We all desire stronger, deeper, more loving relationships but those relationships take work. It takes skill and practice to ask for help from others, just as it takes practice to give loving and empowering support. To have more authentic and loving relationships, take the following action steps to deepen the levels of support you give to the people you love.
Here are a few strategies for giving support that you can practice to strengthen relationships with your friends, family, and co-workers.
TOUCH EACH OTHER
Physical touch does not have to be restricted to the children and romantic partners in your life. Hug your friends when you see them, even if you saw them yesterday. When you are talking, touch someone’s shoulder, wrist, or hand to let them know you are paying exclusive attention to them.
SAY “I LOVE YOU” AND “I APPRECIATE YOU”
No one ever hears it enough. Tell your friends and family you love them every chance you get. Let everyone you know how grateful you are that they are in your life.
BE THEIR BIGGEST FAN
Brag about your friend or partner in front of other people. Compliment them, thank them, and appreciate them in public. Teasing or tearing someone down in public, even if it’s meant as a joke, destroys your relationship and makes you look mean.
Sometimes, all it takes is your presence. When they have a gallery opening, give a reading, or receive an award – be there. Attend the weddings, funerals, and birthday parties, as well as the piano recitals, basketball games, and picnics. Show up to book club, arrive on time for lunch, and show them you care by being present when you are together.
GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT
Some people want to talk through their problems, other people need space. Some people are looking for advice, and others want to vent. Be sure you know what your friends and family want. Ask them explicitly, “What do you want right now?” if you don’t know.
SAY THE WORDS
When things really get tough, be sure the other person knows you’re always there. Say, “I believe in you,” or “You are the best ____ I know,” when they feel self-doubt. Say, “Don’t worry about ____, I’ve got it,” when they are overwhelmed. And always, always, always say “I love you” and “I appreciate you.”
Images shown are the Six of Cups from the Robin Wood Tarot Deck by Robin Wood © 2002 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd., the Ten of Cups and Six of Pentacles from The Linestrider Tarot by Siolo Thompson © 2016 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd., The Star from the After Tarot Kit by Corrine Kenner, Pietro Alligo, and Giulia F. Massaglia © 2017 Lo Scarabeo, Italy, the Four of Wands from The Green Witch Tarot by Ann Moura and Kiri Ostergaard Leonard © 2015 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd., and the Queen of Cups from Llewellyn’s Classic Tarot by Barbara Moore and Eugene Smith © 2014 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. All rights reserved, used with permission.