3 Ways to Meet New Friends – Help for Widows

The most difficult part of being a widow is different for everyone, but meeting new friends is often at the top of the list. Here are three ways for widows to make friends while grieving and transitioning into widowhood.

Ways to Meet New Friends Help for WidowsFrom One Widow to Another: Conversations on the New You by Miriam Neff is a book that may help you as you grieve. Sometimes it helps to read how other widows coped with the loss of their husbands.

A widow shared a very touching comment on my article about Starting Over in Your 60s – After Your Husband Dies: “My husband died six months ago and I have never been single. I am 62 and I have no friends. My kids have their own lives and this is completely new to me. My husband was my life. I know one day I will have friends but I don’t know where to start. I tried a support group but I don’t like the group. I want to get to know people and meet new friends, but I don’t know how.”

I was in the same boat – not the widow part, but the meeting new friends part! After I moved to Bowen Island, BC to marry Bruce, I seemed to forget how to develop and sustain friendships. It was the weirdest thing. For some reason, marriage insulated me from meeting new friends. I think it was because I tend to cherish my alone time (I’m an introvert), and talking to Bruce takes care of my social needs.

But, it’s dangerous to let your marriage be the source of your friendship needs. If something happens to your husband – death, illness, divorce – then you’ll left all alone in so many ways. Then you’ll have to search for help for widows and meeting new friends online…but luckily, help is here.

3 Ways to Meet New Friends – Help for Widows

The following tips for widows may seem inconsequential, but they can make a huge difference.

The most important thing to remember is that it takes time to meet friends you actually connect with. For every 10 people I meet, I only want to spend time with one or two. We don’t connect with everyone, like my reader learned by going to a widow support group.

Adopt a dog

I don’t need to read more research about how dogs help with meeting new friends, but the University of Australia just published another study on it. People with dogs are emotionally, physically, and socially healthier. I think that it would help a widow to get a dog – and I have the perfect dog for a widow! Tiffy is a seven pounds miniature poodle, and all she wants is love and cuddles. It feels great to pet her, and when I walk her everyone wants to come say hi.


Helping people will help you as a widow help yourself, because you’ll feel more connected and less isolated. I volunteer as a Big Sister (but it hasn’t helped with meeting new friends, to tell you the truth), and will start volunteering as a book club facilitator at a retirement home for seniors next month. Hey – that’s another way to meet new people for widows: move to a retirement community! I’m mostly kidding, but I bet lots of people meet new friends there. Another option is a volunteer position that puts you in a position to help other widows.

Take up a new hobby at a seniors’ or community centre

Book clubs, bridge meetups, garden tours, seniors’ yoga classes, walking groups, and cooking classes are good ways to meet new friends. On a related note, have you searched the internet for “help for widows” with your location? When I search for “help for widows Vancouver BC”, I find a list of Meetup groups that encourage widows to meet new friends while trying new hobbies and activities.

I know it’s hard to meet new friends. It takes effort, time, and the willingness to be vulnerable and possibly risk rejection. But, finding friendship is important because, as Helen Keller said, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”

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widows help meeting new friendsHave you read any books that offer help for widows? Finding Your Way After Your Spouse Dies by Marta Felber is an excellent source of support and guidance.

What do you think about these tips for meeting new friends? I welcome your thoughts below.

If you’re more worried about money than making friends, read Help Figuring Out Your Finances for Widows.

7 Tips to Help Widows

These tips aren’t for widows, they’re for people who want to help widows grieve and move forward with life. These tips to help widows are from Widow Connection. If you’re a widow who feels alone, you might share these tips with your friends and family.

1.  Please do stay connected. There is already a huge hole in our universe. Do not assume widows need ‘space’ to grieve.

2.  Please do say you are sorry for our loss.  We would rather you tell us you do not know what to say than tell us your story of loosing your friend or even close relative  We may be able to listen to your story later, but not now. Do not tell us you understand.

help for widows meeting new friends

3 Ways to Meet New Friends – Help for Widows

3.  Do call and ask specifically, “Can we go for a walk together? May I run errands for you?  Meet you for coffee?  Do not say, “Call me if you need anything.”

4.  Do refer to our husband’s acts or words—serious or humorous.  We are so comforted by knowing our husband has not been forgotten. Do not leave our husbands out of the conversation.

5.  Invite widows to anything.  We may decline but will appreciate being asked.  Do not assume we no longer want to participate in couples events.

6.   Do accept that widows are where we are.  Marriages are brief, long, healthy, dysfunctional, intense, remote.  Death comes suddenly or in tiny increments over years.   Again our experiences are so different, as are we.  So is our journey through grief. Do not assume we go through the outlined grief process ‘by the book.’

