Yesterday’s post introduced you to the idea of creating a roadmap to solace in preparation or reaction to a change or transition. Today we'll look at how to communicate elements of that roadmap to the people within your support network to ensure they provide you with the type of support you want or need.
3 things to consider.
There are three things to consider before communicating your needs to the people you anticipate calling on for solace:
Breadth of support.
If you are embarking on a significant change and anticipate some challenges during your transition, then it might be helpful to formalize your support. More on that in a minute.
If your change is a smaller one, but you think you might want to reach out to people for comfort or solace, or if you want to use your roadmap for any general support needs regardless of the change, then a more natural approach will likely suffice.
Of course you might not know how often you will want to call on someone for solace, but if there are people you regularly talk with about issues, concerns, struggles, etc. then it is likely you will want them to continue to be a part of your roadmap to solace as you move through your transition, and will want to talk with them about potential needs.
For those you might call on only occasionally or rarely, or for a very specific purpose, depending on your relationship, it might be best to wait until there’s a need, and then make your requests of them at that time. This way you’ll prevent people who might otherwise get curious from asking more questions than you’re prepared to answer, or from feeling hurt that you don’t count on them for more support than you are planning.
Type of solace.
While it might not always make sense to clearly outline the type of support you want from someone, when you are in crisis mode, it will be of great benefit for you to have a clear idea of who to call for what.
But an even bigger advantage is for those upon who you rely to have a better understanding of what you may need from them, and what they can do to help, as well as what might hinder you, in your time of need.
It is easy to take advantage of good support, especially from dear friends and family, so when applicable, begin by showing them your gratitude for having been there for you in the past. Then have a conversation with them about what you’re going through or anticipate in terms of support needs during your transition. If it makes sense to do so, also let them know that it would be helpful for them to ask what you need before offering support, and that you will try to be clear about what you’re seeking when you call on them.
If you want to formalize things a bit more by providing one or more people within your chosen group with a summary of anticipated needs and how they can help, let them know ahead of time that you’ll be doing that. An awkward situation could result if you just send them a document about how they can help you without having talked about it first.
Foster these relationships, because good friends are well worth the time and effort, but also because you’ll want those friendships to be in good standing if/when the time comes to depend on them to help you through difficult times.
Examples of adding formality.
A more formalized approach to support might include a conversation followed by something in writing as a reminder to both them and you of what will, and will not, be helpful in terms of the kind of support you’ll need. Indicators for them to know if you’re doing well or are struggling can also be helpful.
For a couple of examples of what such documents could look like, click here (make sure to adapt them to your specific needs or contact me if you'd like some help).
Is creating a roadmap really worth the bother?
It might seem awkward to follow some of the advice mentioned here, as ways to provide us with fulfilling solace aren’t things that are typically discussed with our good friends or family members, but they also offer huge benefits by getting everyone on the same page.
Remember, when going through a big change, or many concurrent changes, the more stability and structure you can add to your life, the more clarity you’ll have during your transition. Creating and communicating your specific needs for solace is one way to achieve this.
In times like these, more, instead of less, communication and understanding will go a long way towards creating a smoother transition. So why not give it a try?
What's your perspective?
Have you ever thought in advance about the type of solace you might need before pursuing it? If so, how did that turn out for you? Have you found that you move through cycles where you prefer people over things and experiences or vice versa?
For me there are times when I just want to be alone with a good book, or a movie and popcorn, and slow down my perceptions of chaos during transition. Other times I want the comfort of good friends or family and to talk about it. How about you? Share your experiences and let's have a conversation!
About the Author
Megan Rounds, Ed.D. is owner and principle perculator of perculcha, llc.
**Please note RSS Feed not compatible with Chrome without an extension.