If you have a friend with anxiety, but you yourself do not suffer, it can be hard to know what is best to say or do. It’s important to be there for them though. It’s just knowing how to do that.
Just asking how your friend is feeling and being a non-judgmental listening ear can be a huge help. One size does not apply to all when it comes to anxiety, so by talking with, and listening to, your friend you’ll be able to know what you can do to help them.
“Oh, I get stressed too.”
Yes… but imagining that a person with an anxiety disorder just has normal stress is one of the most unhelpful things someone can do. Anxiety is a serious mental health condition, and not regular stress. Empathy and sympathy are helpful, but saying “I know just how you’re feeling, I get stressed too” is not.
Support but don’t pressurise
If someone with anxiety is feeling too anxious and feels they need to cancel plans then talk to them and see if you can help them to give the plans a go. Perhaps adapt what you were going to do so they feel more able to take part. Be patient and encourage and support, but be careful not to pressurise them.
Don’t take things too personally
If your friend suddenly has to cancel plans, or leave, or is finding it hard to talk to you, just remember, it’s not your fault and it’s not a reflection on you or your friendship.