We’ve all got those friends who struggle in social situations. We don’t want to leave them out, but we know they get uncomfortable when in large groups. This article by Christine Warner (Real Ways to Support Your Friends Who Struggle With Social Anxiety features some suggestions from me on how you can help you friends feel a little better about those situations.
Dr. Kevin Hyde proposes events with a specific purpose: “While just hanging out over drinks can be very uncomfortable for someone with social anxiety, attending a sporting event or board game night takes some pressure off of them. When the focus of attention is the game, conversation becomes secondary, and your friend with social anxiety doesn’t need to feel as pressured to assume the spotlight in sharing his or her thoughts.”
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Creating space in the conversation through gentle prompts or pauses lets her jump in if she wants. Dr. Kevin Hyde, licensed psychologist, recommends, “If you can, allow some pauses to give them a chance to engage in the conversation. They often won’t actively speak up in a normal paced group conversation unless given the opportunity.”
Let me know if you have any suggestions that weren’t covered!