7.   Walk the talk.  Do not make ‘conversation only’ offers.   “We’ll call you and we’ll go out to dinner.”—and then not follow up.  Yes, we are sensitive in our grieving, but we’d rather hear you say, “I’ve been thinking of you.” than make a ‘conversation only’ offer.

If you have any thoughts on these tips for helping widows, please comment below. I’d love to hear from you, especially if you’re feeling sad or grieved in widowhood.


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16 thoughts on “3 Ways to Meet New Friends – Help for Widows

  • Kim

    I understand totally Rebecca…. I totally do … I was 53 when my husband died …. I am 59 now …. a part of me died when he did… I felt the same as you and still today I have moments where life is unbearable … it’s strange as we don’t want to live either but we do …. somehow we just die just because we want to …. we are here and somehow we survive and the pain slowly slowly eases but can come back in huge waves…. it’s good to make new friends… if you can . Kim

  • rebecca

    all i want is my husband new friends would not be as deep. i want him and i will die of grief. i hate being without him. i have a few friends 3 sweet cats and a broken heart. i do not think i can go on without him. we had friends together. i love him. i want to stay in the past. it was a wonderful dream and better than anything. this present reality is a night mare. i will die of grief i think. i do not want to be here without him. my soul mate my love my husband my best friend my partner in everything my favorite person. no. nothing no one else. lonely and can’t start over in my 60’s my heart hurts i am dying of grief.i love and miss him and need to keep his memory alive. i am writing about him and organizing his things. thus i live with him and my whole life is in the past and sorrowful. i want hm i weep for him i grieve him i love him. 2 years weeping. no end in sight til death. all is sad

    • Mary Crawford

      I am the same as you. I’m 54. He and I were both 47 when he died unexpectedly. I just want to be with him. Kids are grown. No grandkids. No friends anymore. I’m just done. I want my husband back. I want my life back.

    • Kim

      It’s true Rebecca , I also still grieve so much and just can’t see how I am alive with so much grief …. in fact I am unwell and that’s due to so much grief ….. I can believe how someone can die from grief. My friends think I should have gotten over my husbands death by now !!! I was 53 when he died and will be 60 in a couple of weeks …. how have I survived ? Friends seem to think you can just forget the love of your life ….. it’s not true …. we can’t and it’s just existing now .

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Susan,

    I am so sorry for your loss. Grieving the death of your husband is a heartbreaking experience – and when you feel guilty about things you said and did in the past, it’s harder to greater loss.

    I wish I had the right words to help you heal and move on, but I don’t have the magic formula. And, part of me thinks that we never really move on after her husband dies. There is always a piece of us stuck the past, back where we were when we were married and her husband’s were alive.

    Reading books has always been my number one way to cope with loss, pain, and grief. Here’s a book that requires a lot of thinking and writing – and it can help you work through the grief and guilt you feel after your husband’s death.

    The Grief Recovery Handbook: The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses including Health, Career, and Faith

    I also encourage you to consider joining a grief support group for widows network of some type. I believe that your feelings of guilt are normal. Sometimes my husband will leave for the day and I think that if something happened to him and he died, I feel terrible for how we parted. We don’t have perfect marriages or relationships, which means there are almost always words left unsaid or words we regret saying.

    My prayer is that you forgive yourself for whatever you are struggling with. May you find peace and healing, wisdom and joy. May you learn how to let go of the painful moments in the past and hold onto the little bit of joy, freedom, and beauty that exists in this moment. And made the peace that surpasses all understanding find its way into your heart and soul.

    Is there anything you can do today to take a step toward healing from the grief you feel?

  • Susan osborne

    I was widowed on December 15th 2016 and I am heartbroken. I was married 45 years, since I was 18. I have never known any other life. I did everything with my husband. We had a very close affectionate marriage. We were also quite volatile. In rows I said the most terrible things. He never said anything bad to me. The guilt is unbearable. I am screaming for him I miss him so. I cannot bear it knowing I can never again see him, talk to him,hold him. How will I ever come to terms with losing him

    • Nancy

      Dear Susan, Our stories and our timeline is nearly the same. Dec. 19 2015 married at 19. I am awake at 2 am because of the emptiness. I just looked up “how to make friends as a widow”. I am lonely for a conversation, a hug, familiarity, being loved and special to someone. All gone. I gathered my courage to join a local choir. It was too much for me. I quit today after 2 meetings. I have been happy a stay at home all my married life. We moved all over the country. 30 moves. Four grown kids no grandkids. Not a dog person. Going to a new church is hellishly lonely. I have done it so many times and it is never pretty. I just want one friend to walk with. Maybe laugh and talk. Go out to lunch. Someone to care about that cares back. Maybe we need to start a program called “Befriend a Widow”. Rent a friend. Ha! Everyone volunteers to care for stray dogs. Why not a human?

