Life Advice



Person to Person: Finding supportive people powers your life

Judi Light Hopson, Emma H. Hopson and Ted Hagen, Tribune News Service on

Published in Helping Yourself

If you want your life to flow more smoothly, take a close look at your “support system.” This system is comprised of those people who help you get things done.

Do you have enough dependable, stable people to help you in lots of ways? Or, do you cope by relying on one or two friends too much?

While health, money, and education strengthen our efforts, we all need supportive people to get things done. These individuals include: a dependable auto mechanic, doctor, hairdresser, babysitter, and more.

“These people don’t magically show up,” declares a mother of four we’ll call Jennifer. “I have actively started looking for people I need.”

She goes on to say, “I used to look and feel twice as good as I do now. I had a stellar hairdresser. She could cut and style like nobody’s business. But, she moved away to another state. Since then, I’ve been cutting my own hair.”

Jennifer knows it takes effort to locate the right hair care person. So, she did some research by asking friends in her city on social media who they’d recommend.

She’s located two great hair stylists to try in the near future. She also found a math tutor for her son online and a new doctor for herself.

Here are tips for finding supportive people:

– Scan local newspapers. Look for local home remodelers, lawn services, and affordable restaurants. Local restaurants are truly support for all of us in today’s busy world. Look for reviews online connected to services you need.


– Ask your close friends about possible contacts. For example, your son-in-law might know of an affordable car repair person. Or, your best friend might connect you to a good babysitter.

– Grow some new friendships. If you’re depending on one or two people, this is shaky ground. All of us need at least five or six friends in our close circle. Use casual texting to inquire about someone’s favorite dessert place or call an acquaintance to ask about community colleges for your niece. Open new conversations to initiate future friendships.

– Go the extra mile to help someone. If your computer repair person does a great job, offer to give this person a generous tip. Be good to people who make your life easier, so they’ll feel enthused about helping you.

“I’ve learned to really thank those who give me support,” says a retired teacher we’ll call Becky. “People respond to your calls faster, if they know you care about them. Feeding the spirit of those you depend on will energize them, so they’ll pour energy into your efforts.”

“My computer repair person helped me on a Sunday afternoon,” says Becky. “This guy had fallen the day before and really hurt his leg. However, he called me back, asked me to bring my laptop to his house, and I was able to finish my documents on time.”

“Always be thinking about how to build people up,” says a life coach we’ll call Phil. He emphasizes, “I have clients who, I can tell, have drained the life out of those around them.”

Phil makes it a point to work on his clients’ support systems, first and foremost. “If someone has no close friends, no strong family members, no good dating partner, I start right there. I explain to them that they will be stronger with a team of people. Some have relied on themselves too much, and for too long. They are so broken, I have a hard time building them back up.”


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