The Top Ten Things You Should Never Say to a Person with Generalized Anxiety


There are some things that you just need to hold back from saying when it comes to communicating effectively with someone with an anxiety disorder. Although anxious people hear these kinds of comments and questions quite often, they don’t get any easier to hear as time goes by. If you are part of a support network listen up, because here are the top 10 things you shouldn’t say to someone who suffers from anxiety:

  1. You look worried.” Anxiety sufferers will be thinking, “If I don’t worry, how will I keep everything under control?” They feel like if they don’t worry, then mentally, emotionally, and physically they will be stuck in the unknown, a world that is very uncomfortable. Worrying is a coping mechanism that anxiety sufferers rely on, one that will diminish as they become more in control of their physical and emotional sensations. Bringing attention to the worrying, however, only makes it worse so it is best to leave it alone if you notice it in someone.
  2. How come you’re so quiet?” This is the one I feared the most when I was struggling with social anxiety. Deep down I knew who I really was and that was a social, upbeat kind of guy . . . but on the surface I was quiet and unapproachable. Realize that the person you are speaking to is being calm and collected because that is their choice – they do not have to live up to your expectations of how they should behave. Let them come to you when they feel comfortable.
  3. I think you need a drink.” Ummmm hello . . . do you know what alcohol does to my nerves in the morning? If someone looks uptight or stressed, try not to make it worse by offering something they might find potentially harmful.
  4. Don’t worry, stress is normal.” Really? Is it normal to be stressed and anxious about going for a walk in the hope that my heart won’t explode? Stress and anxiety is normal, but the amount that anxiety sufferers go through on a regular basis is nothing to be underestimated. Sometimes making light of something that is a big deal to someone else can be very insulting and difficult to hear.
  5. Have you gotten it checked yet?” I don’t know about you, but as a hypochondriac I would be focused on a mole on my body or the lump in my throat and I was constantly at the doctor having these things checked. This question just fuels a person’s anxiety because it reminds them of the many unsuccessful attempts they have gone through trying to get someone from the medical profession to take them seriously. It feels like opening an old wound in a way.
  6. I had a panic attack once.” – please.
  7. Why do you go to the bathroom so much?” Frequent urination is quite common with anxiety. I remember being extremely nervous the moments before being taken to our seats in a restaurant because I had to take care of business every fifteen minutes during times of extreme stress. If we didn’t get seated close to a bathroom, well I might as well have worn a diaper. Embarrassing right? So why bring it up?
  8. Dude, your hands are shaking.” – Have you ever avoided reaching for your glass of water on the table due to the fear of people seeing your hands shake? Well, whenever I got caught with shaky hands and was told what was happening by someone else, all I wanted to do was crawl into a hole and die. It’s another embarrassing symptom that I really didn’t want anyone to bring attention to.
  9. Think positive thoughts and you’ll get through it.” I’m all about positive thinking and spreading happiness everywhere I go. The problem is that positive thinking rarely gets you through a cycle of fear-adrenaline-fear once it has kicked into high gear. So thanks for the idea, but it doesn’t really help fix a panic attack.
  10. Man up!” Seriously?? SMACK!!
Dont forget to pick up your free copy of the anxiety reducer game plan at, an eBook that will give you a deeper look into my own personal story as well as help you understand what you need to do if you suffer from generalized anxiety at a deeper level.

15 comments on “The Top Ten Things You Should Never Say to a Person with Generalized Anxiety

  1. #6, #9, and #10 —— Oh yeah, big hard slap. People have no concept and don’t really want to be educated. Just sweep it under the rug and snap out of it. Grrrrrrrrr

    • Ya my support group always cared very much but had no clue, funny enough one day my best friend got so sick of my anxiety and panic attacks that he decided to buy a book on GAD. The info in that book spread to the rest of my family and all of a sudden I had a REAL support group, if genuine caring is really there these people must take the time to research what’s really going on and stop feeding the issue.

  2. Funny enough i’m getting much more emails for support from athletes that keep their anxiety issues hidden from teammates, staff etc then I do non athletes. I really do hope people can relate to my story and overcome their GAD etc the way I have, thanks for the comments.

  3. I saw this on the perfect day. I just picked up some anxiety meds and trying them for the first time in five years. Still don’t know if I have something that should be diagnosed or nothing to complain about. My anxiety and stress happens in peaks. Trying the meds to see what happens. This is good info to know, regardless.

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