Offering Support Requires Balance: How Do You Manage?

Buffer Time-Support
Make space to offer support when needed.

Offering support to a friend or a family member in need is part of what it means to be in a relationship.

So, when trouble comes, what do you do? 

Balancing your needs and responsibilities when others unexpectedly need your help or support presents you with a time management challenge.

And at the same time, being able to offer support and encouragement when it’s needed is an important part of your relationships.

Support and Time 

Your ability to make good time choices, even in the midst of a crisis, is a key element in sustaining your energy. It makes it possible for you to be as helpful as possible throughout a difficult time.

Finding time to nurture friendships is different from offering support in a crisis. Social contacts are planned. They include things like setting aside time for lunch, regular telephone chats and social evenings.  But how to support friends when they seek your help and understanding in times of trouble or crisis is a different animal all together.

The fundamental difference between social contact and helping a friend in crisis is this: When a friend’s need for support is immediate, the timing of the contact is not flexible.

For example…

Consider this scenario, which may be all too familiar to you in these difficult economic 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 lunch 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.  What can you do to avoid the stress of finding sufficient time to be a good friend right now, not tomorrow or next Friday, when you might actually have free time?

Support Tip: How do you feel?

First, take a deep breath, pause, and examine your own feelings. It’s important to respond from a grounded place, rather than being reactive. So find time to understand how you feel about this event before you decide how you are going to support your friend. Do you feel:

  • Obligated?
  • Pressured?
  • Guilty, because you’re 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.

Support Tip: Be Realistic

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 and find your balance point between being the friend you’d like to be and accomplishing what you need to do.

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.

  • How do YOU make these kinds of time choices for yourself? 
  • What do you find helpful? 
  • Where do your biggest challenges lie?

Reflecting on these things ahead of time helps you be more prepared when your support is needed.

Here’s more help for you.

Change is a fact of life, but do you sometimes feel like it’s coming at you too fast? Or does it pop up unexpectedly and throw all your plans awry? Well, I’d like to share a time tool that helps. no matter what kind of change you’re dealing with.

It’s titled How to Partner with Change and Aging, and to discover more about it right now, just click here:

Let’s explore time together…

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