Social anxiety can cause someone to live with intense fear and hopelessness. It can affect their quality of life and keep them from spending time with people—even people they genuinely care about.
If you have a partner with social anxiety, it’s often hard to see them struggle with some of the symptoms. You might feel just as helpless and hopeless, not knowing what you can do for them.
But, there are things you can do not only to support your partner with social anxiety but to help them manage their symptoms. With your support, they can enjoy a better quality of life and a stronger relationship with you.
So, what can you do for your partner with social anxiety to help them through their fears?
Talk About What They’re Feeling
If you don’t struggle with social anxiety, it’s often hard to fully grasp what your partner might be feeling. So, always be open and willing to talk to them about it. When your partner can talk openly and honestly about those feelings, it’ll give you a better understanding of what they’re going through.
Keep in mind that most people with social anxiety know those fears aren’t rational. They don’t need you to try and “fix” them. Merely listening and acknowledge their feelings and doing so in a non-judgmental way can be a big help.
Don’t Avoid All Social Situations
It would be best if you didn’t force your partner to attend every social event they can. That can make things worse. But, it is okay to encourage them to be more social. Avoiding every last social situation isn’t healthy for them, and it’s not productive, either.
With your encouragement and support, you can help them to get out of the house and engage in social activities. You can start small by getting together with a few friends for a short time. Assure your partner that if they start feeling scared or overwhelmed, you can leave.
Over time, you can start to attend more events or outings, stay longer, be in larger groups of people, etc. Encouraging these small steps is a great way to help your partner with their fears rather than enable them.
Help Them Deal with Negative Thoughts and Self-Talk
Many people have social anxiety because they’re afraid that people are judging them or thinking negative things about them. It’s essential to encourage your partner to fight against those negative thoughts.
If they’re afraid of going out with friends because they fear they’ll be judged somehow, you can give them peace of mind by suggesting that their friends love them and would never think poorly of them.
Shutting down negative self-talk and damaging thoughts can sometimes be enough to let your partner be more social and attend more events.
Encourage Them to Get Help When It’s Needed
Your partner needs to feel your support and encouragement, but you also don’t have to do it alone. If their symptoms have become crippling and are impacting their lives daily, try suggesting counseling.
A therapist can help your partner get to the root of their social anxiety. They can also provide more suggestions on how to overcome it with time.
If you have a partner with social anxiety, you don’t have to watch them struggle with their fears forever. Anxiety can be managed. By being supportive and doing what you can to help them, you’ll make a massive difference in their life.
If you’re in the Oakland, CA area, feel free to contact me for more information on how to support your partner with social anxiety or visit my page on [insert specialty link] to learn more about how I can help.