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10 Reasons Why Everyone Needs to Support Their Friends

10 Reasons Why Everyone Needs to Support Their Friends

“I get by with a little help from my friends.”

—John Lennon.

Could your friends say that about you?

We all need to support each other, especially our friends and family, and we need that support to be mutual. We must give and expect the following if we can count on them as friends:

  • No fear of talking openly about emotions, moods and feelings.
  • No reluctance to ask for help when needed. It can be a practical chore, advice or just someone to listen.
  • No lack of empathy or trust.

Here are ten good reasons why we should be doing these things every day of our lives.

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1. Because you are prepared to help when tragedy strikes.

I am going to take an extreme example for this one. In the South East Asia 2004 tsunami, thousands of Swedish tourists were involved. There were 2,000 Swedish deaths. Those who survived had to face post traumatic stress and the social support they received was an important factor in helping to reduce the negative impact of the suffering, pain, loss, and bereavement.

Friends and relatives played an important role. It is also interesting to note that the authorities were present too and met survivors at the airport and continued to support them. There was a correlation between the caring and helpful support they received and their recovery rates, it seems.

“Lean on me, when you’re not strong and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on.”

—Bill Withers.

2. Because you will tell the truth, even if it is harsh.

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.”

—King Solomon

Can you give advice about a dangerous and rocky relationship which might lead to abuse? Very often, you have to stick your neck out and express your anxiety and worry. Your friend may not accept the advice at all, but whatever happens, you will always be there to support him or her. Telling the truth can often be hard, but it is the sign of a true friendship.

3. Because you will lighten the burden.

Talking about a problem is wonderful therapy. It can really assist you in coming to grips with it and help lighten the load. It may be a problem at work, a family quarrel or an argument with your partner. You can offer advice and support.

4. Because you are always positive.

Maybe your friend has ambitions about a new venture or wants to change his/her job. You do not say:

  • “You haven’t got the experience.”
  • “You wouldn’t stand a chance in hell—it’s far too competitive.”
  • “It is going to cost you an arm and a leg.”

Instead, try to be positive and encouraging. You can tell him that you are aware of the problems, but shooting down an idea like that is not how real friends operate. The Bible of positive thinking and how to achieve life’s goals is The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. It’s no surprise to learn that it has sold 4 million copies.

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The only way to get something you have always dreamed of is to do something you have never done. You can expect a reciprocal approach from your friend when you want to reach your goals and objectives.

5. Because you are accountable.

You know yourself well and you are not in denial about any defects you might have. You never play the blame game and try to defend a gaffe, a bad move or a screw up by blaming others or even to bad luck. You have no problem in being accountable for all your actions, including your mistakes. Your ability to show your friends compassion and empathy is living proof of all this.

6. Because you know how to nurture friendship.

“The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friendship is rather like a delicate plant. It needs watering, pruning and tender, loving care. You have to look after it. Try these to make sure it remains in great shape:

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  • Keep in touch.
  • Remember important dates like birthdays and so on.
  • Be thoughtful. Send a supportive text when your friend is down and out.
  • Never exploit the friendship to gain money, prestige or other friends.
  • Never give the impression that you know more or are superior.
  • Never gossip about your friend to others.
  • Celebrate successes and commiserate when failures happen.

7. Because you do not have exclusive rights.

Friendship is strange sometimes. Some people guard it jealously and allow no one else in. I remember twin sisters who lived together but had separate apartments. They agreed that they would invite each other when they had their friends to dinner. This happened on a regular basis, but the golden rule was that after dinner, the sister who was the guest had to leave before coffee was served. That left the other sister to chat away with her friends. When one sister broke the rule and stayed on for coffee, chatting merrily to her twin’s friends, there was a terrible row afterwards!  Learning to share and not being possessive are prime qualities in a friend.

8. Because you will live longer.

All the studies now show that people who live in isolation die younger. They have more health problems and are at risk of heart disease and also mental disorders. Those people who have an active network of friends who are mutually supportive and loyal will live longer and also be healthier.

9. Because you never forget the small stuff.

You know when to be there if the going gets tough. A message, a phone call, or a visit are worth their weight in gold. That’s when you can tell whether you have a real friend. No excuses or procrastination.

10. Because you communicate with each other easily.

With real, supportive friends, you never have to worry about communication and how you are getting your ideas across, because these will come naturally. You both feel at ease about opening up and there is never any need for being assertive or aggressive. If there is ever any disagreement or argument, you are both mature enough to listen to each other’s opinion, without getting hot under the collar.

Are you helping your friends and getting enough support from them? Tell us about them in the comments below.

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Featured photo credit: Amigas/Dani-vr via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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