Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

Do you think people tend to get more or less social as they age?

Asked by wundayatta (58367 points ) August 24th, 2012

I have found that I am becoming less interested in friends or in doing much with people as I get older. My old friends also seem to be less willing to reach out.

What’s your experience? Why do you think you become more or less social? What do you think happens to other people, on average, as they age?

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20 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

I have found, in my ongoing but informal surveys, that the social butterflies remain socially active and the quiet ones, like me, tend to remain truer to themselves.

I do far less tradtitional socializing than I did ten years ago.

My sister, who is younger and terrified of spending too much time alone, makes sure that her dance card is always full.

Coloma's avatar

I am a natural born extrovert but yes, in the last decade between 40 something and 50 something now, I have really come to cherish my solitude.
I will always be an upbeat and energetic and fun personality type but… I have become very discriminating about who I socialize with. I do not want to be around people just for the sake of, unless it is a genuinely enjoyable experience I’d rather spend the day kicking around the house doing my own thing.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

There is a myth that people tend to change as they grow older. The fact is that we become more of ourselves. Think about it….as a pre-teen, we just played with who was available. As a teen, we sought out those that considered us cool enough to hang out with. As a young adult, we started leaning about what venues were important and gravitated to those with similar interests without excluding the approval of others. The next step is in finding the niche that feels the most comfortable.

As @gailcalled points out, we often become truer to ourselves. Judgement is not a concern to a certain degree. @Coloma is another prime example. For an extrovert, she still chooses her friends with close scrutiny. It probably wasn’t the case when she was very young.

Sunny2's avatar

I find, as I age, that I’m much more outgoing and open to friends and strangers. It’s a nice change.

Coloma's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Agreed 10,000%!
It IS all about being true to ourselves and getting in touch with our authenticity. I like my interactions with others to be high quality, interesting discussions, fun outings, but, if all someone wants to do is sit around and talk about the boring details of their life, relationship drama, complaining, sucks the life force right out of me. As an extrovert I AM energized by social interactions, but only if they are of high quality.

Case in point, my daughter who has a very curious and intellectual personality like me, called me the other night, we ended up talking until 3a.m.! We were laughing the next day because we were both so energized and stimulated by our debate/discussion that we couldn’t fall asleep until almost 4.am. lol
After we got off the phone she then had to carry on the discussion with her intellectual boyfriend and then they continued on for another hour. haha

I cannot have lively discussions too late at night, works like a pot of expresso on my brain!
I just lay in bed with my eyes bulging and my brain recapping all the information we were zinging at each other. We are both little meteors and it doesn’t take much to launch us across the universe. haha

Shippy's avatar

I think as we age time becomes more valuable. Perhaps we looks back and wonder why we did so many things we didn’t even want to. Committed to so many events that bored us, and become more selective. I am very selective. Even down to who I chat on the phone with or email! Because if its time consuming and I just don’t feel like it I wont!

Coloma's avatar

@Sunny2 Yes, I truly believe, as I have witnessed this with some of my more introverted friends, as well as myself, that each type tends to integrate their inferior functions as they mature. Extroverts become more introverted in some ways and introverts often become more social, outgoing.

Coloma's avatar

@Shippy Yep, me too. I call myself the “extroverted hermit” these days. haha

Shippy's avatar

@Coloma or the extroverted introvert!

Coloma's avatar

@Shippy Yes! I like it! :-D

flutherother's avatar

My experience with myself and with those I know is that we definitely become less social. I used to love ‘going out’ now I often can’t be bothered.

DaphneT's avatar

I agree with @Shippy. Though I’ve always preferred my own company to others, I’ve become even more selective of who gets my time and energy.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I believe people remain true to their nature and most socialize more or less within their means of available time and proximity to friends. Me, I’ve had years of being a hermit when I was isolated and broke but with time on my hands and a little clink in the pocket, my first thoughts always run to seeing the people I enjoy.

Paradox25's avatar

I’ve lost interest in many things I used to enjoy, and I’ve become less social too with age. I am more confident in holding or starting up a conversation than I used to, but even this depends on the person. Ironically I’m more confident with myself than I used to be, but yet I’m less social, go figure.

Ron_C's avatar

I find that I get more social as I age. I remember being a teen and feeling very shy, especially around girls. Now that I’m a grandfather I find it fun to say outrageous and shocking things and get away with it because I’m an old guy. I have much more fun in public than when I was younger. I have more stories too.

Coloma's avatar

@Ron_C Yes, you just can’t shut the old guys up I have found. For years us women get the reputation for babblely wonders and then, lo and behold, you guys morph into the never shuts up zone while we sit there in awe struck silence. lololol

Ron_C's avatar

@Coloma that’s right. I think that the older I get, the funnier I get, despite my wife’s opinion.

Coloma's avatar

@Ron_C I agree, I have gotten funnier too, it must be because life IS one great cosmic joke! haha

downtide's avatar

My desire to go out and be sociable hasn’t diminished at all as I’ve got older. In fact I go out more now than I did twenty years ago, and the only thing stopping me then was being parent of a small child and having zero disposable income.

wundayatta's avatar

I do agree about being an old guy and getting away with shit you’d never get away with when you were younger. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe people expect old guys to be batshit crazy, so when you say stuff, you just confirm their impression. Or maybe we actually are funnier. More and more people tell me I’m funny, and I think they mean I’m funny in a clever and intelligent way, not just because I look stupid.

But I’m taking my daughter around to see a few colleges this week, and I’m teaching her how to ask perfect strangers for information. It feels a bit like being a nut, but I feel like I’m running interference so she can be the normal person and ask normal questions.

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