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Have you ever had a Wake Up Call that got you wondering -  How to Help  a Friend In Need?  

For all my friends, whether close or casual, just because.  One of the longest post I will ever do, and the most real too.  Everyone will go through some hard times at some point.  Life isn't easy.  Just something to think about - did you know the people that are the strongest are usually the most sensitive? Did you know the people who exhibit the most kindness are the first to get mistreated? Did you know the ones who take care of others all the time are usually the ones who need it the most? did you know the three hardest things to say are "I love you, I'm sorry and HELP me".? Sometimes just because a person looks happy, you have to look past their smile to see how much pain they may be in. To all my friends who are going through some issues right now - lets start an intention avalanche... to give a moment of support to all those who may have family problems, health struggles, job issues, worries of ant kind and just need to know that someone cares.  Do it for all of us  Message from a Facebook  Friend - perhaps a call for help)
 

A Wake Up Call That Asks How To Help A Friend In Need

 

I got a wake up call this morning from a dear friend who posted the above on Facebook. As she is a frugal poster I was intrigued to see what she had written.  I don't think she'll mind me sharing it with you as it made me sit up and take stock of how often I may have a friend in need around me who I might be neglecting or overlooking because they appear to have it all together or because I'm distracted with my own problems.  After reading it, I wondered if she was talking about herself as she is a a strong, caring and very kind person who readily gives of herself to all her fiends and family.  It made me wonder what type of friend I was and was I taking her and others for granted.

Do you know when or how to Help A Friend in Need?How to Help A Friend In Need

In the current economic and political climate (unemployment, massive numbers of refugees fleeing political persecution and seemingly unsolvable wars) we can  all suffer from compassion fatigue or just tune out to others and their problems.  The barrage of unending media coverage of the world of woes  can desentisize us to the pain and suffering that is all around us.  We can become that friend in need, rather than be a help to a friend in need or comfort in crisis.

So how do we shake off the apathy and open our eyes to the needs of those around us?  How do we show genuine care and concern without being intrusive and pushy?  A difficult line to tread with those we love and those who appear unloved.

10 Tips To Help A Friend In Need.

  1. Listen to the other person.
    Often times when we are communicating with others we focus on what we want to say when they finish speaking so we don't really hear what they are trying to communicate.  Or we are thinking about something else altogether.  I know I've been on the phone to a friend and I've been thinking the whole time about what I'm going to cook for dinner. I remember a classic example of this occurred one day when a group of friends got together to fund raise for a good cause.  We had been hard at it for a couple of hours and were really making great progress.  During the business of the day she received a phone call from another lady. I could hear my friend using hum, yeah and that's great - when the phone call was suddenly cut short.  When she got off the phone she told us she had said "yeah that's great" when the caller had said her daughter had just broken her arm.  Ooops - she had defiantly been distracted during that call.  You can imagine how embarrassing that was for my friend and how unheard the other lady felt.  
  2. Just be there and Observe
    Look for signs that might indicate that your friend is going through a rough patch such as being snappy, hanging out less or withdrawn. 
  3. Discuss what matters to others for awhile.
    Put your own interests on hold.  People appreciate it when others clear time and space (not talking or doing anything) to enable them to open up.  It demonstrates that you care about them and what they have to say matters.  It's difficult for someone to disclose their troubles if you are rushing out the door as they speak.
  4. Encourage your friend to talk through the pain.
     Watch your verbal and non verbal language.  That is, use an open posture and look like you are interested in what they are saying.  Use minimal encourages such as um,, yes and head nods.  Remember to  ask open ended questions to help your friend explore their issues in greater depth and to reflect back what you understood them to have said.
  5. Don't Judge:
    Sometimes what is a mountain to one person is a mole hill to another. We should not be making a judgement about the validity of the problem based on our own subjective assessment of the situation. The other thing people do and I've been caught out too is to say: "that's nothing compared to what I'm going through" or "  So and so also had that problem and they did..." Stay focused on your friend and the issues she/he is having right now.
  6. Offer suggestions if appropriate: Remember if you're offering advice to be sensitive to their needs.  You are not their mother or boss so don't go ordering them about. Also as we are all different so are our responses to different situations.
  7. Check in regularly: Don't just hear the problem and then assume that it's all fine and dandy just because you heard about it once.  Keep in touch, in person or by electronic devices, to keep abreast of how your mate is coping or if things have improved or gotten worse.
  8. Don't gossip:  
    Your friend has shared their story and pain with you not the whole world.  It's their issues and up to them to discuss with others if they please. Don't assume that just because someone else appears to know about it that they know it all.  Keep your mouth closed unless they are placing themselves or others safety at risk.
  9. Encourage your friend to seek professional help
    If the issues are beyond the type of support you can offer encourage seeking professional guidance. Also if you believe that your friend is suffering from anxiety, depression or may be considering suicide then encourage therm to seek help.  More information on these topics can be gained from the Beyond  Blue webpage.
  10. Step Out of Your Comfort ZONE:
    Reach out to others that you don't know, yet also need a friend's help by:
  • Volunteering 
  • Paying it forward
  • Doing a random act of  Kindness
  • Sending a Card

