3 Crucial Ways to Support a Friend with Social Anxiety

You’re here to understand ways to support a friend with social anxiety. You may be the more outgoing friend, and are a little more extroverted. It’s easy for you to make conversation with others, go out into public alone, and be comfortable in large social settings.

However, one of your friends may struggle with social anxiety. They get anxious thinking about going out to places they are not familiar with. Maybe they are uncomfortable hanging around people they don’t know well, and don’t easily make conversations with others.

You notice that your friend may struggle when you go out in public together. They might get nervous, insecure, or uncomfortable in social situations. It’s difficult for them to enjoy time out when they are unfamiliar with the people around them. 

It’s important to you that your friend feels supported and validated. Struggling with social anxiety can be very stressful, and it can make people feel isolated and alone. You want to ensure that your friend feels comfortable and safe in your own friendship!

There are 3 crucial ways for you to support a friend with social anxiety. The first one is to offer them a safe space. This could be for them to talk about any anxieties, worries, insecurities, or fears they have going on for them. 

The second way is to continue keeping them in the loop. It’s easy for individuals with social anxiety to feel left out, or that they are a burden. Make them feel included when you can. Continue to invite them out, or let them know they are being thought of!

Finally, encourage them to seek out other mental health resources, such as starting anxiety therapy. While you are there for them as a friend, it’s important for them to seek professional help and guidance for their social anxiety. 

Check out this blog on 3 Ways to Manage Social Anxiety!

A Simi Valley psychotherapist is able to work with your friend with social anxiety to develop tangible tools, coping mechanisms, and help support them through anxiety therapy.

3 Crucial Ways to Support a Friend with Social Anxiety: Offer a safe space for them

group of friends on their phones and spending time together alone after anxiety therapy in Simi Valley, ca

Offer a safe space to your friend while they cope with their social anxiety. This can look like checking in on them on a regular basis for them to share how they are doing. You can engage in conversations about how things are going for them. You can also practice active listening and just give them a space to talk about what’s on your mind.

Social anxiety can leave people feeling lonely, so having your support is a great thing. Giving them opportunities to share and express their feelings will allow them to relieve the stress of it all. People with social anxiety can feel stuck in their own heads and need to express their feelings in a healthy manner.

Sometimes, people just want to feel heard and understood. It can be better to listen to someone and acknowledge their words, over trying to give them advice. Show your friend you are listening by repeating what they say back to them, maintaining focus on them, and nodding your head.

Here’s a blog on self-care tips that you can share with your friend!

Avoid going on your phone or electronic devices when they are speaking to you. Also avoid being preoccupied with some task, such as doing work or homework. You can definitely set boundaries for the limits of how you can be there for them, for example for needing to get to studying or doing work. While you are able to be there for them, give them your undivided attention!

3 Crucial Ways to Support a Friend with Social Anxiety: Continue to keep them in the loop

group of friends and dog hanging in a park having a picnic after they had anxiety therapy in Simi Valley, ca

Continue keeping your friend in the loop about what’s going on. It’s great to continue including them and inviting them when you can, even if you know they may not be interested. It shows that you are thinking about them, and want them around with you. 

People with social anxiety can oftentimes feel like a burden in their friends and familys’ lives. They want to be included and engaged, but struggle with their anxieties, fears, and worries. It’s possible that they feel bad about themselves when they are not included, if friends and family members just assume they won’t want to go.

You can even invite them out to simple outings with yourself as well. Whether it be a quick (or not so quick) Target run, going to the grocery store, or the mall – extend the invite. You can hangout while independently shopping, together.

Connect with your friend to understand what would make them feel comfortable. It could be that they do not want to be invited every time. Maybe being invited makes them feel nervous and overthink, and they’d rather not be aware of every plan they may miss out on.

Make sure to check in with them to see how they are feeling about invitations out. Don’t push your friend beyond their comfort zone, but encourage them if you feel like they’d have a fun time! Your support will continue to go a long way.

Click here to read a blog on how to challenge negative thoughts.

Anxiety counseling is a great way to address concerns of social anxiety. In Simi Valley, we offer both in-person and virtual anxiety counseling!

3 Crucial Ways to Support a Friend with Social Anxiety: Encourage them to seek professional help

group of friends hiking together and spending time with one struggling with social anxiety

Check out this blog on 3 tips for finding a therapist!

In the end, it’s a great idea to encourage them to seek out professional help. As a friend, you have the ability to listen to them and make them feel heard and validated. However, you don’t want to be the only source for receiving support during this time.

Seeking out an anxiety therapist and anxiety treatment is a great idea for anyone struggling with social anxiety. It will help them provide an appropriate place to focus on exploring thoughts, feelings, and ideas for treatment. Although you are there for them, it can be a lot to be the only person they can speak to. 

Anxiety therapists oftentimes may assign clients homework assignments and curate treatment plans based on collaboration with their client. Together, the therapist and client can come up with a treatment plan that feels safe. Working with a professional will help your friend see real results in regards to their social anxiety.

Consider connecting with an anxiety therapist in Simi Valley, Ca today. We also offer virtual anxiety therapy throughout the state of California!

group of friends hanging out even though one has social anxiety and was hesitant to go out with them

About Simi Psychological Group: We are a team of psychologists and therapists in Simi Valley, Ca offering an array of therapy services. 

At our therapy practice in Simi Valley, Ca we offer Child therapy and family counseling, Teen therapy, Anxiety Treatment, Depression Therapy, Marriage Counseling, and Neuropsychological Testing. Now Offering Online Therapy in Los Angeles and Online Counseling Ventura County