Of all the things that can help you be happy and successful in life, very few are as important as having a social support system. By social support system (or 3S), I mean a network of people (friends, family, business partners, etc.) that you can rely on for various forms of assistance in overcoming hurdles and in achieving your goals.
The people in your social support system can help you in many ways:
- They offer you feedback and advice to help you in your pursuits;
- They provide emotional support when the going gets tough;
- They offer a model through their own behavior and pursuits;
- They may lend you resources or give you a helping hand when in necessity;
- They are there for you and you know you can count on them.
All this readily available support proves itself to be enormously useful. The truth is that no matter how smart and ambitious you are, great things can only be achieved with the support of others. And the people who’ve achieved the greatest things have usually had a good social support system to rely on.
This being said, there are a few important ideas worth mentioning about social support systems.
A Single Person Is Not a System
A system entails a number of elements, not just one. Having one friend does not equal having a social system. Having a romantic partner or spouse that you always go to for help and no friends to speak of beyond them, also doesn’t count.
There are only so many ways a single person can help you and sometimes they simply won’t be able to do much for you. Plus, what happens if that friend moves to another country? Or if you break up with your partner? All your support has gone down the drain.
If you have social network of one, you need to expand it in order to develop an actual interpersonal system for support. Go out there, meet new people, make conversation and build friendships. Multiple of them.
Compatibility Does Matter a Lot
Not every person you’ll meet will be a good fit as a member of your 3S. They need to have similar goals, values and life principles to you in order to help you in a meaningful way. Otherwise they will often pull you down rather than push you up, even if they are very well intentioned.
Considering the diversity of goals, values and life principles among people, I dare say that from all the people you’ll meet, the ones who can make good members of your social support system will probably be a minority.
Nevertheless, you will find plenty of them if you maintain an active social life, you meet lots of people and you explore the possibilities. But you have to do these things. It does take some work to meet good people for you.
Support Implies Reciprocity
A good social support system involves reciprocity: you receive help from members of the system in various forms, and you provide help to them in return. If you only take and you do not give, after a while the people you rely on will stop being there for you.
A social support system functions much more on self-interest than on altruism. It’s the idea that by helping each other, a bunch of people can get much further than they could on their own, that keeps it functioning well. This is what has been keeping society working for thousands of years, and this is what keeps a 3S working.
It’s Time to Let Go of Your Social Insecurities
The biggest obstacle for most people in building a good social support system for themselves is shyness and lack of confidence. This prevents them from attending social events, starting conversations with others, being social and building strong relationships.
If this is your case, it’s time you learn how to stop being shy and gain the social confidence you want. Get this area of your life handled, and everything else will fall into place.
I recommend you join my free social confidence newsletter, when I will share with you a couple of times per week proven advice and techniques to gain social confidence, develop your social skills, and build the social life of your dreams.
When you join you’ll also get immediate access to a special presentation where I reveal some of my top know-how on gaining conversation confidence, based on my 5+ years of experience as a social confidence coach.
So, join the newsletter here, and I’ll talk to you some more on the other side.
Image courtesy of thetaxhaven