Socialization and recovery

When I typed the topic in, a box appeared to the right that said, “Your topic is similar to…” and there appeared links to topics about socialization, recovery and social anxiety.

Many people over the years have written about how isolated their family member is. Several people said that the person had social anxiety in childhood before SZ started.

I pointed out an upcoming nearby Meetup group hike, which my son wasn’t interested in. He goes walking all the time, so I thought it might be of interest to him.

How do you encourage social engagement without pushing? I think everyone needs connection and the social skills that go with it. It seems like it would be an important part of recovery.


Hi. Yes, socializing is important, for all of us.

My brother, recovering for decades, is alert to most attempts I’ve made to encourage him to socialize. Example: I really thought I “had something” awhile back with a local dog shelter that needed dog walkers. I was willing to do this with him so he could meet and visit other people (and animals)… but he had, oh, 65 reasons why this wasn’t really his thing, so I dropped it. In general, when I push for such engagement, I end up feeling wrong, like I’m trying to set up a playdate for him, a guy in his sixties!

He has a part-time job and does talk there some, so I can back off somewhat.

What HAS worked to alleviate MY distress at his perceived loneliness is that I’ve redefined socializing. It’s not going to look or unfold the way it would for other people.

Lately, what seems to boost his mood and self-esteem is this. If he has an idea about an errand or some interest (ie “I’d like to buy a music CD”) I go along and well, I just draw out the experience a little longer than he would have done if it involves talking with other people, so that he gets a chance to do that more. And I try to model for him the protocol of hello, how are you, oh that’s interesting, thank you so much, isn’t the weather nice today? Honestly, I think I do that for me; he is thus far humorously indifferent to most such patter. But I find in doing extended errands like this that a little goes a long way for him. He will think for hours or even days about a single interaction. Knowing that, I see how counterproductive it was to push my idea of socializing–some rigorous event with a set agenda or schedule with all the same people and pressure to be consistent. That probably IS overwhelming.

Like you, though, I’ll probably still keep pointing out options. It can’t hurt, right?


I can see how it could be the norm for people with SZ to have social anxiety – especially if they’ve had traumatic things happen while they were delusional and hearing voices.

I like the idea of accompanying him somewhere and modeling a social interaction protocol with strangers. He’s invited me to accompany him to a public event related to his business and I was inclined not to go, but now I think I will.