There is something about human nature that makes us want to look for simple solutions to complex problems. Feeling out of shape? Join a gym. Not satisfied with your job? Quit and find a new one. Feeling a bit lonely? Just get out there and meet new people.
All of these solutions sound great, but, they are, at best, only partial solutions to our problems.
Building Friendships Takes Work
Take friendship for example. In the movies, friendship is portrayed as a matter of chemistry. Two people meet on a bus and have an “instant connection.” A lonely person decides to join a dance class and is instantly overwhelmed by the number of new friends that he has.
In the real world, friendship is more complicated. For starters, building and maintaining relationships is hard work. “Chemistry” is an important part of any friendship, but, it’s not the only important aspect. Lasting friendships require shared values and shared interests, neither of which is easy to “fake.”
Stop Chasing People and Start Chasing Your Passions
So, what’s the alternative? Simple. Instead of chasing people, focus on following your passions and building the best possible life for yourself. If you are in your 50s or 60s, you probably already know what you value – now is the time to put it at the center of your life.
This approach is powerful for several reasons. First, when you follow your passions, you are more likely to meet people who share your values and interests. Second, people are attracted to satisfied and fulfilled individuals like moths to a flame. As most teenage boys learn the hard way, the more you chase someone, the less they want to be around you. The same is true for all kinds of relationships.
This phenomenon reminds me of a quote by Mandy Hale, who said there are “Two things you will never have to chase: True friends and true love.”
The only way to find happiness after 60 is to focus on what you can control. When it comes to friendship, this means becoming the best person you can be and living authentically and with passion.
Do you agree that you should never have to chase a true friend? Why or why not? Have you met someone important to you while exploring your passions? Please share your story.
Here’s a short video that I recorded on the topic of chasing your passions, not people.