Support networks can be very valuable in helping us get through problems – but what do we mean by “support networks”?
Humans are a social species, we all need some degree of human interaction in order to be well physically, mentally and emotionally. A support network is made up of the people around you who offer you time, energy, care and practical or emotional help when you need it. These people might be family, friends, coworkers, members of hobby groups or even therapy group members.
If you are a member of someone’s support network, it can be hard to know how to offer and accept support with in it. The network is likely to end up as more of a “web”, with relationships criss-crossing all over.
I like the “Ring Theory“, which is a model of the directions in which to offer an accept support. The idea is that the person going through the problem is in the middle with concentric rings around them. The closer someone is to the person, emotionally, the further in they would be in the rings. For example, family members and friends are likely to be on an inner ring but coworkers are more likely to be on an outer ring.
The mantra is “comfort in, dump out”. Offer comfort and support to people on a ring which is further in than yours. Seek comfort and support in doing that from people who are on a ring which is further out. It will be easier for people further removed from the problem or situation to help care for you.