 I'd love for your ideas on helping friends when they are feeling down. What has worked for you? What has been some definite  No No's?

If you'd like to learn more about Soul Sister Circles and how they can help you create lasting friendships.. just click here to get more information, or like our page on facebook and connect with Linda or Merna. 
 

Friendship is NOT how much we think 
we like each other; it’s how much of a 
pattern two people have in practicing 
the positive behaviors of friendship..

 

Aristotle categorizes friendship in three different ways.

Friendships of Utility  -

Friendships of Pleasure

Friendships of the good.

Let me define them for you and as I do, I would like you to consider where your friends fit in…

Friendships are Fragile.  

Should the purpose for which the friendship was formed changes (as does happen over time) – these friendships tend to end.   

Think now of past friendships that were formed at a specific point of your life.   Think of that time you joined the gym, or changed jobs, or moved town.  Or when your children left a school.   

Are you still in touch with those people?   Life changes and ties are more than likely broken.

Friends of utility (those people who you know for a purpose) are most likely to not remain in your close contact list.  So to with friends of pleasure.   These are friendships were you have a common pleasure interest – a sport or hobby.  If you change your hobby, give it away, miss a few meetings, or take up something new – friends of pleasure go their own ways.    Think of pre-children sport – all of a sudden you have kids and things to do and sport subsides.  Over time you lose contact with these friends, for a variety of reasons – too busy, and also because they now have different interests too you..

Friendships for the Good,  are a completely different kettle of fish.  

They are formed possibly in childhood or adolescence and exist so long as the friends continue to remain virtuous in each others eyes.    Friendships of the good are based on experiences and intimacy.  (the good news is, with a Soul Sister Circle - you can grow these friendships easily.) 

Can you recall a time when you reconnected or ran into a friend from long ago, how easy was it to fall back into that close friendship, just like it was yesterday.

These friendships are based on experiences ( your first kiss, you went to school together, band camp) – so it is easy to rekindle the intimacy that was once held.

Friendships of the good require time and intimacy.  Opening ourselves up to the world (or a select few people in it) – allows us to develop trust and grow strong friendships.  To truly know someone, you must have deep experiences with them, and close connections.  

Read more at Philosophy Now about the wonder of Aristotle’s friendship thoughts

If you are seeking to begin a Friendship for the Good,  reach out and connect with us and enquire as to how we, here at Soul Sisters can assist you. 


Yours in friendship 

Linda & Merna 

Talk to Strangers, Look Cool While Becoming Friends.

Ever had the following night mare: -

"Attending a gathering where you don't know anyone and as you enter the guests are laughing, drinking and making merry. You stand alone, looking forlorn and lonely, wondering how to meet people and start conversations when you don't know anyone at the party.  You fear everyone thinks you are stupid or desperate.  Standing there you are fraught with anxiety, yet craving human contact. Starting to talk to strangers seems impossible"?

I have this nightmare, every end of year Christmas party.

Attending those big end of year bashes where the only person you know is the person who came with you is hell on earth. I especially hate my husbands end of year professional membership Christmas Party.   The only time we see these people is at this dinner and the only thing they have in common, for the most part,  is their professional affiliation.  It can be difficult to talk to strangers.  Yawn, Yawn, for anyone who is not an engineer. So how do I start conversations, make friends and be "cool" with these people?

Partners are dragged along kicking and screaming on a promise it will be an early night, dreading having to meet people and start conversations and talk with strangers. Before the event I get myself in a twist about what to wear, what conversational starters can I use (the dreaded small talk), who will we share a table with or will we be stranded at a table by ourselves, and how will I orchestrate an early escape without being too obvious.  I mean, what do strangers have to talk about?

