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It's hard to make friends in Palm Springs because, in my 50s, I'm one of the younger residents. Many retirees move here.

Mid-century homes with palm trees in front of them and a mountain range behind them in Palm Springs, California.
Shelly Karpaty says she recently moved to Palm Springs, California, where most community members are retired.Getty Images
  • I moved to Palm Springs from Silicon Valley in my 50s for a change of pace.

  • Though I like it here, many people are already retired, and I've had difficulty making friends.

  • Some early friendships fizzled out, but I'm not giving up on meeting new people.

I'm in my 50s and live in a community of mostly retired people in Palm Springs, California. As one of the youngest people here, it's hard to find friends.

In the Coachella Valley, over 25% of residents are 60 and over, which means they are mostly retirees. Plenty of snowbirds flock to the area, fleeing the cold from Canada, the Pacific Northwest, and other cold locales, whether part- or full-time. With warm temperatures year-round, the sun shining, and the beautiful view of mountains, slowing down is easy with golfing, al-fresco dining, and abundant art and entertainment.

Three years ago, I left the world of corporate recruitment in Silicon Valley, where I'd lived and built friendships for over 20 years. My children were grown, and I was no longer meeting new people through their activities. I was ready to explore new friendships and experiences elsewhere, and my shift into writing and teaching meditation provided the flexibility to work remotely.

My husband, our two children, and I had visited Palm Springs in the past and enjoyed the activities and slower-paced vibe, and we decided to move during the pandemic to lay down new roots. We quickly settled into the beautiful desert landscape and cotton-candy sunsets, and the readily available art and music drew us into a world of creative people from all walks of life infused with the throwback vibe of the Rat Pack.

Though making new friends can be difficult, especially as an adult, I was determined to make a go of it.

My first few attempts at friendship fizzled quickly

When I moved, I knew I needed to make new friends and hit the ground running. Finding creative ways to make new friends felt like dating; they all had promising beginnings, but many quickly fizzled out.

One of the first people I made friends with was a Foley artist and musician who I met at a talk for actors and filmmakers. We met for lunch a few times and found some common intellectual ground. But soon, our relationship began to feel unbalanced, and I felt like a sounding board without much in return.

Another potential friend was one of the backup singers for Dean Martin on "The Dean Martin Show" in the 1970s. After hearing the fun stories, I felt like my "youth" was a bit awkward for us as we realized we didn't have much in common.

Soon, I became quick friends with the outgoing, handsome cycling instructor from the gym. We went hiking together and talked back and forth incessantly; he was becoming an actor, and I was becoming a writer. We attended a museum art party where I met some of his friends, who were pleasant enough. But soon, for reasons I'm still not sure of, our text exchanges became less frequent, and with them, our friendship fizzled.

Then, I joined a yoga studio where there were people of all ages and backgrounds, but I didn't quite click with anyone there besides the instructor, who was preparing to move away. Though all these false starts were frustrating, I didn't let them discourage me, and I'm still trying to meet others.

Palm Springs, where the author lives.
Shelley Karpaty goes to yoga studios and farmers markets to make connections with others.Courtesy of the author

I've found a few good places to connect with people

I visit the farmers markets in all the surrounding towns multiple times a week. Talking with the vendors and sampling their delicious goods is a great way to meet locals who live here year-round.

I'm still going to various yoga studios and walking along the abundant hiking trails, which feels like another great way to meet people who have similar interests. On the first Sunday of every month, I visit the Palm Springs Vintage Market to find upcycled and reclaimed items. While I'm there, I schmooze with others who are also interested in vintage goods.

A 45-minute ride up to the high-desert communities of Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree also provides new environments and landscapes to discover. The shop owners in the area are relaxed and friendly, and there's always fresh food, handmade bread, and thrift shops with items from ages ranging from the pioneer era to the disco era.

I am honing the art of small talk, and I'm perfectly happy to take my time making connections. Right now, I'm doing things I enjoy and making acquaintances along the way; I know that as I do so, a few of them may become long-term friends.

Read the original article on Business Insider