a woman waiting to tell her family about her social anxiety

Talking to Your Family About Social Anxiety

The prospect of talking to your family about your social anxiety may sound terrifying, but it can actually be beneficial on several fronts. For one, opening up and sharing such a personal struggle is great for overcoming your anxiety of interacting with others. Additionally, you’ll find that this is a much easier battle to fight when you have family members rooting for you and offering their support. If you’re unsure of how to initiate a conversation like this, use these tips to get the ball rolling.

Be honest.

Your family can’t offer their full support if you’re unwilling to share the full extent of your problems. While social anxiety can feel like an embarrassing condition, it’s important to remember you’re not sharing your secret with strangers on the street—you’re sharing it with relatives who will be able to offer you the reassurance and love that you need. Being honest about the extent of your anxiety is rarely a decision you will regret.

Be understanding.

If your family is unaware about the realities of social anxiety, don’t hold it against them. In many social circles, this condition is still a bit unknown or taboo, so it makes sense that some people may be reluctant to discuss it. Equip yourself with information to share about social anxiety, and try your best to present it compassionately. Even if they’re skeptical at first, you’re likely to change their minds if you’re firm but understanding.

Ask for help.

Showing your family concrete ways they can help you manage this condition is just as important as providing them with information about social anxiety in general. Often family members want to help but are unsure of what good they can do, so this is a great way to give them confidence that their actions will make a positive and noticeable impact in your life.

Use it as a bonding opportunity.

Let your family know that talking with them isn’t all about you. Although their support will no doubt help you deal with this condition, point out that this is the perfect opportunity to grow closer and stronger as a family. Additionally, make sure your family realizes that support isn’t a one-way street—be available to help them with any issues they might be dealing with as well. 

Last Updated: February 22, 2017