Creating and Maintaining A Social Support Network

The song “I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends” provides more than a catchy tune; the Beatles were onto something with that famous phrase.  The stress we inevitably experience from our busy lives filled with work, parenting, and other personal obligations need not be tackled individually.  It’s always nice to have a group of friends to go out with after work or on the weekends; however, research states that having just two or three supportive friends is just as much, if not more beneficial to emotional health as having a large group of acquaintances or friends with whom you are not as close. 

 

Some great reasons to have a few friends to rely on include:

 

–  Availability.  If you have only one person in which you fall back on when things get tough, you may wear that person out or become disappointed when he or she is unavailable.  Both parties benefit by having an extra person or two involved. 

–  Diversity.  By befriending different kinds of people, you benefit from their different points of viewand experiences.  Having an outgoing friend to go to parties with, a knowledgeable friend to learn new information from, and a sympathetic and understanding friend who will always be there to listen create an ideal group to cover all your social needs. 

–  Complementarity.  A group of friends have the ability to bring out different sides of each other.  For example, your extroverted friend has the potential to reveal a shy friend’s outgoing side.  Also, friends can introduce you to other friends, further increasing a supportive social circle.   

–  Emotional well-being.  A sense of belonging is crucial for maintaining emotional health.  Studies indicate that those who don’t have a strong social network are much more likely to suffer from depression. 

For more tips about getting the most out of your social network, check out Magellan’s “In the Spotlight” and choose the topic “How to Create a Social Support System.”  You will need to login to the Magellan website with your personal username and password or create one to view the page. SMU’s Magellan phone number is 877-704-5696, which is the number you will need to create a login.  Once you are logged in, come back and click the link again to go directly to the article.

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About Mary Stall

BF-BusinessSV(TrainDev)
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