For some people, when the weekend comes, it's time to text and see all your friends. For others, it means spending the night alone with Netflix. Even if you're content binge-watching Westworld, it's important to spend time with others, or you might begin to exhibit some signs you're not socializing enough. You don't have to book your schedule until it's packed, but spending some time around others can have a bigger impact on your health and wellbeing than you might realize.
"Being too solitary leads to obsessing about worries, losing perspective on every day problems, and often feeling lonely and even depressed," says psychoanalyst Laurie Hollman, Ph.D over email. "A reasonable amount of socializing that gives you a feeling of wellbeing is all that’s needed, not necessarily attending lots of parties and social events."
A Gallup poll from 2008 found that individuals who report being alone all day perform the poorest on the Happiness-Stress Index, emphasizing the importance of some socialization in everyday life.
With everything we have on our plate, prioritizing time with friends and family can easily fall by the wayside. If you think you aren't spending enough time with others, consider these 11 signs you're not socializing enough.
1. You Wouldn't Know Who To Call If Something Bad Happened
If it's hard to define a few people you're close to, you might want to consider strengthening some of your relationships. Ask yourself who you would call if something bad were to happen. "When someone struggles to answer this question, it's a major red flag that they aren't connected enough to other human beings," says psychotherapist Jennifer Weaver-Breitenbecher LMHC, CRC over email.
2. You're Part Of A Clique Of 2
It's great to have a constant partner in crime, but it's also important to try and branch out and not just rely on only one friend. "People who are in cliques of two feel safe with each other but lost in larger groups," says psychologist Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. over email. In case that person isn't around anymore, you'll want to have other means of support, as well as have exposure to other lifestyles and viewpoints.
3. You're Anxious Or Stressed
It can be a Catch-22, because when you're stressed and anxious, sometimes the last thing you want to do is spend time around other people. However, multiple studies show that socializing can actually help improve your happiness and decrease stress levels. One study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that young adults who socialize report better having better mental health than their peers who don't spend time around others.
5. You're Not Motivated
Spending time around friends can help you define your priorities, according to Psychology Today. "You need the stimulation of others asking you about your work to revive your interest in your productivity and home life," says Hollman. "Picking up the phone and chatting with someone can revive your desire to get things done."
6. Your Friends Stop Inviting You Places
"If your friends become accustomed to your frequent excuses to not go out, they'll probably stop asking," says professor of psychology Joanne Bagshaw, Ph.D, over email. "So if you begin to see pictures on social media of your friends out having a good time without you, that's a good indicator that it's time to get back into the swing of things and say yes to more invites."
7. You're Not Meeting Anyone New
If you feel like you don't meet any people, whether they be potential new friend or romantic prospects, you probably need to spend a bit more time with others. Socializing with friends is an important way to make new friends, according to Psychology Today. Meeting new people can help make life feel fresh, and you never know who you'll end up bonding with.
8. You Dread Waking Up Because You Feel Alone
If you're waking up with a feeling of dread, you might want to find a way to get some more social support. "You may not realize the reason for this difficulty getting out of bed because it has become so habitual," says Hollman. "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."
9. You're Not Exercising
Getting to the gym can seem like a chore, and if you haven't been going recently, it might have something to do with all that time you're spending alone. A study from Kansas State University found that people who exercised with a fit friend worked out up to 200 percent harder and longer than others.
10. You're Sick Often
Getting sick often might seem like it has nothing to do with how much time you spend around people, but loneliness can have an affect on you beyond just your mental health. A study from the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that being lonely can affect your immune system, increasing chronic inflammation and lowering levels of certain antiviral compounds.
11. You're Struggling To Deal With Grief
Going through something difficult can make it really hard for you to get up and be around people. However, studies show that people who have social support from friends and family are better able to cope with their grief, according to Everyday Health. If you're going through a hard time, spending time around others can actually end up being healing.