7 Ways to Build a Powerful Social Support Network

Our need for connection to other human beings, a strong social support network, is a must for good health, just like nourishing food.

November 1, 2016
friends hugging

Adapted from The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook 

We know intuitively, through countless studies, loads of epidemiological data, and laboratory testing, that a strong support network matters greatly to good health. Even so, at one time or another, all of us may encounter a period where our network is inadequate. Maybe you've just moved far from home, or you've become a new parent, or you're tackling a specific issue that your existing network isn't familiar with—there are many reasons for needing to improve the depth or width of your support network.

More: 4 Types of Relationship Madness to Avoid

Nobody ever says, "Geez, I just have way too many caring people in my life who are will- ing to help me out!"

If you find yourself needing to boost your connections with others, here are some tips on building that support.

meeting new people
Take risks

There is no opportunity to meet new people and possibly develop rewarding relationships if you don't go for it. Join groups, accept invitations, try new activities, and just generally be open to meeting more people. 

More: 6 Basic Relationship Needs Everyone Seeks to Fulfill

friends talking coffee
Speak up

Unless all your friends and family members are part of a psychic network, they won't know what you need unless you tell them. Learn how to communicate your needs so that those around you can address them.

meeting new people
Branch out

Use your existing network to form new connections. Ask those around you to introduce you to interesting, fun people they know and who they think you might enjoy getting to know, too. 

More: 9 Behaviors That Restrict Your Love Life

leaving relationship
Let go

There might be a few relationships in your circle that aren't very healthy. Identify those relationships and look at ways to break the negative tie or reduce the impact it has on you, so that you are open for healthier connections.

Map it

If you aren't even sure what kinds of support you are missing or where you might find that support, sit down and figure it out. For example, if you have lots of practical support, but not much emotional support, looking for a group of folks dealing with the same issues would greatly strengthen your network.

More: 5 Conversation Starters That Never Fail

friends talking
Chill out

We meet numerous people over the course of our lives, but only some of them become part of our network and even fewer become true friends. Forming meaningful connections takes time; don't be impatient.

Treasure it

Strong relationships are not one-sided. Be sure you find ways to contribute to your important relationships and tell those special people how much you appreciate them in your life.

See Next