Cultivating Your Support System

Having relationships and making friends is part of life. Everyone does it. Having said that, some of us are better at doing it than others. If you’ve found yourself having a hard time making supportive friends, it’s time to take a deep look into yourself and figure out why. After all, the biggest part of our lives is spent with our friends and family and these relationships are what make us who we are.

  1. Be a Friend to Have a Friend – Building supportive relationships takes a lot of time and effort. If you expect people to be supportive of you when you need it then it’s very important for you to do the same for them. The ìGolden Rules is a very good rule to follow when it comes to friendships and supportive relationships.
  2. Be Who You Are from Day One – Difference is the spice of life, so never try to be someone you’re not just to have certain friends or to attract a certain person into your life. The fact is, people rarely change, and you can’t keep it up. The more you trust others to be themselves, the more they’ll trust you to do the same.
  3. Respect Others for Who They Are – By contrast, it’s imperative to be very accepting of other people’s differences too. It doesn’t mean you have to accept illegal behavior, but you should be willing to accept some minor moral differences or things that are superficial differences, like skin color or whether or not they choose to get a tattoo.
  4. Avoid Taking Responsibility for Others – There is a fine line between support and enabling behavior. When a friend has to suffer the consequences of their erroneous actions, you do not have to take any type of responsibility for your actions to be supportive. You can be supportive even when visiting someone in jail.
  5. Believe in Your Friends to Be Better – Sometimes part of being a supportive person and a good friend is to want more for them than they do. If, for example, one of your friends is in an abusive relationship, don’t stand by and support that idea. Do demand that they get help and get out of that situation.
  6. Learn How to Listen Effectively – We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. We should all seek to listen twice as much as we talk. But, there is a difference between just sitting there silently as opposed to truly listening. Try repeating back to people what you think they said in your own words until you get it right.
  7. True Friendships are 100/100 – No one is keeping score in a real friendship that offers support, so that is why they are 100/100 instead of 50/50. If you’re focused on providing 100 percent of yourself, you will not be focused on resentments and misunderstandings
  8. Spend Real Time with Your Friends – When you foster a friendship and a real relationship with someone, spend real time with them that counts. Most people don’t need that much time. Sometimes it’s just ten minutes on the phone, other times it’s meeting for coffee. Another time it might be bringing the double chocolate chip ice cream and the movie Terms of Endearment with a box of tissues.
  9. Learn to Accept Criticism (and Give It) – True supportive relationships aren’t always completely positive. Sometimes friends need someone to be willing to call them on their BS. Truly supportive people can do that for each other and allow it to be done for them.
  10. Ask for What You Need – Some relationships can seem one-sided at times, which is why it is important to learn how to draw boundaries and ask for what you need. If you ask people for what you need and they don’t, can’t, or won’t provide it, it might be time to move on.

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Developing real support systems requires a lot of work, but it will pay off when you truly need the support. By setting the standard of what you expect in a relationship, you will be a good example to your friends and family of the type of support network that you need.


  1. Maryanne

    09/17/2023 at 12:12 pm

    Friends are so important. I like your list of suggestions to cultivate your support system. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kaci

    09/17/2023 at 12:12 pm

    Learning how to listen effectively — that one spoke to me from my college days as a major in human development and family sciences. Lots of family dynamics classes. It can save friendships & marriages for sure.

  3. Brandi Sunrises2Sunsets

    09/17/2023 at 12:32 pm

    Excellent tips. It’s so important to have those in life who support us!

  4. Sarah

    09/17/2023 at 12:42 pm

    As I get older I realize having good quality friends for support is a must! Connection can be so hard especially when we change, settle down, have families, etc. I feel it’s important to gain true connections to individuals who are on the same level with us and understand we are all in different phases of our lives. <3

  5. Eva Petruzziello

    09/17/2023 at 2:05 pm

    All these things are sooo true!

  6. Tracy McHugh

    09/17/2023 at 9:04 pm

    Loved the be a friend to have a friend, line. So true.

  7. Kelly Flickinger

    09/18/2023 at 11:11 am

    Great tips, thx for sharing 🙂

  8. Makayla

    09/18/2023 at 1:26 pm

    These are definitely important tips to keep in mind for any platonic or romantic relationship I think! I will admit though that these can be hard things to do especially if the other person doesn’t seem to get it.

  9. Andy

    09/18/2023 at 7:05 pm

    These are all very important tips to build your support system!
    Thank you for sharing

  10. Jenny

    09/19/2023 at 8:39 am

    Great post and love what you said about be a friend to have a friend. There are so many one sided friendships which don’t work because there’s always one person putting in the effort.

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