Socializing is part of good mental health and a feeling of well-being. If you are feeling in the doldrums and don’t know why, maybe you haven’t been paying enough time to your social life. We all need validation and that comes from others as well as our internal sense of self-worth.
Socializing comes so easily to some that they don’t really understand why everyone doesn’t do it. But it takes a certain level of extroversion and time devoted to engaging others by phone, in person, or social media on a regular basis. Everyone isn’t an extrovert, however, but being introverted doesn’t mean being a solitary hermit either.
Being too solitary leads to obsessing about worries, losing perspective on every day problems, and often feeling lonely and even depressed. A reasonable amount of socializing that gives you a feeling of well-being is all that’s needed, not necessarily attending lots of parties and social events.
Furthermore, when you socialize even minimally, you find it feels good because people show they like you and are interested in your thoughts and ideas. This builds self-confidence.
Signs that someone isn’t socializing enough are not always evident because the solitary person gets so used to their approach to daily life. Here are some signs to be aware of:
1. Do you find it hard to get up in the morning because you are dreading feeling alone? You may not realize the reason for this difficulty getting out of bed is because it’s become so habitual. You may function fine at work and home so no one, including you, realizes how alone you’ve become, but your general well-being feels out of sorts.
2. Do you find it hard to concentrate on your usual accomplishments? Something is dragging you down and you don’t quite know what it is. Something, however, compels you to take a little trip to Star Bucks and you notice people chatting away. Then you realize you haven’t done that in a long time. You need the stimulation of others asking you about your work to revive your interest in your productivity and home life. You pick up the phone and chat with someone and suddenly your desire to get things done is revived.
3. You are fortunate to be a parent of young adults but realize you haven’t called them in a while. You are devoted to them but seem so self-absorbed that you haven’t even sent an email to say “hello.” It’s not so much that you feel guilty as a parent, but you realize how out of their lives you feel. When you contact them and make a date to socialize with your kids, you feel once again a part of their lives and they feel a part of yours. It feels so good, you wonder what’s been holding you back and plan to contact them more regularly.
4. You and your partner seem to be getting along fine but you realize you go about your daily routines without much conversation. You’re not arguing or feeling irritated with each other, you’re just not connecting. You realize you aren’t socializing with the mate you love. This tends to dull your relationship. You forget why you’ve been so devoted to each other and that old spark seems distant. So once you realize this you ask your partner to do something together for an afternoon — whatever interests you both enlivens your relationship and you remember once again how much you like each other.
5. You discover an irritated email from a friend. You don’t really get what she or he is annoyed with until you face the fact that you haven’t been speaking much to each other. It’s not an intentional thing where you are mad at each other, it’s just that time passes and you neglect each other. You take his or her cue and write or call immediately and before you know it you’re socializing again together, sharing what you’ve been up to and making more plans. How good it feels!
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Familius. Visit her on her website: http://lauriehollmanphd.com
Originally published at medium.com