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Social Support 101

I’m pretty sure if you’re on this page, it means you whether know what social support means, you’ve come across it but was intrigued to discover more about it, or you’re in actual need of social support – either way, you’ve come to the right place. Every living creature on this planet, requires some kind of support, whether they admit to it, of course; as long as the support given is not the flat white wall you’re leaning on, whether Gaia, your golden retriever, or Joe, your neighbor, as long as it is provided by another being, it’s called social support. The reality, in which one is cared for and has all needed and available assistance, is called one’s supportive social network.

Social Support is part of a wide range of disciplines, including psychology, medicine, sociology, nursing, public health, education, rehabilitation, and social work. Besides, the supportive resources can be emotional, tangible, informational and companionship; we will go over them in a while though, do not worry. However, we cannot define social support without having explained who does the “social” in social support consist of: it can be your friend, family member, pet, neighbor, coworker, significant other; as well as government provided social support, which entails mainly of “public aid”.

Bottom line: Social Support is the physical and emotional comfort given to us by various people within our social network. It’s knowing that you’re a part of a community that loves and cares for you, and wants all that is best for you. And it is exactly what I’m working on building here on www.afriendlyadvice.com – a social support network to all persons seeking care and attention.

Social support comes in different forms, and the main four are the following

  • Emotional or Moral Support: this is what people most often think of, when they think about social support. People are emotionally supportive when they care for us and do well by us. For example, if you have lost someone dear to your heart, an emotionally supportive friend calls you everyday to check up on you.
  • Practical or Tangible Support: this is what is also known as the provision of financial support, or material goods and services; it is the concrete and direct way people assist each other. For example, actually, no, no need for an example for this one. I’m sure you all know what this one means.
  • Informational Support: this is the provision of guidance and advice that is useful to others, for there might be a point of view they haven’t considered before; this kind of information has the potential to help others resolve an issue they’re faced with. For example, if your relative discovered she’s got breast cancer and one of your close colleagues has had a similar ordeal, your colleague could provide your relative with useful tips and information on what to expect from chemotherapy.
  • Companionship: this is when there is the presence of companions to engage in shared social activities; this kind of support, gives you a sense of belonging. For example, after a long shitty day at work, your partner shows up unexpected to pick you up after your shift ends, to take you somewhere nice to unwind. Sometimes, only having his/her company is enough for us to feel socially supported.

Why it is important to ask for support when you need it and how it can affect your well-being

Whether you seek social support from close relatives, friends, coworkers or skilled professionals, it is essential to have your support needs met, in order to ensure a healthy social growth, as well as, to improve and/or maintain you mental health. For example, if you are currently depressed, the social support you’re obtaining would be at a low level, as you most probably have very few or no supportive friends at all, also you might have low marital satisfaction, difficulty in trusting people, etc. The more our social support network grows smaller, the more we are left with our amplified feelings of loneliness, the more it becomes difficult breaking out of the depression we’re in, the furthest it affects our mental health. Therefore, social support ensures our mental health and our wholesome and natural social development.

And that is exactly what is provided, here at www.afriendlyadvice.com; creating a safe space online platform for all individuals in need of support, whether through public discussion or private messaging, is one of the main objectives behind the establishment of this website. Friendly advice is that extended hand, during your most melancholic moment, that begs you to seek support, whenever you need it.

 

Means to improve your social support network

  • Draw a new plan, create new opportunities and don’t be afraid to take social risks: analyze well the kind of social support you’re lacking to figure out the kind of social support you’re seeking; step outside your comfort zone and practice new activities, in order to modify the lifestyle you’re leading. Meet new people and make new acquaintances.
  • In order to meet new people, you must change the places you usually hang out at, not necessarily meaning to attend loud parties and events – it could be any social venue, such as, informal gatherings, community centers, schools, work places, and so on.
  • Get more from the support you have: it’s a mistake to think people will automatically know what you need – you have to tell them! Be careful not to overwhelm your support providers, ask for exactly what you need.
  • Ask for help: ask the people you know, to broaden the network you have. For example, if you’ve recently come out of the closet and have no actual network of potential partners/friends, ask your gay cousin who has already come out a while back and built some sort of a social network within the homosexual sphere, to start accompanying you to lounges where you could make new acquaintances.
  • Let go of unhealthy ties and avoid negative relationships: I understand this can be a bit difficult, for walking away from any relationship is painful enough; however, no matter how painful for you or the other, when the relationship has started to do you more damage than good, letting go of this poison is the best decision you could ever make. Be it with husband/spouse or even a family member, try to limit the amount of contact with people who have negative impact on your life. For example, if you’re in an abusive relationship, try to, as much as you can, detach yourself from this person and avoid relying on them for support (be it social, financial, sexual, etc.) for all they’ll be providing you with will be tainted with the kind of negativity that could break a Man.
  • Protect your intimate life: we all know that finding a good intimate partner is harder than winning the lottery; a good intimate relationship, offers security and protection from loneliness and depression. If you notice the relationship faltering, do what you got to do to save, preserve and improve it.
  • In order to meet new people, you must change the places you usually hang out at, not necessarily meaning to attend loud parties and events – it could be any social venue, such as, informal gatherings, community centers, schools, work places, and so on.

 

To conclude…

All living creatures are in need of some kind of support; some seek financial support, some seek guidance and advice, some just need to feel loved and heard, whilst others simply need someone to share their joys and sorrows with. No matter which type of these supports you might need, as long as it’s being provided by a fellow living being, it is called social support.

And that is exactly what a friendly advice is all about: landing a helping hand to someone in need, no matter what the need consists of, I promise you, all efforts will be put for the requested support is met.

I will always be at your disposal should you have any queries, difficulties or anxieties. If you leave your comment below the article, I will try to get back to you at my earliest convenience. Thank you for the support you’re providing me by just being here. Together, I hope, we will grow into being a strong, loving and understanding supportive social network for each other and all newcomers.

 

 

 

 

 

Post Author: admin

Greetings!
My name is Elssy Karaoghlanian, I am Lebanese Armenian living in Lebanon. I'm currently working in an International NGO that promotes equality between men and women amongst other humanitarian and feminist ideologies. I'm passionate in almost everything i do (willingly), I support everything that advocates for mutual respect, understanding, peace and love. I'm very honest, even when it's for my disadvantage. I fight for what i believe in, even if it hinders me. I have achieved many accomplishments but the number one for me is my soulmate and partner in life.

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