Cultivating Your Support System
Having relationships and making friends is part of life. Everyone does it. Having said that, some of us are better at doing it than others. If you’ve found yourself having a hard time making supportive friends, it’s time to take a deep look into yourself and figure out why. After all, the biggest part of our lives is spent with our friends and family and these relationships are what make us who we are.
Being a friend to have a friend and building supportive relationships takes a lot of time and effort. If you expect people to be supportive of you when you need it then it’s very important for you to do the same for them. The Golden Rules is a very good rule to follow when it comes to friendships and supportive relationships.
Be who you are from day one differences are the spice of life, so never try to be someone you’re not just to have certain friends or to attract a certain person into your life. The fact is, people rarely change, and you can’t keep it up. The more you trust others to be themselves, the more they’ll trust you to do the same.
Respect others for who they are, by contrast, it’s imperative to be very accepting of other people’s differences too. It doesn’t mean you have accepted illegal behavior, but you should be willing to accept some minor moral differences or things that are superficial differences, like skin color or whether or not they choose to get a tattoo.
Avoid taking responsibility for others there is a fine line between support and enabling behavior. When a friend has to suffer the consequences of their erroneous actions, you do not have to take any type of responsibility for your actions to be supportive. You can be supportive even when visiting someone in jail.
Believe in your friends to be better sometimes part of being a supportive person and a good friend is to want more for them than they do. If, for example, one of your friends is in an abusive relationship, don’t stand by and support that idea. Do demand that they get help and get out of that situation.
Learn how to listen effectively: we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. We should all seek to listen twice as much as we talk. But, there is a difference between just sitting there silently as opposed to truly listening. Try repeating back to people what you think they said in your own words until you get it right.
True friendships are 100/100 no one is keeping score in a real friendship that offers support, so that is why they are 100/100 instead of 50/50. If you’re focused on providing 100 percent of yourself, you will not be focused on resentments and misunderstandings.
Spend real time with your friends when you foster a friendship and a real relationship with someone, spend real time with them that counts. Most people don’t need that much time. Sometimes it’s just ten minutes on the phone, other times it’s a meeting for coffee. Another time it might be bringing the double chocolate chip ice cream and the movie Terms of Endearment with a box of tissues.
Learn to accept criticism (and Give It) true supportive relationships aren’t always completely positive. Sometimes friends need someone to be willing to call them on their BS. Truly supportive people can do that for each other and allow it to be done for them.
Ask for what you need some relationships can seem one-sided at times, which is why it’s important to learn how to draw boundaries and ask for what you need. If you ask people for what you need and they don’t, can’t, or won’t provide it, it might be time to move on.
Developing real support systems requires a lot of work, but it will pay off when you truly need the support. By setting the standard of what you expect in a relationship, you will be a good example to your friends and family of the type of support network that you need.
It is so much harder to form close relationships as an adult. I have found that the people I become closest to, I do so because I made an effort to get to know them… to ask questions about their past and who they are. It usually starts over coffee or a play date at the park. When they feel okay about inviting me into a messy house, that is when I know that we are genuinely friends. Thank you for this post.
It is so valuable to take the time to invest in real friendships. You have made many great points here and getting back to these basic principles and reflecting on our own thoughts is a good checkpoint. Thank you for sharing!
Wonderfully said! I agree with all the different points you make, especially respecting who your friends are wholly and spending real time with them. Fostering these connections is so important. Thank you for sharing!!
It’a “funny” how easy ut is to forget your support system exists. I’ve found myself in a weird space on occasion where I’ve failed to acknowledge it. It is truly a powerful tool.
So many great points! My favourites are listening (super important!) and accepting each for as we are. Great read, thank you!
Listening is one of the hardest things we think we do but we don’t do as effectively. enjoyed your article. It is harder to grow and cultivate that support system as an adult. One of my motivations for starting my business is to bring women who work mainly with their divine feminine energy together.
The whole cultivating friendship thing in general has been a huge work in progress for me. I don’t have any memories from before I was 24 and I haven’t spoken to my mom for 12 years, my dad for 7… so it’s always awkward when I meet new people. It’s like a typical normal thing for new friends to ask questions about family/past/etc… and it’s always really really awkward when it comes to my turn to share because I can’t remember anything to share, so I usually just avoid close friendships all together. And also, I’ve only started ‘doing life’ in the last year or so because of how bad my depression has been for my entire life, so I don’t have hobbies or things I’m truly passionate about so it’s also so hard to meet people on like a general common interest level. And with that, a lot of my friendships become one sided, where I give but do not take/receive because both because its hard for people to get to know me and there’s always some kind of barrier I’m subconsciously putting up so I don’t have to let people in. So I guess that’s my long winded way of saying thank you for calling me out on my shit. I need to do better with friendships for sure 🙂
Friendships and a support system have carried me through my life. This is such a meaningful and valuable post. Listening to each other is so important and I know that being intentional with the people in your life makes a difference. Thank you.
I enjoyed reading this article. Although nowadays most do not know how foster genuine relationships, you made important points to how it can be done. It can be trying when it feels one sided. Thank you for sharing 🤗
Pastor Natalie (ExamineThisMoment)
Great post! Thanks for sharing!
Great post! I agree with all your points, especially the first one about being yourself. It’s the only real way to begin a healthy relationship. True friends accept each other for who they are.
I think friends are a blessing. I’ve been very fortunate to have solid friendships throughout my life. I think in part because both parties put an effort in finding time to nurture the relationship (FB Likes don’t count) and respecting our differences.
Friends make our lives much sweeter! Thanks for the post.
This is so true. We’ve found that the older we get, the more we care about quality over quantity.