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The Short Version: Dating can take a lot of mental and emotional energy, and it’s not always easy to see a clear path forward, especially if you’re battling depression. Fortunately, HeadsUpGuys has built a library of free resources to support, advise, and uplift men who live with depression. We asked the experts at HeadsUpGuys to provide some essential tips for single men looking to land a date, build a relationship, and feel less alone in the modern dating scene.
I was in seventh heaven in high school when one of my closest guy friends asked me out to dinner. I imagined us having a grand time getting all sappy and romantic with each other, but our heart-to-heart conversation took an unexpected turn.
“So I have depression,” he said bluntly. “My therapist diagnosed me a year ago, and I thought you should know.”
I was stunned. I’d known this guy for years, and I had had no idea how much he struggled with depression. He was the class clown. He was universally popular. It didn’t make sense to me, and the longer we talked, the more I saw that it didn’t make sense to him either — but that didn’t make his depression any less real.
Depression can cause guys to feel isolated even when they’re surrounded by friends, and it can be difficult for them to build close relationships while experiencing a mood disorder.
HeadsUpGuys is dedicated to helping men focus on their mental health and manage their symptoms so they are able to lead fulfilling lives. A team of clinicians, researchers, and mental health advocates have created HeadsUpGuys as a free resource for men struggling with depression.
Dating can seem like a daunting challenge to a man who is depressed, so we asked the HeadsUpGuys team to give us some insights on how men can overcome their fears and make genuine human connections.
“When depressed, you may have a tendency to withdraw from others and avoid starting new relationships, but that only makes matters worse in the long run,” the HeadsUpGuys team said. “As tough as it may seem, there are steps you can take — even now — to build confidence and stay in the game.”
HeadsUpGuys has a Self Check tool for people who think they may be suffering from depression. This short quiz can offer a baseline measure for how depression impacts a person’s everyday life. The results can clear up some misconceptions regarding depression and depressed people.
Depression is a real health condition, and it goes way beyond feeling sad sometimes. People who are depressed can struggle to summon enough energy to get out of bed in the morning and complete simple tasks. Depression can eat away at a person’s self-esteem and make them feel worthless — even when they have a lot to offer in a romantic relationship.
HeadsUpGuys encourages men to set aside their insecurities and focus on the positive when entering the dating scene. A guy with depression is just as worthy of love as any other guy.
It’s normal to experience frustration and rejection as you date different people and look for the right person who can understand what you’re going through.
“Depression is not who you are, and you have a lot more to offer than what you might perceive,” the HeadsUpGuys team said. “Entering the dating world takes courage as you also open yourself up to possible rejection, but try not to let someone else’s actions affect the way you view yourself.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted people’s lives in many ways, and it has had ripple effects on the dating scene. It’s a more complicated time to meet new people and build relationships, but it’s not impossible.
“You may have to adjust your strategies and give yourself more time to make connections,” the HeadsUpGuys team said. “As people may be more hesitant to meet in person, recognize that the first few times you meet with someone may be via video call.”
Arranging a video date or texting on a daily basis can help singles grow emotionally closer while observing social distancing guidelines. Singles can get creative with their virtual dates by taking a cooking class through Zoom or planning a movie marathon night.
Some ways of meeting new people are more stressful than others. Making a cold approach at a bar is one of the more gutsy ways to introduce yourself to a new person. If you’re not quite at that level confidence-wise, then you may want to start with something a little less public and obvious.
For example, attending a book club meeting, video game competition, or sports team practice could be good opportunities to meet people like you. Activity-based groups appeal to single adults who lead busy lives and want to expand their social circles in an organic way. Search Meetup.com for local gatherings, both in-person and online, that speak to your personal interests.
Simply making new friends could be helpful in the dating scene because many couples meet through mutual friends or acquaintances. You never know where a new connection may lead, so cast a wide net to take advantage of the social opportunities in your community.
“The main idea here is to expand your social circle and get more comfortable starting conversations,” the experts at HeadUpGuys said. “The more often you do it, the less stressful it will be, and when the right opportunity comes up, you’ll be ready to take the lead.”
Whether you’re playing kickball or going bar hopping, you can put yourself out there and increase your likelihood of building close relationships — without needing to use a pickup line.
Online dating is a tremendous opportunity for modern singles because it’s fast, far-reaching, and increasingly effective. About 30% of all U.S. adults have tried online dating, and 12% of adults say they have gotten into a relationship because of their online flirting activities.
During the pandemic, many social spots and community activities have shut down, but the online dating world is busier than ever.
“With so many people stuck inside and also feeling alone, online dating has become even more popular,” the HeadsUpGuys team said. “Since Covid-19, some apps have now also made it easier to switch to video calls directly in-app.”
It takes less than five minutes on average to complete an online dating profile and start searching for local date options. Online daters can set specific match preferences by characteristics like age, gender, religion, education, and appearance, or they can simply start swiping and see which profiles stand out.
The HeadsUpGuys team advises men to pay particular attention to the photos on their dating profile because that can be a make-or-break part of their first impression on potential matches. So avoid bathroom selfies and group shots.
It can be hard to judge how you look in your photos, so, if possible, ask a friend for advice about which photos show you in the best light. You may be surprised by the pictures people like and don’t like.
Singles should regularly update and tweak their dating profile to see what works and what doesn’t. Think of it as a big experiment. You may have to make adjustments to hit the right formula, but every iteration will help you learn more about yourself and the dating world.
Keep in mind that online dating isn’t a sure thing. You have to put in good energy to get good results, and sometimes things go wrong through no fault of your own. The fact is that men face a lot of competition when chatting up women online. That girl you’re messaging may be your only mutual match all week, but she may be fielding dozens of message requests and feeling overwhelmed — so don’t take it personally if she’s slow to respond on a Friday night.
HeadsUpGuys recommends that singles use online dating as a way of testing the flirtation waters and building their self-confidence. But men should always realize that compatibility is a two-way street, and it can take time for an online match to grow into a real relationship.
“Don’t let your self-worth be determined by how many matches you get — this is more a reflection of the limits of online dating, rather than a reflection of what you have to offer,” the HeadsUpGuys team said. “If you do match with someone, just be yourself. Find something you have in common and build from there.”
Depression can manifest itself in many different ways, and it can be difficult to open up about such personal struggles to a romantic partner. However, doing so can deepen your relationship and make you feel less alone. All it takes is the courage to take that first step forward.
HeadsUpGuys provides a lot of informative articles and motivational resources to nudge single men in a positive direction. Living with depression can be a heavy burden, and that’s why it’s important to continually reach out to people who can help lighten the load and bring greater meaning and joy to your days.
“There is no magic formula when it comes to dating,” the HeadsUpGuys team told us. “But if you put yourself in situations where you are meeting more people, you can increase your chances that you and someone you’d be great for may stumble upon each other.”