How to Pursue Friendship if You Suffer from a Psychotic Disorder

Three Methods:Making New FriendsMeeting New PeopleImproving Your Friendships

When you suffer from a psychotic disorder, you may lose interest in making connections with other people. This can make it hard to keep your friends or pursue friendships with new people. If you have a psychotic disorder, make sure that you work with your therapist or psychologist to improve your symptoms.[1] To combat the isolation you might be feeling, you can also work on making new friends and improving existing friendships.

Method 1
Making New Friends

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    Work with your therapist on personal friendship goals. When you have a psychotic disorder, it can be hard to leave the house or get out of your head. People who have psychotic disorder suffer from delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, mood changes, and other issues.[2] To develop your social network, try setting some personal goals with the help of your therapist.
    • For example, you could decide that you want to set a goal of smiling at one new person every week, or of striking up a conversation with someone in the elevator. Or, you might decide that you want to set a goal to invite friendly coworker to go for a walk with you during your lunch hour.
    • Talk to your therapist about your goals for making new friends and work on some ways that you can do that.
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    Initiate contact with friends. When you have a psychotic disorder, you may not be willing to put yourself out there as much. However, it is often necessary to be the one to introduce yourself or invite someone to do something to get a friendship started.
    • Invite someone to coffee, send out an e-mail or text message, or invite a new possible friend to see a movie.[3] Try saying something like, “Hey Samantha. I hope you are having a good day! I was thinking about going to see a movie this weekend. Would you like to go with me?”
    • Try taking small steps at first. For example, you could start initiating contact by texting a friend and just asking how his or her day is going, such as, “Hey Joe. How are you doing today?”
    • You can also try practicing initiating contact with someone, by talking to yourself in the mirror. For example, you can try practicing how you will say hello or how you will ask someone to join you for coffee.
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    Give enough space to your new friends. Once you start making new friends, make sure you don't get too attached too quickly. Try not to be clingy or overbearing when you are still solidifying your friendship. For example, don’t call 10 times per day or text your friend constantly or show up at his or her house unless you have been invited. It is important for people to have time to themselves, so try your best to respect that.[4]
    • Also try not to call, text, or visit your new friend if your friend has indicated that he or she is busy.
    • When you spend time away from your new friends, focus on your own hobbies and enjoying your alone time, or spend some time with your family.
    • If you find it hard to keep a friendship or you develop unwanted symptoms surrounding your new friendships, such as obsessing over a new friend or having delusions about a new friend, then work with your therapist or psychologist to get past this.
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    Try not to take things personally. If a friend has to cancel or change plans on you, don't take it as a personal affront or jump to conclusions about the reason. Things come up and plans change, but it likely has nothing to do with you or your friendship.[5] Don't take any change of plans or anything your friend does as a reflection on you.
    • Your psychotic disorder can make you misinterpret things or see things that aren't there, so make sure you keep this in mind with new friends.
    • If you have a hard time making friends, you may take anything like that to heart. Make sure you work with therapist or psychologist to work through any abandonment or attachment issues you have.
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    Don't force a friendship to happen. Just because you make a new friend doesn't mean you have to keep that friend. Try not to force a friendship to happen if it isn't natural. Instead, aim to make lasting, meaningful relationships rather than trying to connect to people you do not want to be around.[6]
    • Make sure it isn't your psychotic disorder keeping you from making these connections.
    • Having friends you actually want to connect with will help you through treatment and make you feel better.
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    Pull yourself away from technology. When you are trying to making new friends, it is important to connect with those around you. Keeping your face glued to a phone or tablet will not help you connect to others or make friends. Keep your phone in your pocket or purse when you are around people so you can pay attention to them and make meaningful connections. [7]
    • If you put down your phone, you will be more approachable and be more likely to make connections.

