Breaking Barriers: How Mentoring Can Help Young Adults Overcome Social Anxieties and Make Friends

Generation Z, those born between 1997 and 2012, face unique challenges when it comes to making friends. They are the first generation to have grown up entirely in the digital age, which has impacted their communication skills and ability to connect with others. As a result, many young adults in this generation struggle with social anxieties and have trouble communicating in person. However, finding the right mentor can provide support and guidance to overcome these challenges and improve their ability to make connections with others.

One of the primary reasons why it’s difficult for Gen Z young adults to make friends is their social anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, social anxiety disorder affects about 15 million adults in the United States, and it’s more common in younger generations. This challenge can make individuals feel overly self-conscious and uncomfortable in social situations, which can lead to avoidance and isolation.

Another factor that contributes to Gen Z’s difficulty in making friends is their reliance on digital communication. While technology has made it easier to connect with others, it has also created a barrier between people when it comes to face-to-face interactions. Many young adults in this generation have grown up communicating through screens, which can lead to a lack of confidence and discomfort when communicating in person.

A mentor who specialized in working with young adults can help these young adults overcome these challenges and develop the skills necessary to make meaningful connections with others. We provide guidance on how to overcome social anxiety, such as practicing deep breathing and positive self-talk. Our mentors also offer support in finding simple social situations and opportunities to meet new people, starting with virtual exercises, such as emails, then phone calls, building up to short meetings in places that are familiar and comforting for our mentees, such as a magic card shop, a computer parts shot, a shop focusing on an art our mentee likes and building from there. Based on each new micro-practice, we provide coaching on how to communicate effectively in each situation building on the last.

In addition, our mentors serve as a safe space to help young adults grow and be ok with mis-steps, showing our mentees, the secret to growth is when we mess up to figure out our first new starting step… over and over until we no longer fear the unknown. We share their own experiences and struggles with friendships and communication, and offer guidance on how to build lasting relationships. Our mentors also help young adults identify their strengths and weaknesses, working to build our mentees confidence and self-esteem.

Having a mentor who has trained in a system solely focused on young adults, can be a game-changer for Gen Z young adults who struggle with making friends. It provides the support and guidance necessary to overcome social anxieties and develop strong communication skills, which are essential for building meaningful relationships. While making friends may seem daunting at times, a mentor can help young adults feel more confident and empowered to take on these challenges and every other challenge in their lives.

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Author: Ken_Rabow

Ken Rabow is the Mentor's Mentor for Troubled Teens, Young Adults and their Families