from you, invite them to lunch. and get to know them as a person.

Start by listening to what their world is like. Then share your own. Then go get pizza. Not only will you age well, but by the time you're 80, you'll have a social calendar full of people who love you. And if you're going to age, you may as well age loved.

Photos of diverse group, stages of life, and friends of different ages courtesy of Shutterstock.

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About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.