Withdrawing from others?
One of the biggest problems for guys when they’re depressed is social isolation. Rather than let others know that he’s going through a hard spell, most guys tend to withdraw from their friends and family as a way to “protect” themselves. But the problem is that the people a guy pulls away from are the same people that he needs around him when the chips are down. These tips can help us stay connected to important people in our lives. Remember, some things might not feel as fun or cool as they used to, but if we keep putting ourselves in situations that we know could be fun or enjoyable, we’ll eventually be able to feel enjoyment, and be more energized too.
Remind yourself of the importance of others
Depression messes with our thoughts and can cause us to under-value the importance of friends and family in our lives. Remind yourself that your life is richer, and achieving good health is so much easier, when you stay connected to friends and family.
Believe in yourself
Don’t assume that because we don’t feel like being social that other people don’t want to be around us. When we make plans with someone, we’re actually helping fill the other person’s social needs as well – that’s something we can feel good about.
Keep it brief to start
If hanging out with friends or going to a social event seems too daunting, don’t worry. Say hello to the clerk at your grocery store or your neighbour passing by. Though it may not seem like much, even brief interactions can help us feel connected to people in our lives.
Chat with friends online or on the phone
It’s usually best if we can connect with someone in person, but if we don’t have the energy to do that, chatting with friends on the phone or online still counts.
Get a friend to do the planning
If you have a friend or family member who wants to get together, ask them to make the plans. This way you can just focus on showing up, without the worry of planning anything.
Be open with others
Friendships aren’t just about sharing good times. We can confide in our friends about our concerns (you’ll find the other person will often feel honoured that you chose to confide in them). We can even invite their feedback. Speaking with a friend or family member about tough issues can be a great way of sorting them out and also bring us closer.
Show interest in your friend’s life
When we show interest and support in a friend’s life, they’re more likely to do the same for us.
Don’t set expectations
Hanging out or socializing doesn’t have to have an objective or goal – beyond simply allowing us an opportunity to relax and enjoy ourselves. We can focus on the experience of just being with others without worrying about whether or not we are accomplishing anything.
Give yourself permission to laugh
Often, when we’re not feeling 100%, we feel like we’re not allowed to enjoy ourselves when we’re around others. No one is telling you that you have to “play the sick role” – let yourself relax, play, have fun, and laugh. There is no need to feel guilty about doing so.
Difficulty making new friends?
It can be hard to make new friends as an adult, especially when we feel weighed down by depression. But there are lots of ways to meet people. Here are some tips to help get us out meeting new people.
Start with places where you feel comfortable
It could be a coffee shop, a store you like to browse, a neighbourhood pub, or the gym – The point here is to put ourselves in places where we feel comfortable and thus more confident in striking up a conversation.
Explore your interests
No matter what our interests are, there’s bound to be a group, an event, a team, or club with others who share those interests. Meetup groups are another good way to find people with similar interests in your area.
Find somewhere to volunteer
Volunteering is a great way to get us out of the house and do something meaningful and interesting in an environment where people appreciate even the smallest amount of our time.
Think of conversation starters
If you have a hard time getting the ball rolling when you meet someone, think of possible conversation starters and follow-up questions in advance (sports, current events, music – depending on setting) to get a conversation going. An easy way to start a conversation is to ask someone what brought them to wherever you both are.
Walk a dog
Not only will taking a dog for a walk help us get active, it’s a great way to meet other people. Even if we don’t have a dog, we could ask a friend if we could take theirs for a walk.
Reignite old friendships
Sometimes old friends can become new friends. If there are friends from your past that you enjoyed but have lost contact with, you can consider re-connecting with them. Social media can be helpful in reaching out to old friends.
Using social media
Social media has become a part of everyday life for many people. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, discussion forums, and other online platforms can all be good ways to engage with others, but it’s also important to be aware of their limitations.
Social media can allow you to connect
If you use social media, take advantage of what social media is meant for: staying connected with your friends and family, and perhaps expanding your social circle.
Don’t make comparisons
Most people tend to post more about “good stuff,” making it seem like their lives are full of fun, excitement, and adventure, but these posts don’t necessarily reflect the realities of real, everyday life. Avoid getting sucked into thinking that everyone else’s lives are free of challenges and disappointments – it’s just not the case.
Don’t use social media to replace face-to-face interaction
While social media can be useful, don’t let it be your only social outlet. Face-to-face interaction is the most important part of a man’s social life, so use social media to supplement it rather than replace it.