Social Support

RESILIENCE TIP Resilience is the ability to cope well with difficulties and to bounce back from setbacks. While some people are naturally more resilient than others, resiliency can also be intentionally developed. Social Support Social support is an important factor in our resilience. But what does "support" mean? For example: For some people support is having someone there while we pour our heart out. For some people support is having someone brainstorm with us while we problem solve or make a difficult decision. For some people support is having someone accompany us on a quiet walk. For some people support is having someone bring us dinner when we are going through a particularly tough time. Social support can take many forms, and which form of support we would like can vary depending on the circumstances. Support can become stressful rather than helpful when people disagree on how that support should look. Sometimes we mistakenly assume that our partner or friend or colleague understands support the same way we do. Does this dialogue sound familiar? "All I wanted was some support!" "But I am being supportive, I was offering suggestions for your problem." "I can solve the problem, I just wanted you to listen for a little while." While it would be wonderful if others could read our mind, research suggests this happens less than we would like! Even among people who have known us for a long time, such as spouses and good friends, it helps them support us if we can tell them what form of support we are seeking. You can build your resilience by: 1. taking time to be with the important people in your life, 2. asking for support when you need - and clarifying which form of support you would like (contrary to the belief of some that being strong means being able to go it alone), and 3. making yourself available to people who need your support - in the form they are seeking (supporting others does help strengthen your own resilience). Carolyn Tal, PhD Psychologist and Consultant Working with individuals and partners   in developing resilience and related issues. 052-825-8585