If you don’t want to become isolated as you grow old, say goodbye to these 27 behaviors

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Not afraid to die but afraid of being alone?

As we grow older, we’ll notice friends, family, and acquaintances slowly drifting away.  

It’s not always intentional.

It’s often just the natural course of growing responsibilities and changing priorities.

Even though life has a way of pulling people apart, we can work on ourselves to stay connected.

And you can start by saying goodbye to these 27 behaviors that will prevent you from becoming isolated as you grow old:

1) Being so negative

The last thing we want in our old age is to deal with more drama and negativity. 

We’ve been through much of that in our younger years. And frankly, that’s where they should stay.

I don’t know about you but I find that as time goes by, it’s the cheerful and positive interactions that pull me in. 

In other words, pessimistic attitudes only push others away.

2) Not saying “sorry” when you’re wrong

Not owning up to your mistakes and failing to ask for forgiveness is one way of damaging your relationships. 

Worse, it’s a guarantee of your isolation in your golden years.

Take it from Paul Boose:

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” 

3) Not accepting other’s apologies

Forgiveness is easier said than done – so cliche, but we all know it to be very much true.

But you know what’s also true?

Holding onto resentment leads to bitterness and isolation. It prevents our relationships from healing and growing.

It all boils down to choosing your hard: isolation in your old age or forgiving now.

4) Holding on to resentment 

Not wanting to forgive is one thing. But holding onto a grudge is a more intense sort of feeling. 

It keeps you stuck always thinking about how someone wronged you. 

It’s like making an active choice to stay upset, which turns you into an angry, resentful individual that no one will ever want to be around.

5) You avoid conflicts all the time

Avoiding confrontation may seem like the easy path – no grudges to hold, nothing to forgive.

But here’s how that’s wrong:

When you consistently avoid conflict, you miss the opportunity to develop and refine your skills of healthy communication and problem-solving in relationships.

Unhealthy communication = unhealthy relationships. 

And this can translate to superficial connections that could easily break in the long run.

6) Being overly reliant on your comfort zone

Another thing you should stop avoiding if you don’t want to be isolated in your old age is taking on new experiences.

Staying in our comfort zone seems sensible as we age, but we fail to realize that this does nothing but shrink our world.

Here’s why:

It limits our chances of meeting new people and learning new things.

7) Being uninterested in others

Real and lasting relationships are built on authentic connections. 

That means having a genuine interest in and understanding of the other person – their likes, dislikes, and the important details of their life.

But you can only reach that point in a relationship if you care enough to be curious about them in the first place, right?

8) Having no empathy

Lack of empathy is another behavior that prevents you from making lasting connections.

Empathy helps us understand and share the feelings of others. And although there can still be a connection without empathy, it’s only superficial. 

In other words, short lasting.

9) Being overly critical

The quickest way to prevent people from sticking with you is to be critical of everything and everyone.

While a healthy dose of criticism is also a part of lasting relationships, doing it constantly can be draining and only creates a negative environment that pushes people away.

10) Being too judgmental

There’s critical and then there’s judgmental.  

The first focuses on flaws, while the second defaults to negative opinions without knowing all the facts.

When you’re known to be judgmental, people feel uncomfortable being themselves around. They’re afraid you’d judge them unfairly, so choose to just stay away.

11) Dominating conversations

When you want to take the lead in conversations, you lose the chance to listen to what others have to say.

I think the younger generation calls this “main character vibes.”

And let’s face it: 

Always being the supporting cast isn’t too appealing. 

It can make anyone feel invisible – unseen and unheard.

12) Not making time for others

As if it weren’t bad enough that you don’t listen to them, you’re adding insult to their injury by not making time for them, too.

When you fail to block out time for your friends and family, you’re unconsciously telling them they’re not important in your life.

And guess what this leads to:

Estrangement.

13) Not valuing others’ time

Speaking of time, when you consistently show up late or make a habit of canceling plans last minute, you’re sending the same message:

They’re not truly important.

