Jennifer Trew (top) and research assistant Dorianna Dickson (bottom) Photo Credit: Justin Wong

Psychology, Research

Being Kind May Help Your Social Life

July 14, 2015

Performing acts of kindness is known to increase levels of happiness, but according to a new study, it can also help socially anxious people relax and mingle more easily with others.

The study, co-authored by Jennifer Trew, a postdoctoral research fellow in SFU’s Department of Psychology, and Lynn Alden, a psychology professor at UBC, found socially anxious people who performed acts of kindness reported less desire to avoid negative outcomes in social situations.  

“Social anxiety is the fear others may judge or evaluate you,” explains Trew, who notes it is much more severe than shyness. “Socially anxious people may avoid social situations because they are afraid that they will embarrass themselves or that others will evaluate them negatively.

“As a result, they often have fewer and less rewarding social relationships.”