A mental health condition, social anxiety disorder (SAD) can cause anxiety during social interactions. People with this condition may feel uncomfortable talking to strangers, speaking in public, making eye contact, starting conversations, going to parties and so on.
According to WebMD, such people may be overwhelmed by a fear of being judged by others, being embarrassed or humiliated, accidentally offending someone or being the centre of attention.
If you come across any person with social anxiety disorder, how do you support them? Therapist and counsellor Sarla Totla recommended the following tips:
*Be patient and ask them what they need. Give them time and space to feel and heal.
*Focus on their feelings and triggers than how it makes you feel. Avoid criticism or blame-game.
*Educate yourself about SAD. Understand the symptoms, triggers, possible reaction and coping methods.
*Encourage treatment (such as CBT) by a mental health expert and support their recovery.
*If anxiety sets in, try to distract them with relaxing activities like taking a walk or playing a game.
*Praise small steps in their recovery process. Voice how proud you are of them.
What to not say to a person with SAD
Sarla Totla also listed some things you should avoid saying to a person with social anxiety:
*”It’s just a meeting/presentation/event.”
*”You are too old to behave this way.”
*”It must be so hard for you to live like this.”
*”Try to calm down.”
*”It is all in your head.”
*”What will others think?”
*”I know how you feel; I get nervous, too.”
*”You just need to ‘loosen’ up a little.”
*”Face your fears, only then you will learn!”
*”What’s wrong with you?”
*”Can you act normal?”
*”You need to get over yourself and show up.”
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