How to Help a Person With Social Anxiety Feel More Comfortable

Social Anxiety Disorder

How to Help a Person With Social Anxiety Feel More Comfortable

Social Anxiety Disorder

Feb 19 • 2019

Social anxiety disorder is one of the most common anxiety disorders. People with social anxiety disorder tend to feel quite nervous or uncomfortable in social situations. They are very concerned that they will do something embarrassing or humiliating, or that others will think badly of them. These individuals are very self-conscious and constantly feel “on stage.”

A social situation includes any situation in which you and at least 1 other person are present. Social situations tend to fall into 2 main categories: performance situations and interpersonal interactions.

Performance Situations

These are situations where people feel they are being observed by others. Examples include:

  • Public speaking (e.g. presenting at a meeting
  • Participating in meetings or classes(e.g. asking or answering questions)
  • Eating in front of others
  • Using public washrooms
  • Writing in front of others (e.g. signing a cheque of filling out a form)
  • Performing in public (e.g. singing or acting on stage, or playing a sport)
  • Entering a room where everyone is already seated

Interpersonal Interactions

These are situations where people are interacting with others and developing closer relationships. Examples include:

  • Meeting new people
  • Talking to co-workers or friends
  • Inviting others to do things
  • Going to social events (e.g. parties or dinners)
  • Dating
  • Being assertive
  • Expressing opinions
  • Talking on the phone
  • Working in a group (e.g. working on a project with other co-workers)
  • Ordering food at a restaurant
  • Returning something at a store
  • Having a job interview

Note: It is not uncommon for people to fear some social situations and feel quite comfortable in others.

For example, some people are comfortable spending time with friends and family, and interacting socially with co-workers but are very fearful of performance situations, such as participating in business meetings or giving formal speeches.

Also, some people fear only a single situation (such as public speaking), while others fear and avoid a wide range of social situations.

When faced with a feared social situation, people with social anxiety experience some of the following:

Negative thoughts (what you think)

  • People with social anxiety tend to have negative thoughts about themselves (e.g. “I’ll have nothing to say”), as well as how others will react to them (e.g. “Others will think I’m weird”)
  • People with social anxiety also tend to focus their attention on themselves during social situations. They focus on their performance and how anxious they feel and look
  • Examples: “I’m going to say something stupid” ;  “I’ll get anxious and others will notice” ;  “They won’t me” ;  “Others will think I’m stupid” ; “I’ll offend someone” ; or “No one will talk to me”

Physical symptoms (what you feel)

  • People with social anxiety are often very concerned about visible signs of anxiety, such as blushing or trembling.
  • Examples: racing heart, upset stomach, shaking, choking sensations, sweating, blushing, trembling, dry mouth, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, urge to urinate, etc.

Avoidance and safety behaviors (what you do)

  • People with social anxiety will often try to avoid or escape social situations. If they do go into social situations, they tend to do things to feel less anxious or to protect themselves from embarrassment or negative evaluation (e.g. if I’m worried about saying something stupid, then I’ll try to avoid talking).
  • Examples: Avoiding (e.g. not going to the party), escaping a scary social situation (e.g. leaving the party early) or engaging in protective behaviours to try and stay safe (e.g. drinking alcohol, staying quiet and avoiding eye contact).

When Does Social Anxiety Become a Problem?

It’s normal to feel anxious in social situations from time to time. For example, many people feel anxious in job interviews or when having to give a formal speech. Social anxiety can be a problem when it becomes too intense or happens too often. When it does, social anxiety can cause significant distress and affect many aspects of a person’s life including:

Work and school

  • Examples: difficulty with job interviews; problems interacting with bosses or co-workers; trouble asking and answering questions in meetings or classes; refusing job promotions; avoiding certain types of jobs or career paths; poor performance at work or school; decreased enjoyment of work or school.


  • Examples: difficulty developing and keeping friendships and romantic relationships; trouble opening up to others; difficulty sharing opinions

Recreational activities/hobbies

  • Examples: avoid trying new things; avoid taking classes or lessons; avoid activities that involve interacting with others, such as going skiing or to the gym

Day-to-day activities

  • Examples: difficulty completing daily activities, such as going grocery shopping, going out to eat, taking the bus, asking for directions, etc.

MAP is designed to provide adults struggling with anxiety with practical strategies and tools to manage anxiety. To find out more, visit our My Anxiety Plan website.

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Best Jobs for People with Social Anxiety

How to Help a Person With Social Anxiety Feel More Comfortable

People with a social anxiety disorder, when in social settings, may experience fear, self-consciousness, and embarrassment for no specific reason.

Symptoms may also include fear of situations in which they may be judged, worrying about being embarrassed or humiliated, and being concerned abfending someone. As you may be able to imagine, it can be difficult for a person with this disorder to find and hold onto a job.

As a mental health rehab in Florida with years of experience treating anxiety disorders, we’re sharing a list of the best jobs for people with social anxiety disorder.

Finding the Right Job With Social Anxiety

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) can affect your performance at work as well as your relationships with coworkers and supervisors. SAD can also make it difficult for you to find a job, considering the anxiety that a job interview can produce.

However, some of the best jobs out there for people with social anxiety may catch you by surprise. For people with social anxiety, finding work relies on the severity of their conditions and symptoms.

Some people with SAD feel comfortable in small social settings of three people or so, while others may feel nervous interacting with as few as only one or two other people.

Additionally, some people with social anxiety are extroverts that enjoy and even crave the company of others, even if they are fearful. If you fall into this category, then a job with more opportunities for social interaction might be more appropriate.

The bottom line is, your social anxiety will not improve if you isolate yourself from others. While you don’t have to be the center of attention, it’s important to interact with others to boost your confidence in social settings.

