It has been said that the most powerful tool a businessperson possesses is their business network. This and any network lives and dies, by the strength and nature of these relationships. In retirement, the existence and strength of our relationships play an essential part in the success we make of this period in our lives. I do not mean that we, as retirees, need to rely on our relationships for our life, but their existence makes our life much more comfortable.

The major difference between working relationships and those we forge in our retirement lies, in the main, in the service they perform.  In retirement, we form relationships with people who can affect our personal lives and most relationships are based, initially, on friendship and mutual understanding. Working relationship, which is, in general, based on the impact the person has on our working life and the extent to which this person can enhance our career. It, however, does not mean that friendship and mutual understanding do not also play a part in the process.

The manner, and process, of leaving the work set of relationships and then building a new set in retirement can have a marked effect on the pleasure and fun we can engender for ourselves. It can be a daunting task not easy to complete successfully. But, treated with care and respect for others, the process becomes natural and relatively painless.

Personally, I found it best to let the change take place with minimal personal interference. As I moved into retirement I found that the people I interacted with on a daily and weekly basis changed and many friends became more distant as my needs and road changed. Similarly, other acquaintances became more familiar and closer to me through repeated contact and interaction.  I made no real effort in this regard, keeping friends and retaining contact with others as needed. In this way, the network established during work gradually morphed into one more suited to retirement, without me having to do anything.

My only problem is that, in a few cases, the urgency associated with previous interaction disappeared and the message from the other party became one of tolerance rather than genuine interest and willingness. These I resolved by simply terminating the relationship and creating alternatives that suit better.

My only message to you is to relax and let this part of your life find its own way. However, avoid trying to become totally separated from others, it is truly counter-productive and potentially dangerous to you and your health. Have fun and enjoy yourself to the fullest.