Could Your Support Network Do With A Shake Up?

What does your support network look like?  I don’t mean aesthetically, although I’m sure they’re very beautiful but is your support network working effectively for you or are you the one listening, giving advice and offering kindness but then receiving very little in return?  Hmmmm, that’s not the stuff of give and take is it?  Could your support network do with a shake up, possibly not to get rid of anyone but would some new pals offer you more support and energy if your existing network has gotten into lazy habits?

It’s Not Just About Numbers

A support network for a more introverted person will look very different to that of a more extroverted person so there’s no right or wrong to how many people make up your support network but it is important that you do have someone that listens, makes an effort to understand where you’re at and offers support when you’re struggling.  Pets can be a highly effective part of a support network as they require kindness from you, so they keep you motivated and listen without comment when you need to get things off your chest.  Totally fabulous! 😊  

Introverts tend to prefer depth, so they are more likely to have fewer people in their support network but know those people in much greater detail.  Extroverts prefer breadth so they are more likely to have a greater range of people in their support network, which is more far-reaching than that of more introverted people.  An introvert might say to an extrovert “how do you know them?!” and the extrovert might not even be able to remember but they make connections well and that can be very different to how an introvert gets to know people.  It’s not wrong, it’s just different, so please don’t be intimidated by vast numbers of connections on Linked In.  I can see who the extroverts are! 😊

Whether your support network is in single digits or the hundreds, have a think about whether it’s working for you.  We can all get into lazy habits and assume that people will be there when we need them but good relationships take work on both sides.  So if you’re not putting the effort into a relationship, might you be a failing part of someone else’s support network?  That’s worth a thought isn’t it?  If you value someone, tell them that.  There are a million ways of doing that and with texts, emails, messaging, facetime, phone calls and yeeks, meeting up in person you can stay connected with people quite easily.  The power of an emoji can be vast! 😊

Layers of Support

A support network can work for you in a range of ways.  You might have a group of fab pals that always meet socially at the weekend or who like to go for long walks in the rain but if there’s no one who’s taking the time to listen to you properly, to really hear what you’re saying, then it might be worth extending your network to help you meet some new people.  Your annual Christmas card list is a great example of how people you once knew and saw regularly can become more distant in your life.  It doesn’t mean they’re not still nice people, just that you’ve lost touch.  No one needs to be to blame for that, it’s just how our lives change and move on.  And while it might still be important to you to send a Christmas card, you might not pick up the phone to that person any more.  It’s not wrong, it’s just different.  Things change and we can get caught up in how we think we ‘should’ behave and feel but actually taking responsibility for rejuvenating your support network is a very assertive thing to do.  It helps you look outward to find new ways of finding supportive, balanced and reciprocal relationships and while those types of relationships don’t come along every day, looking for a diamond can be good fun!

Introverts can trip themselves up a bit when they’re getting to know new people because their preference is to dive straight towards a depth of conversation so with the wrong person, that can seem quite intense.  But if you find another introverted person, that won’t bother them in the slightest and that could be the start of a fabulous friendship!  You don’t need to be dis-satisfied with your existing support network to look to add to it, just thinking about doing something different where you might meet new people is great for your self-esteem and wellbeing.  And maybe someone in your existing support network will come along with you to the new thing and you’ll both make new friends.  Win-win 😊  The only down side to that can be that you go to something new and only talk to each other, so be mindful of that and maybe work the room before you meet up to compare notes.

Make Change Happen To Build Your Self-Esteem

Things will only change if you make them and thinking about your support network is one way to think about whether you’re stuck in a rut.  You might be quite happy if you are and that’s fine but please make sure that someone is looking out for you and listening to you when you need a kind ear and a strong shoulder.  We all need that at some point.  The other way to mix things up a bit is to propose new things with your existing support network to generate some great energy and fabulous memories.  If they say ‘no’ to your proposals, that might be an indicator that new pals are required.  And if you find the courage to do something new, you might be surprised at the fabulous contacts you manage to make!  They might not be your new best friend but knowing more people and receiving a kind and welcoming smile as you walk into a room can lift anyone’s mood. 

Extending your support network can give you more emotional independence and that can help to build your self-esteem.  While walking into new places and not knowing anyone can be truly scary when you first do it, it’s amazing how quickly people will start to recognise you and take the time to get to know you.  You just have to go and find those new groups and that can take energy and a leap of faith, in yourself and the world around you.  So be bold!  Shake things up a bit and see what fab new experiences and connections you can make to give you a spring in your step, for Spring!

Just a footnote to this, for any of my fab pals reading this, there’s no secret message in this blog.  I love you all – no shake ups required! 😊

Take good care please, enjoy the Spring flowers and have a great day.

Best wishes, Karen