Method 2
Meeting New People

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    Go to public events. You are more likely to meet new people if you go to places where there are a lot of people. Look for public events in your area that you are interested in going to. This will help you get involved in as well as meet people in your area.[8]
    • Try starting out with small events or visit places that you are already familiar with to help yourself feel more comfortable.
    • Try to find an art gallery opening, a lecture, a music recital, or a book reading in your town and talk to new people there.
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    Volunteer. Another way to meet new people is to volunteer.[9] Find a cause in your area that interests you or a kind of volunteer work that you're interested in doing. This will help you meet to new people who care about the same things you do. Try to talk to the other people who are also volunteering so you can make friends.
    • This has the added benefit of helping others as well helping you meet people.
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    Find a support group. When you have a psychotic disorder, you may want to join a support group for people with your disorder. This will put you with a group of people who understand what you are going through and can help you get through hard times. You might also make some good friends in your support group.
    • Ask your therapist about support groups in your area for people with psychotic disorder.
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    Reach out to coworkers. A good place to make new friends is at work.[10] You see your coworkers every day and work closely with them on projects or on tasks. If you want to turn some of your working relationships into friendships, then reach out.
    • Try asking a coworker if he or she would be interested in getting coffee or seeing a movie with you. You can say something like, “Hey Chris, what are you up to this Saturday? I was think about checking out that new café on 5th street. Want to go get a cup of coffee with me?”
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    Walk your dog. Walking your dog can also be a good way to meet new friends.[11] When your dog stops to play with another dog, try to talk to the other dog owners and get to know them. In these situations, the dogs act as a buffer for the interactions and provide you an ally if you feel uncomfortable.
    • Try starting a conversation with someone who has a dog by saying something like, “Cute dog! What breed is she?”

Method 3
Improving Your Friendships

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    Be honest about your disorder. Open communication is an important feature of good friendships, so make sure that you are honest with your friends.[12] To foster open communication, you might want to explain your condition to your friends when you start to feel more comfortable with them. Being honest and open about your condition can deepen your bonds with your friends and make them feel comfortable to share something significant with you as well.
    • It is okay if you are not comfortable doing this at first. Wait until you feel like you can trust your friends.
    • When you are ready to tell your friends about your disorder, you might just say something like, “I sometimes struggle with relationships because I have a psychotic disorder.” Then you can elaborate and explain what that means if your friends have questions.
    • If you aren't ready to divulge your disorder to your friends just yet, just try to help them understand that you are going through things that may cause you to be a little more removed from them. Try saying something like, “I have some issues that I am working through right now, so it is hard for me to be totally open. I am working on it though.”
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    Call your friends. Even if you don't feel like doing anything, try to keep in contact with your friends. Call them to talk so you can stay up to date with how they are and tell them about you. This will help keep connections solid even if you can't go out and spend time with them.
    • You can also write e-mails, send text messages, or connect through social media if that is easier for you.[13]
    • When you call friends, try starting by saying something like, “Hey Jessica. How are you doing?” Then, make sure that you listen to your friend as she shares about her day. After she finishes talking, she will probably ask you about your day.
    • You can also try asking questions to keep the conversation going, such as, “How did that make you feel?” “What happened next?” and “What are your plans for the weekend?”
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    Keep it light. When you have a psychotic disorder, you may not feel like dwelling on it all the time. When you go out with your friends, try to keep it light. Find topics that you are all interested in and that help you connect. [14]
    • For example, you can talk about upcoming events, movies, clothes, video games, or whatever interests you.
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    Work on liking yourself. To make friends and improve your friendships, it is helpful to like yourself enough to know you are worth having friends. This is easier said than done, especially when you have a psychotic disorder. Work with your therapist or psychologist to improve your self-esteem and self-worth.
    • Try to remind yourself that you are a special and worthwhile person. Try making a list of some of your accomplishments and reading over it whenever you need a boost.[15]
    • You can also create your own saying to remind yourself how great you are. Try turning a negative statement into something positive. For example, if you often criticize yourself for the way you look, then repeat to yourself, “Self, you are beautiful and I love you.”.[16] Keep repeating this to yourself every day.

Article Info

Categories: Emotional Conditions | Forming Friendships