Taking yourself off house arrest

A wounded animal seeks shelter, but animals don't have to date, just mate. As far as we know, animals don't have to worry about job descriptions, well-meaning parents who nag, and a few extra pounds that don't look terrific in a bathing suit. Animals don't get hurt by misunderstandings or insecurities, animals don't feel self pity, and they don't have TV as an anesthetic. In other words, animals don't become couch potatoes because their true loves didn't come along. Although seeking shelter is fine if you're a four-legged forest creature, if you're a human, you need to get out and about. After all, we humans are usually not very well-served by hibernating. We sulk and obsess and analyze and feel more and more cut off.

Therefore, bunkie, if you're spending most of your time in front of the tube, hoping the good fairy of dating will come and hit you upside the head with an inspiration stick, you're wasting time. Get off your butt, turn off the tube, and get out of the house.

Sulking is not sexy, and it's not productive. Your vocal cords will seize up if you don't use 'em, and your social skills will shrivel. When you're feeling sorriest for yourself is when you most need to use your gumption rather than wishing you'd inherited straight teeth, a crooked smile, and a charm gene — and when you most need to get out of the house. Take a walk, take a course, take a hike (literally). The more sedentary you are, the less you feel like moving, and the less you move, the less you feel like moving. Emotionally, you can experience extreme sludgy-ness.

If you're not working, get a job or do some volunteer activity. If you're still in school, join a club. The point is to get out of your cave and visit the rest of the tribe. Doing so will change your perspective, clear up your skin, and keep you from brooding and thinking only about yourself.

This isn't a way to get a date; it's a way to get a life. Even if you've broken your leg, unless you want to be in a wheelchair the rest of your life, you've got to move that leg and re-energize the muscles. True, it won't be much fun to begin with, but it's the only way. Don't put yourself in the prison of your loneliness. Nobody but you has the key. Following are a few ideas you can use to get yourself out of the house and meet new people:

^ Make a plan to be out at least three days or nights a week — that's less than half the time — and to talk to at least three new people on each outing. I'm not talking about picking somebody up; a simple "hi," or a conversation about garbanzo beans or the weather will do.

^ Try going to new places, take a different route, or check out a new store. Shake up your world a bit. What do you have to lose? Only your sadness.

^ One of the best ways to make the transition from lonely to lovely is volunteer activities. Because you're not getting paid, you feel more in control, and because what you're offering (basically yourself) is valuable to someone, volunteer work is a great way to build self-confidence.

Continue reading here: Dealing with depression

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