How to Build Social Connections when You Have Depression

Опубликовал Admin
14-08-2021, 03:30
When you have depression, you might want to do nothing more than close your curtains, turn off your phone, and hide from the world. But as hard as socializing can be when you’re depressed, it’s actually necessary for recovery. Humans are social creatures, and we’re happiest and healthiest when we regularly spend time with others. Connecting with other people can banish your loneliness and help you remember that others care about you. You can learn to build social connections even when you’re depressed by reaching out to your family and old friends, making new friends, and maintaining healthy relationships.

Reaching Out to Friends and Family

  1. Make a list. Take a few minutes to write down the names of some people with whom you’d like to reconnect. Gather their contact information, such as their phone, email, and social media screen names, and put it on your list, too.
    • Carefully consider which people you want to bring back into your life. Focus on reaching out to people you had a good relationship with in the past. Avoid people who had a negative influence on your life.
  2. Start small. If you haven’t talked to someone for a while, ease back into the relationship gently. A short email or phone call is a good way to start the process of renewing the relationship. Don’t put pressure on yourself or the other person to have a heart-to-heart conversation or a long visit right away.
    • After making the initial connection, arrange to meet for a simple, low-pressure activity, like getting coffee or taking a walk. You might say, “I’ve been cooped up inside for a while…Do you want to go out for coffee some time?”
  3. Be honest about your depression. If your loved one wants to know where you’ve been, be up-front with them. There’s no shame in struggling with depression—many people will battle it over the course of their lifetime.
    • Your family and friends will probably want to make you feel better. Help them understand what you need, whether that means a listening ear, a hug, or a visit. Say something like, “I’ve been experiencing depression for the past few months. You don’t have to be worried, but it would be nice for you to visit more often. I feel really alone.”
    • Be aware that being overly negative can drive people away. While it’s okay to express your feelings, your loved ones may become frustrated if all you talk about is how bad you feel.
    • You may also want to be forthcoming about your treatment plan for depression so that friends and family are able to participate, if they like. They can participate in support groups for loved ones and accompany you to appointments.
  4. Use the internet. There’s nothing like a face-to-face conversation, but if the people you want to reach live far away, the internet can be a great way to get in touch. Send an email, search for someone on a social media site like Facebook or Instagram, or schedule a Skype call with a family member or old friend.
    • If you’re not feeling up to meeting with others in person yet, connecting over the internet can be a good first step towards rebuilding a relationship. Just make sure not to commiserate with other people online. This is unhealthy and it can make you feel worse.

Making New Friends

  1. Participate in activities outside the house. To meet new people, you’ve got to do new things. Getting out of your comfort zone can be a challenge when you have depression, so seek out activities that interest you. You’ll be more likely to keep up with things you enjoy.
    • If you feel apathetic about most activities, think back to the time before you became depressed. What did you enjoy then? Look for a similar activity now, and it might rekindle your interest.
    • Classes, gaming clubs, and fitness groups are a few good ways to meet other people who have similar interests.
    • Keep in mind that it is okay to start small and work up to doing more activities over time.
    • If you have trouble finding activities to get involved in, then try looking into local special interest groups using
  2. Show interest in people. Asking people questions about themselves is an effective way to make new friends. Strike up a conversation with a classmate or coworker with the goal of finding out more about them. They’ll be flattered by your interest, and you’ll open the door to further conversations down the line.
    • Keep conversations light at first, before you get to know someone well. A few good topics to ask people about include their families, hobbies, and work. You might strike up a conversation with a coworker by saying, “Richard, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen your family. How’s the new baby?”
  3. Be picky about your friends. The loneliness that accompanies depression can make you vulnerable to being drawn in by the wrong types of people. Aim for friends who lead mostly healthy lifestyles, who are encouraging, and who value you for who you truly are.
    • For instance, you don't want to make friends with people who are using alcohol or drugs or making risky decisions. The allure of such activities can seem strong when you want to feel anything besides sadness. However, self-medicating is only trading one problem for another.
  4. Connect with your coworkers. You already spend a lot of time around your coworkers, so why not befriend them? If someone at work seems interesting or fun to be around, make an effort to get to know them better. Chat with them when the opportunity arises, or ask them to grab lunch or coffee with you.
  5. Volunteer your time and abilities. Volunteering is a great way to connect with other people and contribute to your community. Look for local charities you want to support or ask around to find organizations that could use a helping hand.
    • If you need help finding a place to volunteer, you can visit or, which are databases that connect you with opportunities in your area.
  6. Meet people through your treatment. If you are going to counseling for the treatment of depression, let your therapist know that you are interested in building new connections. You can set a goal as a part of your treatment to meet new people and forge stronger relationships.
    • One way to do this is by attending group therapy sessions. In this type of treatment, several people with depression work with a therapist as a group, learning coping skills and building better lifestyle habits.
    • You can also potentially make friends by joining a local support group in your area for people with depression. Some sort support groups operate similarly to group therapy and are facilitated by a mental health professional. Others are ran by a peer who has experience coping with depression. In these groups you can hear the experiences of others who are going through the same thing and make new connections in the process.

Maintaining Your Social Connections

  1. Schedule visits and activities ahead of time. Depression can make it harder to take the initiative to get together with others. Set things up ahead of time to ensure you go out and see people a few times a week. If you’ve already committed to an activity, you’ll be more likely to follow through with it.
    • For instance, you could join a club that meets weekly, commit to morning workouts with a friend, or sign up for a class at the local community college.
  2. Choose active forms of entertainment. Talking and interacting with other people is more beneficial for your mental health than silently watching TV or a movie together. Select activities that get you moving, talking, or thinking.
    • Instead of seeing the latest movie, try taking a walk, visiting a new restaurant, or playing board games with a friend. Tell a friend, “I know you want to see the new film, but it’s so pretty today. Why don’t we go for a walk in the park before we go to the cinema?”
  3. Support others when they need it. Remember that your friends will sometimes need help and emotional support, too. Be available for them when they go through difficult times.
    • Helping your friends can be a good way to relieve your own depression. Be a good listener and support your friends.
    • Healthy, stable friendships are mutually beneficial. In the words of the old saying, “To have a friend, you’ve got to be a friend.” If you are always complaining and not listening to your friend, then what you have is a one-sided relationship and it will most likely end.
  4. Avoid taking on more socializing than you can handle. When you’re depressed, trying to do too much can be a recipe for burning out and giving up. Be gentle with yourself and know your limits. It’s OK to ask to reschedule a visit or modify a plan.
    • For instance, if your friends want you to join them on a night out but you don’t think you can handle hours of socializing, see if you can just join them for dinner and return home when they go dancing.
  5. Don't give up. Even though you don't want to overload your schedule with social events when you're depressed, you also don't want to be on the opposite end of the spectrum. Try to schedule an outing at least once a week. And, if some of your friends are busy, reschedule or find someone else. Don't give up on building supportive relationships.
    • If your depression gets to be too much to handle, then seek help from a mental health professional.
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