As pack animals, relationships are a big part of life. Everyone needs them. Yes, even if you are an introvert. You're married right or you wouldn't be here. We crave support and kinship.
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.
Be a Friend
There is a reason I listed this first. You can't expect relationships to be one sided. Building supportive relationships takes a lot of time and effort. If you expect people to be supportive of you when you need them, you must DO the same.
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. You will be exhausted trying to keep up the act and find out they aren't actually friends because they didn't even know you. 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 accept illegal behavior, but you should be willing to accept some minor moral differences or things that are superficial differences, like tattoos and what neighborhood they live in.
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. If you do not agree with their choices, you do not have to defend them to others. Just tell people to take it up with so-and-so and you had nothing to do with it.
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. We've been going through tough times with our youngest and I tell him often that his friends should be encouraging him to better himself or they aren't really friends.
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. And for gawd's sake, put your damn phone down when a conversation is going on *rant over*.
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 meeting for coffee. Another time it might be bringing the double chocolate chip ice-cream and the movie Steel Magnolias 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. See the above true friendships are 100/100 😉
Developing a real support systems requires a lot of work, but it will pay off when you truly need iit. 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.
Need help figuring out what you need in a support system? Join the free 30 days to a Happier YOU challenge. Find your happy and attract what you need. We're here for you.
Living with no regrets,