How to Give Hope to Someone with Social Anxiety

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Give a person with social anxiety hope by helping her set small achievable goals. Getty / Libertad Leal Photography

Do you know someone struggling with social anxiety? Help give that person hope with these ten tips.

  1. Tell the person that you love, value, and appreciate her no matter what she is going through. Make her realize that others are thinking about her and care about how she is doing, even when she isn't able to reach out.
  2. Tell the person that she deserves to be free of social anxiety. Nobody should have to cope with unmanageable anxiety on a daily basis. Often those with social anxiety develop depression because of the limits placed on their lives. Remind her that when she is free of social anxiety, she will be in a better place to help others and be generous with her time.
  1. Share how you have conquered your own fears. They don't even have to be related to social anxiety—just let that person know that something really scared you and you were able to overcome it.
  2. Be sure to also share those times when you have not felt so confident or faced failure in your life. Having hope means bending instead of breaking in difficult circumstances. Give hope to someone by showing that life is not always easy, by that obstacles can be overcome.
  3. Perhaps your friend has started therapy or a self-help program and isn't seeing progress. Remind him that change takes time. Rather than becoming impatient, ask him to wait a year and then compare where is then to how he is now. Social anxiety is not going to be solved in a day, and maybe not even in a year, but positive progress can always be made.
  4. Let your friend know that change is possible. Show her how others have overcome the same problem. Raise her hope by making the impossible become possible.
  1. Help your friend to define specific goals related to social anxiety. Hope is generated when goals are simple and limited, such as talking to a stranger or making a phone call once a week.
  2. Help that person develop passion as a way of building hope. Find a passion that relates to overcoming social anxiety, such as performing music or playing a sport. Passionate people are full of hope.
  1. Be hopeful yourself, so that some of your hope is transferred. Always talk in positive ways, about exciting plans for the future. Talk about the parties you will attend together, or whatever social situation you both might enjoy.
  2. Sometimes hope is a downward spiral. Offer any help that you can to someone who is struggling to gain their footing. This might even mean contacting a professional for help.

Sources:

Psych Central. 10 Ways to Help Someone Who's Depressed

University of Minnesota. The Science of Hope: An Interview with Shane Lopez

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