Maintaining Friendships When You Have Depression
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Maintaining Friendships When You Have Depression

The path through life is full of highs and lows, and the lows can be especially difficult for people who are struggling with depression. It’s not easy to navigate the turbulent waters of mental health while preserving friendships. The discussion below will look at the complex relationship between friendships and depression, highlighting important issues that many people who are dealing with this illness frequently encounter.



Table Of Contents

How Does My Depression Affect My Friendships?

Should I Tell My Friends About My Depression?

Is It Hard To Make/Keep Friends When You Have Depression?

When Will I Know If My Depression Is Ruining My Friendships?

What to Do If My Depression Is Costing Me Friendships?





How Does My Depression Affect My Friendships?


Like an unwanted intruder, depression may infiltrate all facets of your life, including how you interact with others. It can have both subtle and significant consequences on friendships. Living with depression comes with its own set of difficulties, especially in creating and maintaining meaningful relationships.


The desire to interact with friends and family can be diminished during depressive episodes, which make it more challenging to engage in both personal and professional activities. It becomes normal to turn down invites and distance yourself from people you care about (Brent et al., 2014).


Activities that used to pique your interest lose their appeal, and the thought of putting up the effort needed to participate in them becomes overwhelming. Being consistently present in your connections can be difficult due to the erratic nature of depression. You might be laughing and full of enthusiasm one day, and then the most basic things might seem like impossible tasks the next. The abrupt changes may be difficult for friends to understand, which could result in misunderstandings (Métraux, 2023).




Should I Tell My Friends About My Depression?


It takes a great deal of bravery to tell people close to you that you are depressed. It becomes difficult to muster the will to interact with people, and there are always concerns about how they will respond to this sensitive information. It’s a personal decision to talk about your depression, but doing so can be a vital first step in gaining sympathy and understanding. Giving your friends some background information can help them feel more sympathetic toward you since they are likely to notice changes in your conduct and attitude.


Although it may be appealing to hide your difficulties, being open and honest about your mental health can improve your relationships with others. Telling your friends about your experiences gives them a chance to support and encourage you as well as help them understand the difficulties you’re facing. Understand that genuine friendships are built on openness and trust.


You can connect with your friends on a deeper, more genuine level by sharing your story with them. But it’s critical to assess the timing and setting of these discussions. Pick a quiet place where you and your friend can relax and feel safe (Gordon, 2023; Masserang, 2012).


Friendships and Depression

Photo by Helena Lopes


Is It Hard To Make/Keep Friends When You Have Depression?


When you suffer from depression, it can be difficult to establish and keep relationships because of the stigma associated with mental health issues. Misconceptions regarding mental health may obstruct the formation of new relationships, and potential acquaintances could not understand the subtleties of your disease.


A fine balance is needed while making acquaintances when one is depressed. While it is important to be honest about your experiences, you may not want to immediately burden new friends with every aspect of your difficulties. You might progressively provide more details about your journey as trust builds.


Both you and your friends must be understanding and patient in order to maintain friendships throughout depressive times. You can have fluctuations in your energy, and interacting with people could seem like an enormous effort on some days. Being open and truthful with your friends about your limitations will help to avoid misunderstandings and preserve your friendship.




When Will I Know If My Depression Is Ruining My Friendships?


It might be difficult to recognize when your depression is harming your friendships, particularly when you are experiencing its effects. But some indicators that your relationships are suffering because of your mental health are as follows:


Communication Challenges: Depression can lead to communication difficulties because of social disengagement and isolation tendencies. Depression manifests differently in each person; some people find it difficult to express their feelings.


Confusing Interactions: Open communication is crucial, as evidenced by persistent misunderstandings or arguments with friends brought on by mood fluctuations or low energy.


Social Withdrawal: The effect of your depression on your friendships may be shown by a persistent avoidance of social situations or lots of cancellations of plans.





What to Do If My Depression Is Costing Me Friendships?


It’s still possible to make changes if you see that your sadness is impacting your friendships. Here are some actions you might think about taking:


Open Communication: Talk openly and honestly about your difficulties with friends. Express your emotions to them and let them know how much you cherish your friendship.


Educate Your Friends: Give your buddies knowledge about depression so they can comprehend its affects and how to be of assistance. Empathy can occasionally be impeded by ignorance.


Look for Expert Assistance: If you want to manage your depression, think about getting help from an expert. You can acquire coping skills through therapy and counseling, which will make navigating interactions with others smoother.


Establish Reasonable Objectives: Recognize your limitations and let others know. You and those around you can prevent misunderstandings by having reasonable expectations of each other.


Quality Over Quantity: Rather of overextending yourself, concentrate on keeping a small number of meaningful contacts. Good friendships might offer more substantial support when things get tough. (Mayo Clinic, 2023)







Openness, understanding, and self-care must be balanced carefully to maintain friendships while coping with depression. You can cultivate meaningful connections even amid mental health concerns by addressing how depression influences your friendships, deciding to disclose your struggles, the difficulties of finding and retaining friends, recognizing warning signals, and taking proactive steps when necessary.


Keep in mind that true friends will support and understand one another through good times and bad. It is possible to build better, more resilient relationships that withstand the ups and downs of depression by accepting vulnerability and asking for support when needed.











Brent, L. J. N., Chang, S. W. C., Gariépy, J.-F., & Platt, M. L. (2014). The neuroethology of friendship. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1316(1), 1–17.


Gordon, S. (2023, January 3). Tips on Disclosing Your Depression to Friends. Verywell Mind.


Masserang, M. (2012). Coping with Depression: Support, Stigma, and Deciding Whom to Tell. Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan.


Mayo Clinic. (2023, April 5). Depression: Supporting a family member or friend. Mayo Clinic.


Métraux, J. (2023, December 14). How Does Depression Affect Romantic Relationships? EverydayHealth.Com.











Written By: Dr. Wasif MD

Edited by: Madison Vargas, BS

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, LMFT

Published : 02/12/2024


Disclaimer: ALL IN Therapy Clinic aims to improve people’s lives. We do this through providing effective mental health counseling by passionate professionals. Inspired by this, we write content for your own education. Also, our content is researched, cited, reviewed, and edited by licensed mental health professionals. However, the information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, it should not be used in place of the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.

Written and reviewed by

Madison Vargas

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