I’m not really an EOTS, but some starting points:
Deliberately thinking about the ratio of online:real-life friends is important; see Transferring connections from online to real-life for more:
After you have some experience interacting within a community online, it may be worth investigating whether these connections can be transferred to a real life (i.e. non-online) setting. For some, this type of transfer may be especially fruitful.
Here are some further considerations:
- Obviously personal safety must be taken into account.
- Some of the topics discussed on this wiki, such as rationality, effective altruism, and Quora, already have local meetup groups; see Less Wrong meetup groups, effective altruism meetups, and Quora meetups. Other potentially useful meetups can be found on e.g. Meetup.com.
- Remember that meeting up in person will become easier once one is older and can drive to meetups, live on a college campus where these take place, and so on.
- A corollary to this is that if you are young, going to meetups will allow you to interact with older people who share your interests. This can be useful for both sides; see the questions “In what ways do you think older people benefit from interacting with younger people, besides feeling good about helping?” (Facebook) and “For high school and early college (or equivalent) students, how has regular casual interaction with people in their mid-to-late 20s influenced you?” (Quora).
Good Mood: The New Psychology of Overcoming Depression might be good, but I haven’t taken a look at it yet.
Bryan Caplan writes:
There’s a lot in Good Mood that I’m tempted to criticize. He barely considers genetic theories of depression, and is quick to blame childhood experiences for adult unhappiness. Furthermore, Simon doesn’t seem to realize that “sweeping away the unpleasant thoughts” can be a lot like “trying to not think about pink elephants.” Sometimes the harder you try not to think about something, the more it keeps popping back into your head; that’s one of the key insights behind exposure therapy.
However despite this, Caplan seems to have a lot of respect for Simon. What Caplan says about Simon is inspiring:
Overall, though, Simon’s personal odyssey boosts my already vast admiration for him. Most depressives accomplish little other than spreading their misery to the people around them. Simon, in contrast, was an incredibly creative and productive scholar despite his inner sorrow.
Evolutionary approaches to depression on Wikipedia
Russell’s The Conquest of Happiness