      • Charlene

        Dear Nancy,
        I lost my dad on July 26, 2017. He and my mom were to be married 67 years on 11/11. She is lost without him needless to say. She is 87 years old..does not drive, has back problems… loves to be outside gardening but due to back it makes it difficult. All she knew was gardening, cooking and going to the bank and shopping weekly with my dad. He was 91 but still drove quite well. His death was sudden. Stroke then heart attack. It has been tough on everyone. I suggest various things for her to try to get involved in but she is not ready for change. All I can do is suggest and be patient with her. I have been scanning the internet for groups such as you suggested..”Befriend a Widow” with no success. I believe something like that would be fabulous. Learning to skype with one another and making friends would be phenomenal. I am not sure how to pull something like that together. I am not computer savvy. But oh what a wonderful tool for all the widows should they choose to want to participate in it.

  • Phyllis

    I will be widowed 4 years in February. My husband died in my arms one day before his 63rd birthday. We had no children. I am now 67 years old & retired. I have sisters but they all live in a different state & have children. I thought I had found a friend after he died but finally opened my eyes to her manipulations; thus, I let her go. There are next to no volunteer opportunities where I live and although I love my cats, I don’t feel I could volunteer in an animal shelter otherwise they’d all wind up in my home and seven is enough for me. I loved my husband very much but now that, that “so called friend” is no longer with me, I feel myself slipping into an abyss of no return. Being called “The CatLady” sounds wonderful, but not all the time. I am extremely upbeat & spiritual though I no longer go to any Church. I write poetry & sometimes short stories & do have many friends though I’d love to find out what others would tell me about my situation. Peaceful New Year to all.

  • Bertha Giordano

    I have been a widow for the past 12 months, I am 57, my husband died of cancer. I don’t have friends, I am struggling on my own and I am so lonely. Though I go to work, the reality hits every evening of my my life.

    • Kim

      I came across this website this morning by chance! I am a widow of 6 years on 27 May! I was 52 when my husband died, he was 59 and he would have had the most awful time knowing, just knowing he was having a heart attack…I wasn’t with him, this is what hurts me so much. We were living in Rwanda, he was working and happy in his work for the first time in years. I had come back to UK for our sons wedding, we were so proud and our lives were just getting better and better….but he blinked at the wrong time, he never thought it wpuld happen!! I had a phone call from a man I didnt know, I was on my own in my daughters flat while she was at work..lthat phone call, someone saying something to me I didn’t understand….my husband was dead..the phone went dead I fell to the ground. I am here today 6 years on and find it all so sureal…my life changed in an instance, so many friends and family were as shocked as me, so comforting….but now, their view is ‘get on with your life’…you see, they are in their lives its ok and they think its simple…little do they know how ‘we’ actually feel and how grief cuts you up beyond repair …I am so broken
      How did I bring my husbands body back to UK, bury my husband and go to my sons wedding 5 weeks later….its all a dream…I am ‘up there, looking down on my life…I am the director and the actress…I dont know this movie’….my poor children never got to say goodbye to him. We all have a story and all each and everyone of us will miss our husbands or wives forever, the pain eases a little but comes back and hits you when you least exoect it.

  • Laurie Post author

    Meeting new friends is the answer for some widows and widowers, but not others. The key is finding what works for YOU to fight the loneliness and sadness of losing your spouse.

    The other “trick” is not living in the past. You loved your husband so much, and now he’s gone. Accepting and letting the past go may be one of the healthiest ways to move on and be happy again.

    But there will always be that shadow of loss and grief, I think.

    What is the worst part of widowhood for you? How are you getting through it?

  • rebecca

    hi i have been widowed for 101 days. my husband was my best friend and the love of my life and his death was sudden and i am deeply bereaved. 101 days without steve after 35.5 years together. nice to find your blog.not sure if it will help me. we have 4 cats, no kids. was planning on retiring together and doing the so many things we want and need to do. had my fill of volunteerism. i am 64; he was 67. thought we had another 20 yrs. had no B plan. lost in the universe. glad to find this and hope to be checking in. thanks.

  • Laurie Post author

    Thanks for your insight, John. Valentine’s Day is coming up soon, and I imagine it will be difficult for many widows and widowers. A widows banquet is a great idea – and would be a good for for widows to make new friends, too.

  • John

    Valentine’s Day is one of the hardest day, following the loss of a spouse. Since the widow no longer is anyone’s sweetheart it is made clear to her on this date. While one church actually asked the widows in the church to come serve the ones who had a Valentine, thankfully some churches are now having a widows banquet on Valentine’s Day.