When you’ve got depression, you need as much support as possible. But what if your friendships haven’t stood the test of time?
We all need someone who is going to fight our corner.
Someone who will present us with a differing perception of the world and of ourselves.
To share interests with.
Remind us of the reasons we matter, when we struggle to find them within.
Be the shining light in the darkest of days.
Someone we can be all of the above for too.
Many of us struggle on alone.
We’re lonely and the loneliness seems to validate all of the negative thoughts we have. You know the ones. The thoughts which tell us we’re worthless, a waste of space, hopeless, helpless, unlikable and unlovable.
The prospect of putting ourselves ‘out there’ is daunting too. It makes us feel vulnerable, scared and overwhelmed. What if we’re rejected? What if we really don’t deserve friends?
Recently, we had a discussion in our Closed Facebook Peer Support Group about this. How do you make new friends as an adult?
We really like the advice from members of the group:
Kitty Cragg My advice is to do things you love and are passionate about (art groups, writing groups, gigs, whatever floats your boat). If you enjoy something, it will show (and passion is pretty good at forging the first bonds of friendship between people) and also you can immerse yourself in the activity whilst you’re getting to know other people who do it.
Gilly Bolton I agree. I find it hard to make new friends as I don’t like my own company, let alone foist it on strangers. My passion is Gloucester Rugby Club. I joined some of the online forums and started following fellow fans on Twitter. They have now become great friends in real life and are currently really supporting me through my current anxiety and depression battles.
It does a leap of faith and courage that I didn’t know I had, but definitely worth it.
Laura Caillouet Boyles It’s hard, but you really do have to speak. Plaster a smile on your face, and reach out. People are far nicer and more likely to respond than you think. They really, really are.
Sheryl Zen Ruffinen I agree with Kitty. First, it takes a lot of courage to join a group, book club, whatever. But just as a child enters a room for the first time, there is aLWAYS someone who sees you and understands. They will embrace you into the group and before that, you have new friends. It doesn’t happen in one day but it happens!
Kate Street Go for it with something you enjoy as other have put so eloquently above and just remember that there will be lots of others there feeling just like you. We all plaster on our happy smiles which hide how we are really feeling. Ten to one there will be someone else in the group who is more scared than you. Just reach out by saying “Hi” sometimes that’s all that’s needed. Good luck and just throw yourself in.
Ree Saheid I find this really hard and sometimes it helps to make friends online but, while this is lovely and I’ve met some really nice people online, it’s not the same as getting together with some one for a drink or to go out. I’ve found that getting involved with a local sewing group has helped – we’ve got a sewing weekend next week where I’ll actually get to meet the other ladies & make some friends. I’ve also just started with my local Rainbows group and getting to know the other leaders. It is mostly a case of joining a local group which you have an interest in and going from there.
Katharine O’Brien MeetUp is fantastic. Most people go on their own to meet others and try something new, it’s not pressured at all and you sometimes end up meeting them again at future meet ups. Type in your postcode and take a look around. The hosts are always really supportive and there to help so do ask if you need support. If you’re extremely nervous, perhaps drop them a message to let them know you’re coming? Then they can look out for you. X
Deian Lye-Vella Finding an activity you really like is one way, say an art class, a book group or an exercise group. It’s taking that initial step to go and get there and then either start or join in the conversation That’s the tricky part. Once you do though it will help with your own self confidence in social situations as well.
Jill Freeman Love Meet-Up. The library is a good source of groups as well. A dog is a great conversation starter… I have a very good friend I met through walking my dog…
Dee Smiley Meetup fan here too. My therapist recommended it to me last year. I forgot about it until a couple of months ago. I joined an anxiety group and although haven’t been brave enough to go yet we actually had an online group chat last night and the members were so supportive and nice that I am determined to attend soon. I explained my worse fear of being judged and the reply was, we don’t judge because we are all too much in fear of being judged ourselves.
Krissi Asher I found going to a class really helps me. An adult one specifically, so because everyone has a common interest and wants to be there, it’s a massively friendly atmosphere.
Nicola Foyle Find something you love like others have said. If its an instructed class like yoga or pilates or art, find a teacher who you like and inspires you. It takes time though to make friends with people but it will come. Look out for taster days or activities. Try something you have never done or always wanted to do.
Ella I think the way to make friends is to find something sociable you enjoy e.g a craft club, an exercise class, an evening class, a church etc… And then once you are there you need to be brave and talk to people… Then after a while be even braver and suggest meeting for a coffee or something… It takes a lot of courage and determination … And you also need to meet the right people who want to make friends back and are able to deal with mental illness type stuff which doesn’t always happen!!!
And obviously being unwell doesn’t help with any of this!!! But I do think it is possible. Even one friend can make a big difference so it is worth the effort…
Do you have any advice that you can add? Let us know in the comments below.