Offering Support –How to Do It Without Giving Yourself Away

buffer time -- offering support
Buffer time for offering support…

Offering support and encouragement when it’s needed is an important part of your relationships.  But how do you do it and still address your own needs?

Indeed, balancing your needs and responsibilities when others unexpectedly need your help or support presents a major time management challenge.

You may not even want to think about it at the time, but your ability to make good time choices, even in the midst of a crisis, is a key element in sustaining your energy. This, in turn, makes it possible for you to be as helpful as possible throughout a difficult time.

Offering support 101…

There is one fundamental difference between social contact and helping someone in crisis. When a friend or family member’s need for support is immediate, the timing is not flexible.

Consider this scenario, which may be all too familiar to you in these difficult times:

A close friend of yours unexpectedly loses her job. She is angry, frightened and hurt emotionally. Her need for your support right now goes well beyond matching up schedules for a walk or for an hour on the phone. In this type of situation, that kind of flexibility is not possible.

But at the same time, your schedule is probably no more flexible than usual. 

So, what can you do to avoid the stress of finding sufficient time to be a good friend “right now”? Right now is when it’s needed, not tomorrow or next Friday, when you might actually have free time.

Step #1 — Pause.

Take a deep breath, be still for a moment, and examine your own feelings. It’s important to respond from a grounded place, rather than being reactive. So, take some time to understand how you feel about this event before you decide how you are going to support your friend.

  • Do you feel obligated?
  • Do you feel pressured?
  • Do you feel guilty thinking about how the need to support your friend will complicate your planned activities?

The more conflicted you feel, the more difficult it is to support your friend.  So clear your mind of all sense of obligation or guilt. These are not good motivators for realigning your schedule and will likely leave you feeling victimized yourself, in the end.

Step #2 — Keep your feet on the ground.

The next step is to remain realistic about your ability to realign your existing commitments. It’s important to not create expectations that you may not be able to meet.

Once you have considered your own feelings, you are ready to adjust your priorities. You’ll be able to find your balance point between being the friend you’d like to be and accomplishing what you need to do.

Bottom line?

Offering your friend your undivided, unhurried attention with genuine caring will provide more support than ‘sacrificing’ more extensive time while feeling distracted, resentful and over-extended.

So, how do you make these kinds of time choices for yourself now?

What do you find helpful? 

And where do your biggest challenges lie? 

Here’s more help…

Time is pure potential. You decide how to use it; and once you do, it’s gone.  That’s why it’s so important to build on your best time choices.  If you feel like your time slips through your fingers, then you’ll want to claim your copy of my complimentary “Daily Choices Template:  Proven Strategies for Tracking Your Best Time Choices Today, Tomorrow & All Year!” There’s no time like the present – to start moving toward the future you envision for yourself.

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