Supporting loved ones with social anxiety can be a challenging, yet profoundly impactful experience. Social anxiety is more than just shyness. It can be a deeply distressing and isolating condition for those who struggle with it. As a friend, family member, or partner, there are numerous ways you can provide support. As well as create a safe, understanding environment for your loved one. Here are some key points to keep in mind when supporting someone with social anxiety:

  1. Educate Yourself – Understanding social anxiety and its impact is the first step in offering meaningful support. Take the time to research and learn about the symptoms, triggers, and potential treatments for social anxiety. Consequently, this knowledge will allow you to better comprehend what your loved one is going through and how you can be of help (Alyssa, 2023).
  2. Open Communication – Encourage open and honest communication with your loved one. Let them know that you are there to listen without judgment and that they can share their feelings and concerns with you. Most importantly, be patient and understanding and avoid dismissing their experiences or offering simple solutions (Alyssa, 2023).
  3. Be Mindful of Triggers—Each person’s experience with social anxiety is unique. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of specific triggers that may cause distress for your loved one. Whether it’s crowded spaces, public speaking, or social gatherings, understanding their triggers can help you provide support by offering alternatives or finding ways to mitigate anxiety in those situations (Alyssa, 2023).
  4. Offer Reassurance and Validation – Reassure your loved one that their feelings are valid and that you are there to support them. Avoid criticizing or pressuring them to “just get over it.” Instead, offer words of encouragement and validation to help them feel understood and supported (The recovery village, 2022).
  5. Respect Their Boundaries – Respect your loved one’s boundaries and comfort levels. Avoid pushing them into social situations that may cause extreme distress. Instead, work with them to find manageable ways to participate in activities they are comfortable with.
  6. Encourage Professional Help – While your support is invaluable, it’s essential to encourage your loved one to seek professional help. Therapy, counselling, or other forms of treatment can provide them with coping mechanisms and strategies to manage their social anxiety (The recovery village, 2022).
  7. Practice Patience – Moreover, supporting someone with social anxiety can be a long-term commitment. Be patient and understanding, as progress may be gradual. Celebrate even small victories and continue to be a source of encouragement and support (The recovery village, 2022).

    Above all, remember, supporting a loved one with social anxiety requires empathy, patience, and a willingness to understand their unique experiences. By being a compassionate and supportive presence in their lives, you can make a meaningful difference in their journey toward managing and overcoming social anxiety.

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Yasmine Bonnici graduated in Nursing and also completed her Masters in Counselling. She has worked with victims of domestic violence, clients dealing with suicidal ideations, bereavement, separation and anxieties. She is currently working with Willingness Team as a counsellor seeing clients who would like to explore their own identity and deal with any surfacing issues.


Alyssa (2023) Handle social anxiety at family gatherings: Banyan Mental Health, Mental Health Program at Banyan Treatment Centers. Available at: (Accessed: 12 February 2024). 

The recovery village (2022) How to help a friend with social anxiety: 8 tips for managing social anxiety, The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab. Available at: (Accessed: 12 February 2024).