Oftentimes, the best jobs for people with anxiety are flexible and take you your comfort zone.

Good Jobs for People With Social Anxiety

A person can be diagnosed with depression depending on how long the symptoms last. A diagnosis is usually confirmed if any of the symptoms above last for two weeks or longer. At that time, individuals who are diagnosed with this condition are encouraged to get help.

Banyan Mental Health is a facility dedicated to helping individuals with depression and other mental disorders learn how to cope with their symptoms and find a healthy balance in life.

If you or someone you know is battling major depressive disorder, our depression treatment in Florida can help.

Although our list offers plenty of options, don’t feel limited to these jobs. If you have a dream career, pursue it. There are plenty of mental health therapy programs that can guide you in recovery and help you cope with symptoms so you can have the job of your dreams.

Veterinarian or Vet Tech

One of the best careers for people with social anxiety is veterinarian or veterinarian technician. Animals can provide a source of comfort that can bridge the gap between human interaction.

Vets often discuss details with pet owners, placing the individual with social anxiety in a position where they practice interacting with others and having the command of the room.

Vets are more ly to deal with people one-on-one, which can help them feel more comfortable in social settings outside of work.

Animals are also comforting, which is why they’re often used in mental health therapy. Banyan Mental Health actually offers pet therapy for people with conditions social anxiety to offer them support and comfort through treatment.

Gardener or Landscaper

As opposed to tight cubicles, meetings, and awkward interactions with coworkers, a person with social anxiety may enjoy the exposure to fresh air, sunshine, and time with nature that gardening or landscaping can provide. A person with SAD may find these kinds of jobs more relaxing and fulfilling than office work. This type of work also offers freedom, flexibility, and a sense of accomplishment when tangible results are seen every day.

Contractor, Tradesperson or Construction Worker

Tradespeople plumbers and electricians often work in homes and other job sites on their own and with limited social interaction.

Even when working on big jobs where helpers and tradespeople from other companies are involved, social interaction is limited to complete everything on time. An independent contractor can also work solo and continue to develop their skills without the need for constant social interaction.

However, social networking helps businesses grow, so independent contracting also offers the opportunity to develop your social skills and your business.


Tutoring is arguably the best starter job for someone with social anxiety because it allows you to practice social interaction with one or two people at a time.

Tutoring positions are also social anxiety jobs from home for people who experience milder SAD symptoms and can have interpersonal interactions with a few people at a time. Tutoring is also flexible.

You can tutor online, in your own home, in clients’ homes, or in businesses that provide tutoring services. These settings all offer different degrees of social interaction, depending on how comfortable you feel.

Bookkeeper, Tax Preparer, or Accountant

Accounting is another great job idea for people with social anxiety because it allows them to work independently.

Although there will always be a need to interact with others, the interaction itself is minimal, and it’s a great way to challenge your fears gradually through meetings with employers, coworkers, and clients.

Accountants and financial advisors can also work independently and have their own businesses, further limiting social interaction.

Data Entry, Statistician or Researcher

Data entry and research positions often allow employees the option to work remotely, which means you can work in the comfort of your own home.

Both statisticians and data entry clerk jobs also have strict guidelines, instructions, and deadlines, which can offer a comforting sense of structure to someone with social anxiety.

Even better would be the opportunity to work with someone a supervisor who serves as a wall between you and other employees.


Libraries offer quiet work environments where social interaction is limited, so librarian is a great job for people with social anxiety disorder.

Librarians spend many hours alone cataloging books and reorganizing and restocking shelves. They sometimes communicate one-on-one with visitors who have questions about where to find a book or book recommendations.

They may also have to take phone calls, but these are rare.

Dog Groomer or Walker

Working with animals provides people with SAD an opportunity to avoid or limit social interaction.

Working as a groomer or dog walker is a great position for someone with social anxiety because they’re offered at different locations, such as pet stores, private homes, and veterinary clinics.

Each setting offers different levels of comfort. Working with animals is also therapeutic, and the minor social interaction can serve as great practice.

Customer Service Support

Because of COVID-19, many people began working remotely. As a result, remote working has become more common, making now the best time for people with social anxiety to seek jobs customer service support to online sales.

Finding the perfect job for someone with SAD requires you to find positions that limit interactions with large groups of people.

While online customer support may require you to speak on the phone or communicate via email but because it’s not in person, this level of interacting is less stressful.

Writer or Editor

A writer or editor can work at home or remotely with little to no interpersonal interaction. Most communication is conducted via email and sometimes by phone, reducing symptoms of anxiety.

There are many different kinds of writing positions available, each of which can be tailored to the level of social interaction you’re ready for your condition.

Freelance writers and editors can also take jobs at their leisure and work with fewer deadlines than a person working for a company.

Entrepreneur or Business Owner

Sometimes, the best job choice is the one you create for yourself. As an entrepreneur or business owner, you can work for yourself, set your own schedule, hire your own team, and be responsible for your own success.

While some form of interaction is required in order to build your business, you’ll be able to hire more people over time who can take over the day-to-day interactions with customers and business partners.

You’ll also be able to avoid the stress that comes from having a supervisor watching over you or coworkers working alongside you.

While these might be some of the best jobs for people with social anxiety because they require limited interaction with others, you should never isolate yourself or avoid socializing completely. Our Banyan Mental Health center encourages people with SAD to seek anxiety treatment and practice socializing so they can have strong relationships and successful careers and get the most life.

Social anxiety is a treatable disease. With treatment, you’ll be able to handle social anxiety at family gatherings, work, school, and anywhere else. Don’t let it take over your life. If you or someone you know has social anxiety or any other form of mental illness, we can help. Call us now at 888-280-4763 to speak to a team member about our inpatient mental health rehab.


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