Mental Health

How to be friends with someone with an anxiety disorder

1. Do invite me to parties filled with strangers because I need a reason to shower.
When you do, give me a week’s notice so I can practice smiling without wincing. I will also make up a dozen intelligent phrases to sprinkle into the conversation. For instance, “Funyuns are actually pig intestine.” And, for the love of God, don’t leave me alone.


2. Do invite me to parties filled with people I actually know because friends are good.
In this situation, understand I really have to be on point because I will see these people again, and sometimes, that’s nice because they know I’m weird from previous encounters. Other times, it’s worse because I just get weirder every time they see me.

3. Do send me random gifs of Benedict Cumberbatch.
This man’s ridiculous giggle is quite soothing.


4. Do make sure all the pictures in your house are straight.
If your pictures are crooked when I come over, I’ll walk around fixing them for a half hour before realizing you’re still in the room.


5. Do learn to recognize my “Get Me The Hell Out Of Here” face.
When things start going south (usually about two hours into any social situation), I start looking like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. When this happens, kindly usher me to the nearest exit.


6. Do not hand me a small child without asking first.
If you honestly think throwing a baby at me is a good idea, may the consequences be on your head. It’s not that I’m scared of children. It’s just that I think I’ll drop them and I’m scared of children.


7. Do forget when I say awkward things.
Sometimes, I might text you after we’ve hung out to say, “OMG, I can’t believe I said THAT. Please forgive me.” You probably won’t remember I said THAT, but I’ll have been obsessing over THAT for the past three hours.


8. Do expect me to cancel plans without a viable excuse.
Some days, I can’t leave the house. Admitting this to you is way better than me breaking a finger on purpose just so I can say, “Hey, broke my finger. Rain check?”


9. Do not talk to me at the gym.
The gym is a very safe place where I am in the zone. If you break that zone, I might notice I’m in public, surrounded by sweaty strangers. Don’t let me notice.


10. Do laugh when I immediately assume everyone hates me.
Basically, every day, I think someone hates me. Realistically, I don’t think people hate me, but my anxiety does, so laugh. I might just laugh with you.


7 thoughts on “How to be friends with someone with an anxiety disorder

  1. For #8, here are some really good excuses from my friend Tom Brown. My particular favorite is “I have to study for my blood test.”
    …I did my own thing, and now I have to undo it.
    …My plot to take over the world is thickening.
    …There is a disturbance in the Force.
    …I’d prefer to remain an enigma.
    …I’m attending the opening of my garage door.
    …I have to study for a blood test.
    …I’ve come down with a really horrible case of something or other.

  2. Loved it! Totally spot on. I wish people invited me out more often, that’s for sure. I end up hermiting due to the anxiety and my physical issues, which doesn’t help my anxiety or depression at all.

  3. I want to print these on a card and carry them around. Some days I question the sanity of anyone who actually likes hanging out with me. But I guess it’s easier to tell who my friends are this way. I do something totally weird like abandon them at the movie theatre, and they still text me when the movie’s over. 🙂 Of course, I probably wouldn’t like them if they were sane.

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