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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 March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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