Talk to Strangers, join a soul sister circleEven more daunting is the Solo invite - you know where you have to enter alone, skirt the room and hope you blend in with the wall paper, all the while feeling like you stand out like a sore thumb.  Alternatively you do the "look busy" (read popular)  checking your phone, all the while thinking "Should have phoned in sick - because now I definitely am".  Arrrrgh.

Talking to strangers, meeting people you don't know and starting a conversation with them can be like "chatroulette".  It's a stressful time.
You spend your time, wondering and hoping that they do not brooch a subject you know nothing of.  After all, you do want to make friends with these people and possibly take the friendship further.  It would be nice if your first conversation wasn't a random chat where you didn't learn anything.

It can seem easier to make friends online, because you can see what they are interested in and possibly "guide the conversation" as you talk to people about what they are interested in.   Surprisingly this can be done in these awkward situations where you don't know anyone also.
Thankfully below we have some how to tips and tricks to meet people and start conversations all the time looking cool and connecting.

With only 43 days 14 hours and 23 minutes to Christmas, your mail box and inbox are probably being flooded with Christmas Party invites as we speak.  You know you won't be able to avoid them all so it's time to acquire a few pointers on how to survive the party season.

7 Tips and Tricks to Talk to Strangers and not only Survive but Enjoy Parties

Leil Lowndes in her book "How to Instantly Connect with Anyone" (McGaw Hill, New York, 2009) provides the following advice to avoid the nightmare every party goer has suffered at some point in their life:

  1. Be Early - Yes, I know this goes against your instincts and the advice of friends but it might be worth a try.  If you are among the first to arrive you meet strangers as they arrive and become part of a small group of early birds. As more guests arrive the group you are with will introduce you to the newcomers.
  2. Make a Cross Introduction Pact:  Agree with a friend before hand that you will introduce each other to the other guests you each know thus increasing the number of connections by double.  Best not to assume your buddy will do this automatically - make a verbal agreement.
  3. Smile at Other Loners as they Enter the Party: A warm friendly smile will boost their confidence and they will gravitate towards you at some point during the evening.
  4. Wave to Imaginary Friends (Not inclined to take this advice Leil - but I'll share anyway): When you are faced with a sea of strange faces, don't stop at the door with a terrified look on your face - glide right in and wave to the spaces between bodies at imaginary people across the room.  Other guests will assume you know lots of people there, you'll feel more confident (I'd feel stupid, but hey Leil, I'll assume you've tested this one and it works) and people will be pleased to speak with you as you appear to be very popular. Love to hear your views on this one guys.  I'm not fussed and won't be trying it any time soon.
  5. Conversation Starters: Getting a good conversation going with strangers can be more difficult than starting your car in sub-zero temperatures.  Leil says to get the engine turning over ask someone what their typical day  is like.  Looking for more tips then visit Conversation Starters.com  for some ice breakers and lots more.
  6. Forgot Someone's Name (I can do this immediately after I have been introduced and feel like a real klutz when placed in the sadistic social situation where I have to introduce them to someone else). Don't worry we can all be subject to the name forgetting plague. A great trick, that doesn't fool anyone but is acceptable, is to ask them to "Please introduce yourselves"  Works best if 3 - 4 people are present. If like me, you weren't listening properly at the start of the conversation, finish by saying "It's really been great talking to you . Once again your name is ......." Then give an expectant look without actually asking their name.  Leil says their is a 90% chance they will restate their name.
  7. Avoiding Hard core bores and other party poopers: Check out my blog at Self Coach 2 Success on Social Pigs
  8. Tip from the Wise Monkeys:  they see no hanky-panky, hear no hanky- panky and speak no hank-panky.  Just don't gossip -you never know who might be listening.  I was recently told a story about a young man who couldn't help telling a work colleague about the "new hottie working in the bakery" only to find out he was talking to said "hottie's" mother. Red faced young man on the retreat I should think.

More Tips to meet people and start conversations...

