This week’s blog post is all about building a strong support network because having the right people around you is so important. Especially around events which can be quite emotional, like Christmas time.
We’re influenced by the people around us and if you’re always being put down or find yourself surrounded with negative energy, you may end up taking those beliefs on yourself.
Well, I say ‘no more’ to that. I’ve got 3 tips to help you find the right people to have in your corner.
Take note of who really listens to you
Some people have a big circle of friends, others have quite a tight knit group instead. Personally, I have a few really good friends from different places – people I grew up with, people I’ve worked with – who I know I can talk to.
But the really big thing is when you realise who actively listens to you. Who’s paying attention to you? Who’s getting distracted or constantly turning the conversation back to them?
Sometimes, you don’t need advice – you just want someone to listen. You just want someone to HEAR you. The people you can confide in and talk to openly are the best people to have around when you just want to be heard.
If someone is constantly belittling your problems while bigging up their own or making you feel as though you can’t talk to them openly & honestly, they won’t be the best type of person to have in your support network.
Now, friendship works both ways so you need to think about whether you’re listening to their problems too – how you’re approaching that. Are you only chatting about your issues or are you making time for them too?
Next time you’re having a catch up or a rant or a moan with your pal, have a think about whether you’re actively listening to them too.
It really makes such a difference.
If you find that there are certain people around you who are not good for you – if they’re gossiping behind your back or they’re being insincere or they’re taking advantage of you in any way – you need to start setting boundaries.
This is where assertiveness comes in – you need to start getting more assertive.
For instance, if someone is always expecting you to do a specific thing for them, like grabbing them a coffee in the morning. (I feel like I’m going down a very Devil Wears Prada route but stick with it.) If they wanted you to get coffee but it actually made you late for meetings or it threw your own plans out for the day, that’s only benefiting them, not you.
So what you’d need to do is chat with whoever it is that has these expectations of you and let them know how you feel. Now, to stop this communication from escalating and veering off into something bigger, you need to keep it specific to the situation. That’s the first thing. Then you also need to use ‘I-messages’ – ‘I feel this way because…’, not ‘You’re such a demanding person…’
If you need more points on that, go and watch my video on my IGTV – 3 Tips for Accepting Criticism.
But set those boundaries – don’t wear yourself out because you’re afraid you’ll look like a bad person. We’re human and we can’t be expected to do everything – it’s exhausting.
Find support in different places
One important thing about building a strong support network is having a mixture of people who can help you with different things. For instance, one close friend might hear all your relationship problems and be able to give advice from that perspective whereas someone else might be more supportive in terms of your career.
You might have friends who know you inside out and you need those friends. But you also need the ones who have been in your specific situation who can help & advise you.
For example, if you’re going through a tough time with an illness, you might join a support group or find an online community where people share their stories and tips for coping.
It’s good to have a whole range of people in your life who can give you advice from a range of different perspectives and experiences
You might even seek support on a professional level, from a therapist or a counsellor or a coach – or all three!
Make your support network stronger by giving yourself a broad range of people you can count on for help & trust me, you’ll start to notice the difference.
Do you have any extra tips?