Not only is this hurtful and disrespectful, but it could also push them to stop bothering to make plans with you in the future.

14) You’re not present

You don’t cancel and you’re always there on time, but are you really there?

If you’re physically present but mentally and emotionally disengaged, you might as well not be there.

You’re only making people feel ignored.

The result?

They drift away from you and towards those that make them feel valued.  

15) Always needing to be right

If you’re stuck on your ways, opinions, and ideas, people might not see the value or the point of being with you. 

Why would they when they’ll never have a say anyway?

Your need to always be right could leave you surrounded by nothing more than employees – individuals paid to agree with you.

In short, they’re in your life out of their need to and not because they want to.

16) Being dishonest

Nothing good ever comes out of dishonesty.

Even the smallest of lies can accumulate, and we all know how that ends:

Suspicion that leads to distrust that breaks relationships and ultimately ends in isolation.

17) Prioritising work

When you’re known as someone who puts work above all, friends may stop including you in social plans.

Arnold Zack said it best: 

“No one on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time on my business’”.

18) Thinking the universe revolves around you 

When you act as if nothing matters but yourself and your needs, you don’t leave room for people in your life.

It gives others the impression that you’re not interested in their lives, making them less likely to spend time with you.

Remember, lasting connections are those with a healthy dose of give and take.

19) Being ungrateful 

Being unappreciative can strain or even damage friendships and connections. 

Not saying “thank you” enough fails to show appreciation, making people feel undervalued and unimportant. 

Look at it this way:

If you were unappreciated, wouldn’t you question why you should continue putting effort into the relationship at all?

20) Not embracing diversity

If there’s one thing you shouldn’t be as you age, it’s narrow-minded.

Being unwelcoming of other people because of differences does nothing but narrow down the people who’ll stay in your life too.

21) Dismissing feedback

Being open to feedback is also something to remember if you don’t want to end up isolated.

Why?

By dismissing feedback, you portray yourself as inflexible and unapproachable – key traits of people who are difficult to be around. 

22) You keep everything to yourself

While we’re in the zone of openness, let’s talk about sharing your emotions, fears and dreams.

You don’t have to bare your soul entirely. 

You just have to be vulnerable enough to allow for the growth of deeper relationships.

23) Resisting change

Moving on to another thing you should be open to:

Change.

It’s inevitable, and your advancing age should have taught you that already.

Prevent alienating yourself by evolving together with the people around you.

24) Refusing to use technology

Speaking of change, you should also be open to modern technology.

It’s not about immersing yourself in your gadgets or living on social media.

It’s simply about keeping up with technology enough to use it as a tool to connect with your loved ones better – and for longer.

25) Ignoring boundaries

Long-lasting relationships require everyone involved to respect the boundaries of others. 

Ignoring these limits can leave you being the one that is closed off.

26) Ignoring self-improvement

Another thing you shouldn’t ignore is working on your personal growth

When you stop trying to learn and improve, you risk becoming less interesting or relatable to others.

And fewer shared interests make it harder to connect with others as you get older.

27) Not taking care of your personal health

Limiting your ability to socialize with others is the least of your problems if you let your health slide.

I hate to be blunt, but being physically unhealthy can prevent you from growing old at all.

Final thoughts

Getting old alone is a fear for many.

At the very least, this listicle shows that it’s really up to us whether this fear becomes our reality.

It takes a good mix of working on ourselves and nurturing our relationships to ensure that our later years are spent in good company.

Aging gracefully isn’t just about health. 

It’s about heart – keeping those you love right there with you, wrinkles, saggy skin and all.

Sarah Piluden-Natu-El

Sarah is a full-time mum, wife, and nurse on hiatus turned freelance writer. She is on a journey of diving deeper into life through life itself and uses her writing to share the lessons learned along the way. When not on her computer, she enjoys time with her family strolling along the Gold Coast's stunning beaches and captivating hinterland.

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