5 Things That Aren't Helpful to Say to Someone Experiencing Anxiety

Everyone experiences feelings of anxiousness.

For some people, these feelings happen more often than for others, and they may have an anxiety disorder (also called generalized anxiety). Others simply experience it once in a while, feeling a sense of worry, dread or restlessness that is mostly—or entirely—unwarranted. Whether it is chronic or not, though, anxiety is an awful feeling, and one of the only things that can make it worse is when someone else tells them something that is simply entirely unhelpful. So, if you're around someone who is feeling anxious or experiencing anxiety, here are a few things to just not say to them:

1. 'Just Relax!'

This is one of those "easier said than done" statements that just isn't helpful in any way. If someone experiencing anxiety was capable of relaxing in that moment, don't you think they would be doing that already?

Shutterstock: Frustrated sad woman feeling tired worried about problem sitting on sofa with laptop, stressed depressed girl troubled with reading bad news online, email notification about debt or negative message

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2. 'It's Not That Bad'

Even if the situation that's causing the anxiety isn't "that bad" in the grand scheme of things, it probably doesn't feel that way to the person experiencing it. This statement just feels undermining to their feelings, and it's just downright rude.


3. 'It Could Be Worse'

In a similar vein to No. 2, reminding someone that their problem is insignificant in your mind is mean and unnecessary. Plus, this might actually make their anxiety worse in the moment by springing on thoughts of worse situations.

Shutterstock: Hands Placed Anxiously in Lap

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4. 'Cheer Up!'

Again, it's just not that simple. You can try to remind someone of the things that they have to be thankful for while they are feeling anxious (this is a bit of a psychological hack, you're welcome), but just telling them to "cheer up" or demand their happiness then and there is never going to work.


5. 'You're Being Dramatic'

This might just be the worst thing you could say to someone who is feeling anxious. It's rude, unwarranted and absolutely will not help the person feel any better about their situation.

Shutterstock: After sleepless night sad woman got up sit on bed thinking, lost in sad thoughts about irreparable mistake decision about abortion, feeling remorse, break up in relations, divorce and jealousy concept

(via Shutterstock)


So, what can you do instead of uttering any of these phrases when someone is feeling anxious? First of all, listen. Let them know that you're there with open arms and ears to listen to their problem, and offer them no judgment in return. Often, simply speaking to someone about a problem can help relieve the anxiety about it! And if it's truly bad, you might want to gently suggest that they speak to someone (preferably a professional) about how they're feeling.

Something that can make anxiety feel even heavier than normal? Dating. Whether you're in this situation or one of your friends is, explore what it's like to date with anxiety (and how you can help relieve it) by clicking HERE.