What Makes a Great Support Person?
An important part of recovering from any illness, injury or surgery is getting the rest your body needs to heal. To ensure proper rest, while keeping your life running as close to normal as possible, you will need the help of a few trusted friends or family members. But finding the right people and helpful support can be challenging.
Most of us have met someone in our lifetime who is great in a crisis—always jumping in with the appropriate action and just the right words to get everything under control. But more often, we are surrounded by well-meaning people who want to help but have no idea of what to say or do. So we have to be specific about what we need.
When building your own support team, think of the people you feel comfortable with and confident in. Look for people who will help you do what needs to be done, without adding their own drama to the situation. Choose people whose company you enjoy and who will understand when you need time alone.
A great support person:
- Knows when to be quiet and allows you time to think and reflect
- Is a good listener and allows you to express your feelings, fears and concerns
- Is willing and able to help with daily tasks
- Doesn’t expect you to comfort them
- Has a positive attitude, but doesn’t try to steer your thoughts and feelings
- Can make you laugh, and knows when that’s appropriate
- Will let you cry when you need to
- Does not offer advice unless you ask for it
- Doesn’t hover over you, but is there to lend a hand
Once you have identified a few people you can count on, you will want to choose one to be the point person who will keep your friends and family updated. Make a list of specific things you need, like cooking, laundry, bill paying, or company during treatment or doctor appointments. Your point person can help you schedule these tasks, so you are not relying too heavily on one person. Remember that people want to help you, and don’t feel guilty about letting them.