safe, insightful talk alternative to family, friends, therapy, coaching

Social Support

This article’s theme area:

supportMentoring in its stereotypical form is NOT the same as a friendship. Mentors are a tool- oftentimes a lifeline to creating a strong support-system.

Ultimately my goal is to partner with each of my clients to cultivate a bevy of tools,  healthy relationships and friendships so that they never feel lost or unsupported (oftentimes it means different tools or people for different facets of their lives). As a Mentor, I stand by as an ongoing or temporary part of the team!

Whether with a mentor or friend, I want us all to solidify a habit of incorporating relationships and TALK as a part of a healthy lifestyle. Here’s a great article on the “friendship” side of things to get you thinking if you have the right people in the right roles in your life.  Are you expecting more from some “friends” than they are capable of delivering? Is a shift in order? Check it out:

How to Create Truly Supportive Friendships

-Elizabeth Scott, M.S. 2009

Research shows that healthy and supportive relationships can reduce stress and improve your overall health and sense of well-being. However, all relationships are not equally supportive. Building a network of supportive friends, or even just one supportive relationship, can be vital to your wellbeing. Here are some key skills that can help you to build relationships with people that are truly supportive and sustaining.

Meeting People- The more people you have in your life, the more likely you are to have truly supportive relationships with at least one of them. It’s beneficial to be able to regularly add new people to your circle. Here are some good ways to meet people, and some tips to remember when making a new friend.

Time Management- It’s important to make time to nurture relationships, and to go out and have fun with friends. You may feel like you just don’t have time to spend on this, but time management and organization techniques can help you find more time in your life to spend on friendships. These techniques can also help you to show up on time, remember birthdays and other important events, help friends when they’re in need, and do other things that will strengthen friendships and make them supportive.

Assertiveness- People often think of assertiveness as ‘standing up for yourself’ and ‘not letting people push you around’ — basically the alternative to passivity. While this is mostly true, assertiveness is also the alternative to aggressiveness, a way of handling people where you get your needs met at the expense of others’ needs. Developing the skill of assertiveness can really help you strengthen your relationships, making them mutually supportive, lasting and opening the lines of communication.

Listening to Your Friends- When we’ve had a hard day, sometimes being able to talk to a friend about our feelings is all it takes to turn things around and make stress a feeling of connection and well-being. Being truly listened to and understood can have listening (3)profound effects on us. When dealing with friends, it’s important to give as well as receive this supportive type of listening when support is truly needed. Here are some things to remember when friends are talking about things that stress or upset them:

  • Ask them about their feelings, and listen.
  • Reflect back what you hear, so they know you really understand.
  • Instead of always trying to tie the conversation back to your experiences, focus questions on them and their feelings.

Readers Respond: What Makes a Great Friendship Great?
Friendship is one of life’s greatest gifts! Research shows that strong friendships can help us weather life’s stresses more easily, and bring a host of other benefits as well. And while every friendship is different, great friendships often have similar ingredients, whether it’s having fun together, being loyal, or stimulating each other intellectually. What do you look for in a friendship? See what others have to say:

Trust and Care… Friendship is one thing that contributes to the betterment of life. But when one evolves into a friendship that has no trust for either of them and as well as no trust between them, then that relationship is dangerous and can lead to a great damage of one’s life life completely. Therefore it’s very important that before one gets him/herself deep into friendship, there is a clear assurance of the partner’s trust.

True Friendship… Mutual trust. Shared interests. Sense of humor. Empathy. A strong mutual liking. Dependability. Mutual shelter in a storm that often passes when someone who cares about you listens objectively. Freedom to be yourself and to return the favor willingly. A friend is one who gives comfort and accepts comfort when the need arises without strings attached. True friends can be confidants and “get” one another but don’t try or need to be clones.

Love… It is a fact that love and mutual respect leaves a better place for friendship. The relation nurtures in sharing tough times together, which springs from love.

Friendship… I think friendship is a good gift for friends. Friends help in every field of life.

Sharing dreams… Sharing dreams is the thing that makes a friendship great. Soooo great. When you have someone that feels that safe and secure with you and that speaks about his secret soul and dreams, you feel a warm vibration within you that makes you feel important and great. You feel that you are the one to whom this person shows his inner soul and heart to, and it is safe to do the same. That’s great. Thank God I experienced it…

Helping Hands… A good friend is someone who will help you out when you really need it, even if it isn’t convenient!

Understanding… I really need to feel understood. There are so many people out there who will be more judgmental than understanding, so to me, a good friendship is characterized by a willingness to really understand one another well. I love being able to just be myself with someone!

Partner In Crime… I really enjoy friends whom I can have fun with, who will go out of their way to enjoy life with me, and maybe inspire me to try things I wouldn’t normally try. I guess I’d say that a sense of adventure and willingness to bring out the best in each other makes a great friendship.


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