Support. Friendship. Encouragement.
These things are so critical and often so overlooked. We get busy with our own lives and our own tasks and forget to check in with friends or family who might be struggling. It only takes a minute to pick up the phone, to send a quick email or text, or stop by their office to say you are thinking of them and praying for them. And what a world of difference it can make in their outlook.
I think we tend to go it alone when times are tough instead of recognizing the value of teamwork and sharing. A network of friends can offer not only prayer and support, but can also be a source of advice and fresh ideas. In the throes of chaos, clear thoughts rarely come. But someone a step removed might offer viable solutions that ease the situation.
To gain the most from a supportive relationship, we need to be willing to:
- Reach out – stay aware of the needs of others and touch base when they are struggling – just a simple email to say you are thinking of them opens the channels if they need/want more contact.
- Accept help – and ask for help if you need it. Don’t let it be a one-way street – your friends will appreciate the opportunity to reach out to you. No one is immune to challenges and it is not a good feeling to continually offer help to someone and constantly be told no thank you. Be kind and open – it might just make you feel better.
- Offer support – but don’t try to fix someone’s whole life. When a friend reaches out, they likely only really want help with one issue. It isn’t helpful to point out all the things they need to fix.
- Be patient – don’t expect a quick fix. Reaching out is a gesture of friendship – whether you are the one giving or receiving help. It may ease the stress but will rarely fix the issue right away. Enjoy the respite but don’t be expecting a miracle.
I know from recent experience how important a network of friends can be during emotional times, and I’ve seen the value in the business world as well.
How have you cultivated a network or tribe of friends?