I remember the day we gathered at a cold and windy gravesite at the far end of the state to say goodbye. There weren’t a lot of people there, in the cold middle of the week, but some had driven more than three hours.
The woman whose body we buried didn’t have one of those lives that are significant in the view of most of the world. She was a wife and mother and grandmother and great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother. She had a lot of friends. She had family who loved her.
She got the nickname “Picnic” because she would put together a picnic at the drop of a hint. Her picnic basket is now the treasured possession of a granddaughter.
“Picnic” was a living example of what psychologists mean when they talk about “social support.” She had friends and family that mattered. She was an active member of her church. And those relationships made her life rich and enriched the lives of others.
There is a bottom line here. Being connected is important. Study after study finds that people who have rich social networks and relationships live longer, happier, and more productive lives.
On blogs like this one, we spend a lot of time on personal and career success. Sometimes we discuss “work/life balance.” But developing your social support doesn’t get much attention. To remedy that, here are some suggestions.
Make time for social connections. If you’re busy with your career, it’s easy to do just a little more work instead of spending time with your spouse or friends. Make the time.
Do nice things for others. Kindnesses develop your social support network while they help you feel good about yourself.
Tell people that they matter. Tell them you appreciate them, admire them, and love them.
Do those things consistently. That’s how you develop a “Picnic” kind of life, one that’s rich in people and relationships.
Being connected is important.
Pay attention to your social support system.
Healthy relationships can help you live a longer, happier, and more productive life.
Make time for social connections.
Do nice things for others.
Tell people that they matter.
Kindnesses develop your social support network while they help you feel good about yourself.
Make enriching your social support something you do every day.