No one should have to go through life alone. If you have a list of people you can call when you want a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on, it makes life a whole lot easier.
Life is even more fulfilling when you have special people with whom you can share victories and create cherished memories.
Consider these ideas on how to establish and keep contact with others to maintain an active support system:
1. Vow to talk to 2 people in your family each week. Whether you’re communicating to a brother, sister, or an extended family member, make a personal decision to phone or visit 2 family members per week.
- Why? Because family members are often our biggest sources of social support. Consider people in your family as part of your social network.
- You could also meet your new best friend through your aunt or brother. Your relatives have neighbors, friends, co-workers, and various other types of acquaintances you might meet when paying them a visit.
2. Keep steady “real time” contact with your good friends. Have you noticed your phone and face-to-face time with old friends has decreased since the advent of email, Facebook, and the like? Make the extra effort to schedule lunch or an outing together, or even extend an invitation to them to just come over to your house and hang out together.
3. Join a club or organized group to share a hobby you love. Although you’ve probably heard this suggestion before, you might think, “I’m just not a ‘club’ sort of person.” But if you’re looking to expand your social contacts, why not try joining a group?
- Consider that you’ll also expand your skills and experiences in the hobby by joining with others to practice your activity of choice.
- For example, if you love to read, join a book discussion group at your local Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million store, or independent bookstore.
- If you wish, you can choose not to speak during the group. Just listen to others and think about what they say. The point is that you expand your social circle with those who enjoy taking part in the same activity that you like to do. You already know you’ll have something in common with the participants.
4. Tune in to your neighbors. You wouldn’t be the first person who took his neighbors for granted. However, you might be living near some very fascinating and friendly people. Why not take advantage of it? If you haven’t already, introduce yourself to your neighbors when you see them outdoors. Offer to help your neighbors carry in groceries.
- Make it a goal to notice your neighbors – their activities, comings and goings, and interests. You never know, someone who shares your love for golf, jogging, or sailing might live right nearby. And you’ll be comforted by the fact that should you need something or simply want to visit with someone, they’re just outside your door.
The human condition can at times trigger feelings of loneliness and isolation. But you can do plenty of things to overcome or even banish those feelings from your life.
Keeping weekly contact with family members, having more talks and visits with friends, joining organized groups, and taking notice of your neighbors are ways to expand and maintain a supportive social network. Commit to continue to reach out to others. You’ll both enjoy it!