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Dear Dr. Yael,

I just finished davening Neilah, and as I looked around the shul, I saw many women with their children and grandchildren. I felt so lonely as I am an older single the same age as many of these women and I never married or had children. My neighbors are nice to me, and are always inviting me over. However, I am really lonely. I know it’s too late for me to have children, but I would still like to get married. Please give me ideas on how to make new women friends as well. Thank you.


A Fan


Dear A Fan,

It is hard as an adult to make new friends, but you can do it if you’re willing to push yourself. Are you part of any clubs or chesed groups? It’s important to do things socially so you can meet new people and have more of a social circle. Can you join your shul’s n’shei? Can you join other chesed groups that are of interest to you? Giving to others while meeting new people is always helpful in building confidence and making you feel better. In addition to joining chesed groups, it can be helpful to join a club or take a class in an area that interests you (ex., join a book club, join a game of mahjong, join a knitting club, take an exercise class, take a class in something you want to learn/start doing, etc.) In this way, you can meet people with similar interests.

It would also be helpful for you to go outside of your comfort zone and try new things. The more you broaden your social circle, the more people you will meet, and while you will not be best friends with everyone you meet, you will have more people to hang out with. Having more people who know you can also help broaden your shidduchim because hopefully some of these new people will know other people and you can get set up with shidduchim in that way. Once you make some new friends, it is important to let them know that you are looking to get married, as not all people are looking for this, and others may not set you up unless you specify that it is what you want.

Additionally, once you meet new friends, you will have to be proactive about scheduling time to do things together. Make sure to schedule at least once a week where you go out together to eat, for a walk, to a shuir, or whatever else you enjoy doing. If you do not schedule something, chances are nothing will happen. Adults are busy and social outings usually do not happen unless they are scheduled as then they are seen as a commitment and are more likely to occur. Lastly, do not cancel these social commitments unless absolutely necessary. Most people do not want to go out after work or get tired right before social commitments, but you will feel better and likely enjoy yourself if you push yourself to go out.

If making friends, in general, is hard for you, then it will be important to work on your social skills. This starts with building your own confidence. People who make friends easily are usually confident and communicative. In order to become a person like this, we need to become aware of how we speak to ourselves. Having positive self-talk is imperative. Are you nice to yourself on a day-to-day basis or do you tend to get critical with yourself? If you are critical in your self-talk, you will need to work on this because in order to be a friend to someone else, you need to be a friend to yourself first. When you notice yourself being critical about who you are or what you’re doing, argue back in a positive way. We all have an inner dialogue and if it’s critical, it is destroying our self-esteem. If we can make sure our inner dialogue is positive, it can completely change our lives. It is also important to be positive with others as people like to be around positive people. Compliment others freely and sincerely. Everyone likes to be around a person that makes them feel good about themselves. Smiling a lot can also make you look warm and inviting, so make sure when you’re in a new situation to smile and be positive with everyone you meet. Lastly, make sure you’re taking care of yourself. When you give yourself attention and love, you have more love and compassion to spread around to others.

Hatzlacha in this new endeavor. If you feel you need help, please reach out for professional assistance to build your self-esteem and help you meet new people! May this new year bring you much health, happiness, and new beginnings!


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Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to [email protected]. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at