You really can’t judge a book by its cover. Take the social butterfly of your friend group, for example: Her friendly persona is genuine, sure, and she really does enjoy joining the conversation, but her nervous body language tells a different story. Anyone could be suffering from social anxiety, and unless you’re particularly close with someone who has it, you’d probably never know it off the bat. When a friend or loved one confides in you, though, it can be helpful to research some of the best ways to help someone with social anxiety so the next time you hang out in a group setting, you’re able to spot the red flags and jump in to make them feel more comfortable.
According to the Social Anxiety Institute, social anxiety disorder is the third largest psychological problem in the United States — yikes. Dr. Danielle Forshee, LLC, a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker, tells Elite Daily that someone struggling with this type of anxiety typically has "a very intense fear and anxiety about being in social situations," which can include having a conversation with someone, meeting new people, performing in front of others, or even being observed while doing something, like eating, drinking, or giving a speech.
Your best friend could have social anxiety, and you might not even know it. It's not that socially anxious people don't enjoy being social — they can have extroverted, as well as introverted personalities — they're just simply hyper-aware, and often very fearful of, what others think of them. It's not an easy thing to deal with, but it's even worse to muddle through alone. If a friend or loved one confides in you about their social anxiety, here are some ways to help them through it.