Are you struggling or lonely? Assess your options and plan forward, building a supportive network.
- Figure out what you don’t want
- Investigate available resources and choices
- Create the life you do want
- Make time for self-care and friends
Building a supportive network
I never contrived to make my friends my support system but it occurred naturally within genuine friendships. I valued the simple supportive gestures made by friends when I was compromised between Emily’s rehabilitation and home renovation demands. Offers of meals, transport or a chat over coffee made life significantly more positive and manageable during a time of extreme stress. I couldn’t have manufactured my supportive network it happened spontaneously from a foundation of friendly empathy.
My supportive network continues, but nowadays I hope there is equality in my relationships, as I am ready to support others, as well as accept their kindness. I see support as a roller coaster experience (it has ups and downs) so when you are able you offer help to others, and when you are in need, the reverse happens. Building a supportive network should be organic not forced, friendships take time and effort before they blossom and mature.
Know what you don’t want so you can create the life you do want
I thought carefully before I applied to the local swimming club. Obviously the bonding topic is swimming so I am prepared to embrace all things linked to swimming i.e. participate in club competitions, volunteer to promote swimming as a sport, fund raise for the club etc.
Little point in joining a club or team if it’s only a passing whim, commitment is appreciated by groups. Social compatibility grows from joint interests and shared values and perspective. Join groups that you can add to, as much as you value the association and union.
Building a supportive network – making friends
If you want caring, interesting, sports-minded (fill in the blank) people in your life, you have to make an effort. Get involved in community activities and join committees or a walking group. Become a mentor or volunteer. Find a book club. Learn bridge – do whatever interests you because you will find like-minded people who naturally rally together and that’s a socially supportive network.