Making Friends at Work When You Have Depression
Making friends at work when you have depression is important because social support is an integral part of a healthy life. Even the most introverted among us need friends. Depression inherently affects the way we interact with others. Feelings of loneliness are a common sign of depression and the symptoms of depression often result in the desire to isolate yourself, which only further compounds the feeling of being alone. It can feel impossible to reach out when you're depressed, but if you can establish a healthy support network, you have a lifeline during moments when it feels like depression is encompassing your whole world. This is particularly beneficial at work, where you spend most of your time. This is why it’s in your best interest to try to make friends at work, even with depression.
Four Tips on Making Friends at Work
I’m lucky — some of my best friends happen to be my coworkers. But not everyone is so fortunate and it might not seem like there is a natural way for you to make friends in your workplace. Here are some tips for making friends at work when you have depression.
Take Care of Yourself
Depression is highly treatable. If you are having a hard time coping with depression at work, you might need to adjust your treatment method. Talk to your therapist and/or doctor about changes you can make, such as adjusting your medication, adopting lifestyle changes like exercising more, or trying out new therapeutic techniques. When you are properly managing your depression, it makes it a lot easier to put yourself out there and make friends at work.
Make Yourself More Approachable
This might sound easier said than done, but sometimes we don’t realize that we are projecting a “stay away from me” vibe, especially when you’re depressed. After all, if you’re already feeling bad about yourself, you might have a hard time imagining that anyone would want to be your friend and this can result in subconsciously pushing people away.
Start by putting more effort into coming off as approachable. When you pass people in the hall, walk tall, smile, and say “Hi.” Once you feel comfortable doing that, try your hand at some small talk. Are there any baked goods you specialize in? Bring a batch to work to share for some (literal) brownie points.
Attend Work Events
Most workplaces have social events at one point or another. When you’re depressed, it’s often difficult to imagine attending a big party — all of the smiling and small talk can be daunting. But just because you attend an event doesn’t mean you have to be the life of the party. If being in a big group triggers your social anxiety, focus on starting a conversation with one person who you know. They can be your buffer as you branch out into talking to more people you don’t know as well.
Does your work not have events like this? If not, plan one. No, you don’t have to try to plan a giant shindig — that’s not really your job anyway. But you could invite a group of people to happy hour, to do some volunteer work, or check out a local event together.
Show You Care
After you have established people at your work who you can find common ground, make an effort to show you care. Ask about their days and weekends and follow up with them. For example, if your coworker tells you his or her child has a dance performance on Saturday, make a point to ask how it went on Monday. When people feel like you really care about them, they will return the favor.
How do you make friends at work? Let me know in the comments below.
Boyles, V. (2018, March 27). Making Friends at Work When You Have Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, August 14 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/workandbipolarordepression/2018/03/making-friends-at-work-when-you-have-depression