1. If they bail on plans, try not to hold it over their head for too long. Chances are they’re beating themselves up enough for the both of you.
2. But even if they do frequently bail — don’t stop asking them if they want to hang out.
4. Sometimes they’re going to need to analyze things a little longer than you might, but try to be patient.
Like what did that text mean? And should they have signed that email to their boss with “Best” or “Kind regards”? And do you think that Alice really wanted to invite them to her party or did she just do it because they have mutual friends?
5. If you ask them to a social thing they’re not familiar with, try and be open to answering all of their questions.
Like will there be food? Because if there’s not food, they’ll want to make sure they eat before. Will they know anyone else? Should they bring something? And what kind of attire will everyone be wearing? Because they don’t want to be overdressed, but god forbid they’re underdressed.
6. Since anxiety and mental illness manifest in different ways for different people, don’t be afraid to ask your friend HOW you can help.
7. Sure, sometimes it’s funny how “awkward” they are, but if they’re already stressing over something they did, try not to add onto it.
Like if they said “Thank you” when the server asked how they were — try to let it slide. You don’t need to tip-toe around them, but be mindful that it’s hard enough to let those awkward moments go without your reminder.
8. If they blush — even if it’s over what seems like “nothing” — you don’t need to say “YOUR FACE IS SO RED RIGHT NOW!” Trust me, they know.
Look, they probably realize that dropping their fork mid-lunch isn’t the worst thing that could’ve happened, but I mean…it feels pretty bad at the time.
9. Be aware that they will always have the sneaking suspicion that you/everyone hates them.
So every now and then, it doesn’t hurt to tell them you don’t.
10. Try to occasionally do a low-key hangout. Think: pizza, wine, and no real pants.
Chances are, they’re not going to want to go out every night. And that’s OK.
11. Don’t make them feel bad if there are nights they don’t want to drink.
If they’re feeling particularly anxious, alcohol might amplify their nerves rather than settle them.
12. Don’t leave them alone in situations you know they could feel uncomfortable in.
If you invite them to that party where they don’t know anyone, don’t leave them in the corner looking at a plant and wondering about the last time it’s been watered.