Support

 

Get by with a little help from your friends. Life is full of ups and downs. Don’t ride it out alone. Research shows that people who have close friends and family they can count on are happier and healthier. So, call on yours during the good times and the bad times. Isn’t that what true friends and family are for?

 

Follow these 12 tips to get the support you need:

 

1. Surround yourself with people you trust click plus sign to expand and minus sign to minimize

Think of the people you trust the most—people you can talk to about anything and who have been there for you when you needed them. Friends, parents, grandparents, teachers…whoever they are, spend more time with them.

 

Tip: Turn your everyday events into +1 activities. Grab lunch with a friend, hang out at the mall, or meet up for your school’s basketball game.

 

2. Go with your gut click plus sign to expand and minus sign to minimize

People change. Sometimes that means friends grow apart. Go with your gut if a friendship doesn’t feel right anymore. Letting go can be hard, but you can’t fly if you let people weigh you down.

 

Tip: Don’t be afraid to try a little distance with people who aren’t giving you the support you need. Focus your energy on spending time with people who make you feel good about yourself and want you to succeed.

 

3. Make time click plus sign to expand and minus sign to minimize

Good friendships don’t happen overnight. Make a point to invest time in yours. When people know your friendship is more than just a convenience for you, they’ll be more willing to help you out. You’ll feel more comfortable calling on them for support, too.

 

Tip: Go to that movie your friend really wants to see, even if it’s not your top pick. Or go out of your way to walk a friend home after school, just so you can keep talking.

 

4. Ask for help click plus sign to expand and minus sign to minimize

You might like to solve problems on your own, but the truth is we all need a little help from time to time. Go ahead and ask the people you trust. Seriously. It doesn’t mean you’re weak. Your true friends will be there, ready and willing to help.

 

Tip: Not sure how to ask? Send a text or IM to get the conversation started (like, I want to quit smoking. Can you help me?). Know an ex-smoker? Ask them why and how they quit.

 

5. Leave mind reading to the psychics click plus sign to expand and minus sign to minimize

Unless your friends can read minds, it’s safe to say they don’t always know what you’re thinking. Be specific about what support you want (and don’t want). But be nice about it. Giving lectures is a job best left to your teachers.

 

Tip: Feeling stressed after a breakup and craving a cigarette? Tell a friend and ask them to help plan a smokefree night out to distract you.

 

6. Say thanks click plus sign to expand and minus sign to minimize

Don’t let acts of kindness go unnoticed. Tell your friends you appreciate them, whether you speak it, text it, or show it with your actions. Saying thanks doesn’t take a lot of time, so do it in the moment before you forget.

 

Tip: Have a friend who gave up their last piece of gum to help you beat a cigarette craving? Buy some gum and give it to them with a note that says “Thanks for helping me stay quit!” Or tag them on Facebook so everyone knows how awesome they are.

 

7. Ditch the drama click plus sign to expand and minus sign to minimize

Some people never have anything good to say and bring drama. Don’t turn your life into a reality TV show. Steer clear of the things that add unneeded stress to your day and look for more positive things to do.

 

Tip: Pass on the trash talking and cigarette break after school. Stay above the fray by grabbing a friend and your sneakers and going for a walk instead.

 

8. Grow your social circle click plus sign to expand and minus sign to minimize

Give your social circle a boost by connecting with other people who share your interests. Start by thinking about the things you like to do. Then look for ways to get more involved in them. Get talking with the people around you, and chances are, you’ll find you have stuff in common.

 

Tip: Strike up a conversation with that kid who sits next to you in math class, join an after-school program, volunteer, or connect with the SfT Network.

 

9. Be approachable click plus sign to expand and minus sign to minimize

How you present yourself to others is a big part of branching out and strengthening friendships. Make yourself approachable by making eye contact when talking with others. Smile. Sit and stand straight. Give compliments. People will be drawn to your confidence and positive attitude.

 

Tip: Say hi and smile to classmates when you pass them in the halls, compliment a random person on how great their shirt looks, or tell your friend you like their new haircut.

 

10. Set the stage click plus sign to expand and minus sign to minimize

Don’t wait around for others to come to you. Create opportunities to spend time with friends by suggesting things to do. Join in conversations and give your opinion (even if it’s different from the rest). You don’t have to be the center of attention to get noticed.

 

Tip: Approaching others might seem scary at first, so start small. Ask a classmate if you can sit with them at lunch or invite a friend over to play video games.

 

11. Listen click plus sign to expand and minus sign to minimize

It’s not always about you. Listening is a great way to strengthen and build friendships. Get people to open up by asking questions that can’t be answered in just one word, like yes or no. Then be quiet and let them talk. Resist the urge to butt in with your own comments and stories.

 

Tip: Are your friend’s eyes glazing over when you talk? Take a breath and give them a chance to say something. Ask what they think of a new song you heard or how they’re feeling about semester exams.

 

12. Return the favor click plus sign to expand and minus sign to minimize

Support is a two-way street. If you want others to be there for you, you have to be there for them, too. Check in with your friends and help them out when you can. Sometimes small favors mean the most.

 

Tip: Decorate a friend’s locker to say good luck before a big game, send a tweet to recognize someone special, or make a friend smile by texting a random joke.