3 Tips To Support A Loved One With Social Anxiety
Photo by healthyplace.com
Do you know someone with social anxiety and you don’t know how to help?
Don’t worry, I’m here to share 3 useful ways to help someone who is struggling with social anxiety cope with this invisible illness.
Before I share that, I just want to explain briefly what social anxiety is.
It is an illness that can affect anyone, and you won’t be able to actually tell if anyone has it, unless they tell you.
For me, most people often mistook me for just being an introvert or just being shy and quiet when I actually have social anxiety.
There are also others who don’t appear shy - they are actually seem quite social - but they might be having social anxiety too.
You see, it’s important not to judge anyone from what you can see cos there are always things about a person we don’t know.
So, in fact, it’s better to not judge at all.
Anyway, if you know someone who has social anxiety, it’s most probably because they told you about it personally or let you know in one way or another.
Either way, it will be helpful that you find out more about this illness so that you will know what to do to help them feel comfortable in social situations.
One of the things you should know about social anxiety is that this illness causes a person suffering from it to be uncomfortable or fearful in social situations.
Social situations can be for example like a gathering, communicating with people or even situations where they are most likely being watched and commented on for things they are doing, like maybe when they are giving a speech, a performance, or even when they are eating.
Those are just some of the examples that can cause people with social anxiety get really uncomfortable and anxious.
Having social anxiety can be very hard to deal with, especially if they don’t have anyone they can trust.
So, if anyone let you know that they have social anxiety, it means that in one way or another, you actually mean something to them and want you to be a part of their lives.
The least you can do is stop judging or assuming. Make them know that you are genuinely there for them and that they are not alone.
I also know that it can be quite hard for you if you don’t know what to do to help the people you know who have social anxiety.
That’s why I am here now to do my best and help you so you can help them, insha Allah.
Ok, so here are the 3 ways that you can do to help them.
Firstly, what you can do is to make them more comfortable in social situations.
For example, if you are all at a gathering, do check in with them every hour or every few hours, but do it discreetly. Don’t attract any unnecessary attention towards them.
So just discreetly ask them if they need anything. And if you actually notice that they are uncomfortable, get them away from the crowd for a while.
If their anxiety isn’t going away, spend time with them until they feel better.
This means that you must be OK to leave the gathering or any social events without worrying that the other people there might think bad of you or think lesser of you.
You must show that you are fully present, that you are fully there to help them cope with their anxiety even if it means that you have to miss out on the fun of a social event.
Ok, so, the 2nd way to help them, especially if they decide to stay in the social situations even when they are uncomfortable, is to give them something else to focus on.
They are already so focused on how others are thinking of them so it’s best to distract them from doing that.
To do that, you can suggest to the others to play some games, like board games or video games.
People with social anxiety welcome this change, as long as the games don’t involve much talking or interaction.
If that didn’t make them feel better, then it’s best to take a break from the crowd until they are ready to return.
The 3rd way that can help them cope with social anxiety is to encourage them to seek professional help.
Sometimes you may hit a roadblock and don’t know how else to help them.
But always remember that it’s ultimately their choice. Don’t force them or it will make things worse.
It is always best to get professional help, especially if it’s their first time, so that they can get an accurate diagnosis or even uncover any other underlying issues they might have.
Later on, they might not even need to continue the therapy sessions. But that doesn’t mean they are cured.
They just feel they don’t need to go for those sessions anymore and that’s OK. They believe that they are better and know how to cope.
And it’s important that you support that too, and most probably you would have seen the improvement too.
Believing that they are better and continue to get better is an essential factor towards recovery, and you play a part in instilling that belief in them through your support.
They might relapse, and it might seem that things are back to square one, but that usually isn’t true.
Just continue to be there for them, make them comfortable in social settings, and they will continue to get better, insha Allah.
Ok, so those are the 3 useful ways to help someone with social anxiety. Hope you have benefited from what I’ve shared today.
Thank you everyone for reading.