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If your friend has social anxiety, it can be quite painful and difficult to understand.
Social anxiety affects so many of us, but unfortunately not that many people talk openly about it.
People are too afraid of being judged, and this only sparks a lot of stigma and misunderstandings.
People who don’t have social anxiety often mistake people with this mental illness as shy or wallflowers.
But that’s not always the case.
As someone who struggles greatly with social anxiety, here are 4 ways you can help someone with social anxiety.
4 Ways to Help Someone With Social Anxiety
1. CONTINUE TO INVITE THEM
I know it’s only a natural reaction when someone constantly says no to social situations that you would just stop inviting them altogether.
But please fight past that urge and still invite your friend to spend time with you.
Usually, we actually want to be social. We want to have friends and not feel so lonely all the time.
It’s just incredibly hard for us, because we get filled with intense anxiety every time we even just think about social situations.
And even if we say no 9 times out of 10, still invite us to hang out and go places.
It’ll mean more to us than you’ll probably ever know.
2. TRY TO UNDERSTAND THEM
Imagine the feeling you get before you have to give a presentation in front of very important people.
Well, that’s pretty much how we feel whenever we have to be social.
We’re scared of rejection. We’re scared feeling like an idiot.
We are so scared of being viewed negatively and talked about behind our backs.
It’s not something we can simply “get over.”
Social anxiety doesn’t discriminate
We get social anxiety when we have to meet someone new or have to face big crowds.
We feel it when we have to order food at our favorite restaurant, even when we’ve been to it 80,000 times.
We can’t just initiate conversations with strangers.
Social anxiety even creeps up on us around people we’ve known for years.
It’s even hard for us to initiate conversations with friends or family, even with texting or emails.
(Let’s not even begin trying to talk about making a phone call to see how you’re doing.)
And if your friend said yes to hangout but cancels later on, try your hardest to not get mad or take it personally.
We’re doing the best we can at this moment.
Social Anxiety eBook and Workbook
Social Anxiety to Social Success is a fantastic eBook, if you’re ready to gain control over your social anxiety.
I love that it’s super easy to follow along to, and there’s even a workbook so you can track your progress!
3. HAVE AN ESCAPE PLAN
Okay, so your friend finally gathered the courage to attend a social situation.
Now it’s time to have their back.
Keep in mind, your friend might want to be attached at the hip, because you might be their only comfort zone.
The problem with this is that it’s not practical.
There will be times you have to step away from them for a while, as well as times when you will be engaging in conversations with other people.
This might cause your friend to have severe feelings of social anxiety. This might make them panic.
Chances are your friend might want to leave unexpectedly.
If your friend needs to leave, support them and leave with them.
Try to not make a big scene or deal about this when this happens.
Your friend is already feeling embarrassed as it is.
You being there will help them tremendously.
And you can always go back when your friend has made it home safely.
4. TELL THEM IT’S OKAY
When you finally leave the social situation, your friend might experience some trauma afterward.
This is a very common time when all the bad, negative thoughts come creeping in.
Your friend might begin to second-guess every word, every laugh, and every single movement they made.
They might cry from an overwhelming sense of embarrassment and regret.
This is just a normal reaction for them.
Try not to ridicule them. Don’t tell them that they’re being irrational or stupid. Try not to even offer any advice.
Instead, be an ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on.
Let them know that you’re there for them, and you’re not going to stop being their friend because of their social anxiety.
Friend with Social Anxiety
When your friend lives with social anxiety, you might feel completely confused about how to help them.
For a recap:
⭐ Continue to invite them
⭐ Try to understand them
⭐ Have an escape plan
⭐ Tell them it’s okay
If you have social anxiety, what do you wish your friend knew?
More social anxiety posts:
- 8 Truths of Living with Social Anxiety Disorder
- 28 Incredibly Relatable Songs About Social Anxiety
- 17 Soothing Meditations for Overcoming Social Anxiety
- 50 Positive Affirmations for Overcoming Social Anxiety
Did you know that there is online therapy?
Online Therapy is a complete online therapy toolbox.
Your therapy toolbox includes:
- Live video, voice, or text chat session with your therapist
- 8 easy-to-follow sections, including 25 worksheets
- Activity plan, journal, and tests
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