Mental illness is more common than most people think. Around one out of every five adults will deal with some form of mental illness in their lifetime. If you’re that one person, trying to make friends might seem about as appealing as pulling your teeth out, but a good group of friends can also be an invaluable support structure to help you through your darkest times. If you’re having trouble making friends, here are a few tips and tricks that might help you bring awesome new people into your life.

1. Love yourself.

It’s so much easier to get other people to love you if you take the time to love yourself first. It’s not as simple as it sounds, but it can help you make friends. You’ll also find if you feel better about yourself, it can make things easier to bear (though I’m not suggesting this is a cure for mental illness). Try focusing on your physical health, making a list of small goals or just doing something you enjoy every day.

2. Join a support group.

Mental health support groups can be a great place to make friends because you don’t have to worry about being judged for your mental illness. Usually, everyone in the group is going through a similar experience and is trying to find ways to reach out and connect with other people. Don’t feel like you have to stay with one support group just because it’s the first one you picked. Feel free to try a bunch until you find a group of people you mesh with.

3. Take a class.

You don’t have to go back to school for this trick. Find a class that offers something you’re interested in like cooking, sewing, painting, etc. These classes can be a great way to find people who have similar interests while doing something you enjoy. Plus, you can hone skills you already have and learn new skills at the same time.

– Corinne Keating

Read More: 6 Tips for Making Friends While Struggling With Mental Illness

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