  • Seek out the Golden Girls:"Find the oldies!", says Sydney sider Amy Rudder. It's true, they love a chat, they'll make sure you're fed, chattered and thoroughly interrogated in the most charming of ways.
  • Prepare a Snappy Introduction: Psychology Today also advises introverts to: "prepare a snappy way to introduce yourself… prepare a line or two to introduce yourself with flourish to avoid that generic 'I'm an accountant' effect."
  • Pace Yourself: You don't have to accept every invitation and you don't have to be the last to leave.  You can even take a breather while at a party by stepping out for a breath of fresh air if it gets too much. Find yourself a time out space if necessary.
  • Keep Busy: Having nothing to do gives you too much time to fret. If possible, consider hosting an event so you can keep busy, or volunteer to help out the host in the kitchen
  • Have a Goal for the Evening:It could be to meet someone to date, talk to someone new or catch up with the guest of honour.  Eric Ravencraft in his article "How to Survive a Party or Social gathering as an Introvert recommends you have a goal to help you focus. He says " Having a goal helps you define what you want to accomplish in an outing, but more importantly, it keeps your brain focused. Part of the problem introverts have with big social gatherings is the constant flood of external stimulus. By giving yourself a specific task, you occupy your brain so it's less focused on the thumping music or bright lights .
  • Prepare Yourself: Whenever possible, make sure to take some time for yourself before you head out for an evening of socializing. Relax.
  • Dress to Impress but according to the correct dress standard (black tie v casual).
  • Read about some topical issues to generate small talk and when you're feeling pumped up, head out for the shindig.
  • Prepare an escape Plan: Having an escape plan provides you with a measure of control and this elevates your confidence to a certain degree.  If you attend with friends who want to party on make sure you or they (if you were the transport) have an alternative method of getting home. There is nothing worse than being stuck at a party you've lost energy for or interest in.
  • Alcohol and all that Jazz: We have all probably been the worse for wear following a party where the booze if free flowing and smoking indoors is acceptable.  The music is blasting and the food supply would feed a small nation for a month.  Check out these tips at ABC Health and Wellbeing to get you through the next month without causing undue harm to your body and mind.

All in all, parties aren't all that bad—that is, if you know how to survive.

Have there been any parties that were pure torture? How did you survive?  It's only 2 weeks away so I need your HELP now.

Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and tips on surviving and thriving in the party season.   What are your tips to help me talk to strangers at this years end of year party?

If for some reason you are completely lonely, or are invited to parties but don't want to talk to strangers and feel unsure how to be cool and turn them into friends, don't fret.  Here at Soul Sister, we can help you to make friends, connect stronger and create your own party place.

Just click here to opt in to our newsletter Sister Talk and find out how we do it.  You'll be surprised how easy it is to get to know and talk to strangers. 

Yours in friendship
Linda & Merna
Talk to Strangers with a Soul Sister

SOUL SISTER CIRCLES

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For there is no friend like a sister in calm or stormy weather; to cheer one on the tedious way, to fetch one if one goes astray; to lift one if one totters down, to strengthen whilst one stands.  Christina Rossetti 

Hi & Welcome to our place.  Before we begin lets share:

WHO ARE SOUL SISTERS

A Soul Sister is someone you have a deep personal connecton with and a person you can rely on in tough times and in good times. 

A Soul Sister is someone to have a tonne of fun with. 

A Soul Sister is someone you create memories with

A Soul Sister is the one person who you know willbe by your side when things are going great, and when things are going not so great. 

You can develop a deep bond with your soul sister.  They are the one who lknows whats going on for you, often before you recognise it yourself. 

Soul Sisters:

  • understand you
  • are closely linked to your life, your core, yor fundamental being.
  • will back you even when they don't completely agree with you.
  • are happy to pick up the pieces (if there are any) and lovely tell you "I told you so," 

You have a heartfelt attachment to these women, as they are the personification of friendship. 

HOW TO BECOME A SOUL SISTER AND GROW FRIENDSHIPS

You become a soul sister if you are tired of being on the outer.  You feel like you struggle to connect with people, you don't get their "inner cirlce" jokes and you often feel like a third wheel at gatherings. 

Maybe you have relocated and you need to make some friends.  You can reach out and start to grow your friendships by creating a Soul Sister Circle. 

We will provide you a monthly activity sheet for you to lead your Circle and get to know other people better.  The whole idea is about growing connections and getting comfortable with these people, so you can safely develop that "inner circle" confidence. 

WHAT IS A SOUL SISTER CIRCLE?

The Soul Sister Circle is:

  • the place to connect with other like mind
  • women searching fr friendship, connection, sharing and understanding.
  • that safe place where you can meet in a small group and determine who we connect with best. 

As women, we love to talk, to chat, to liaise and plan, to help. 

So rather than "networking" looking for someone who we may connect with, a Soul Sister Circle is designed to grow real meaning in the relationship, to enable each and every women in the circle to unite at the heart to create a lsasting strong link to each other. 

JOIN A SOUL SISTER CIRCLE

Yours in true friendship

Linda & Merna
 

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