Everyone probably knows someone or is friends with someone that experiences anxiety. It can be really hard to know what to say to these friends if you haven’t actually had anxiety yourself. Having dealt with anxiety most of my life, I can tell you what you should not say to your anxious friend and what will help them instead.
1. Do not, I repeat, do not tell your friend “Just calm down, it’s not a big deal”. By doing this, not only are you going to make your friend annoyed for not understanding what they’re going through but you’re not helping them at all. Instead of saying this, simply ask them if there is anything you can do to help.
2. Another word anxious people can’t stand hearing is When you tell an anxious person to just relax, it doesn’t help at all. If you’re in a state of anxiety, chances are you’re not able to relax and being told that will only make it worse.
3. Do not tell say to your friend, “I don’t get why you’re even thinking about that.” First off, this would make anyone feel bad and make someone feel like their feelings are invalid. When you’re anxious, it’s harder to control what you’re thinking about.
4. Try to be understanding if your friend needs to leave somewhere early or needs some alone time. Everyone is different when they’re anxious, but usually loud or crowded places are the last place an anxious person wants to be at.
5. Last but not least, simply tell your friend that you are there for them. It’s the little things that mean the most and just hearing these words can help reduce some anxiety.
Your anxious friends are thankful to have supportive people in their lives and really depend on others when they may be feeling really anxious. Like I said, it is hard for someone to fully understand anxiety if you have not experienced it yourself. Talking to someone who does deal with it will help you better understand it and learn how to help others.