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Times are Tough-How Can Support My Family & Friends?
Keeping Your Family First
It is normal to be self-centered when times get tough for whatever reason, whether because of grief, poor health, concern about making-ends-meet, drought, guilt about the past, or conflict with your partner. But at times such as these, it is essential to look around you and take stock of how your family and friends are faring. Are the people you care most about doing OK? Family members and friends are probably the people who care the most about you. It is your responsibility to nurture these relationships if they are also important to you. Relationships are a two-way street. It takes two people to make them work and make them stronger. There is a saying that 'we can choose our friends but not our family.' This is true. But without effective communication and a commitment to nurture family relationships, they may suffer with neglect, conflict, guilt, and other hurts. You can support family and friends by being a good listener, caring about their feelings, letting them know when you are available to offer support, providing assistance when possible, telling them you love and care for them, and being sincere and honest. It's important to care for your relationships with family and friends without giving up your sense of self. You do not need to be a martyr. You shouldn't feel angry or resentful when you provide help. The assistance or support you provide should be something you want to do. A healthy relationship with a family member or friend will not make you feel taken for granted or used. The relationship should build you both up, make you better persons, and make your hearts sing.
- Dr. Kathy Bosch, Extension Family Life Specialist, University of Nebraska Panhandle Research & Extension Center
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