Retirement comes with many positives, including new opportunities and plenty of time to explore them. Yet this new phase can pose challenges, too, such as maintaining your family relationships and weathering disruptions in your social circles.
The following tips can help you maintain healthy relationships with your family and friends during your life in retirement.
Remember That You're Still You
Retirement is an exciting time, but it can also be a big change. Many people wrap their identities around their careers, which can strain their relationships.
Remember that retirement doesn't mean that your identity is retired, too. The Harvard Business School (HBR) looked into how people transition into retirement and found that some retirees take six months — or even longer — to adjust to retirement and iron out what they want their retirement to look like. One man who was nearing retirement spoke openly about how the transition was making him question who he was. "After I retire, I'm going to have to discover who I really am," he told the HBR — a common sentiment, given that work takes up so much of our adult lives.
Take your time, focus on your goals and figure out how you want to live in retirement before you grapple with any fractured relationships.
Take Some Alone Time
If you're married or in a committed relationship, retirement means more time together, which can be great. It can also pose challenges if you're not accustomed to all that togetherness. Communicate with your partner and share your needs. One of you — or both of you — might need some alone time, and that's OK, especially if you and your partner are used to a certain routine.
Find out what works best for both of you, then create a new, worthwhile situation together. Keeping the lines of communication open will make life in retirement positive for both of you.
Keep the Kids in Mind
Many retirees still have kids in the house, and that can be wonderful, as there's more time to get involved with their lives and perhaps share their interests and hobbies. If you have teenagers, talk to them about establishing balance and boundaries. Some teens will be thrilled to have you around more; some might think that the extra attention causes friction. Keep the parent-child relationship strong by frequently checking in, and hold family meetings to air concerns and see what's working and what's not.
Some retirees might also be in a position to offer care for young grandchildren. This can establish an invaluable intergenerational bond and give parents some much-needed help. Just be sure to set boundaries around how often you can (or are willing to) watch the grandkids and expectations about discipline. Putting thought into a plan can help maintain healthy family relationships between every generation.
Maintain Work Friendships
Remember your personal and professional relationships, too. Social connections and relationships are a big part of the working life; you might find that you miss interacting with friends, co-workers and colleagues in your retirement. Stay in touch with them through check-ins and get-togethers or on social media. Retiring from work doesn't mean you also need to retire those important relationships.
With some self-reflection and communication, you can maintain the important relationships in your life during your retirement — and maybe even strengthen them.