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Friends are an important part of most people’s lives but over the years it’s easy to lose touch with them.

Maybe your friends have moved away - or perhaps it’s you who has moved. People sometimes lose touch because their time is taken up with work and family commitments.

If you’re accustomed to meeting people outside the home, a prolonged period of illness or a long-term disability or injury may result in you feeling lonely and isolated. Even if you’re busy during the week, you may find weekends difficult.

It’s important to remember that you don’t need to feel alone. There are lots of things you can do to bring you into contact with others - and enable you to make new friends.

If you are able to get out and about, why not consider volunteering? It’s not just charity shops that need help; there are volunteering  opportunities in offices, libraries, schools, on outdoor projects and even overseas. If you are retired, why not put your skills and experience to good use and make new friends at the same time?

You may have hobbies or interests – or want to try something new – so why not contact a local group or organisation. Most welcome new members with open arms.

Don’t despair if you find it harder to get out to meet people. Many charities have befriending schemes where someone will come out to visit you on a regular basis, and others will arrange for someone to telephone you on a regular basis.

Technology and the widespread use of computers and mobile devices means you can now make new friends at the touch of a button (although you should be aware that not everyone is who they say they are). There are chat rooms and forums for every interest group imaginable and most national charities now host online forums on their websites.

It’s nice to have friends – and it’s really not as difficult to make new ones as you might think.

Last updated: 04/04/2016