Sponsored by: St. Clair County Community Mental Health
By Debra B. Johnson, Executive Director, St. Clair County Community Mental Health
Annually in February, International Friendship Month and Boost Your Self-Esteem Month reminds us how important it is for adults to create, cultivate and continue friendships. Many adults, busy with jobs and caring for children and aging parents, discover it is difficult to find the time to make new friends or maintain existing friendships. For most of us, the three things needed to make and keep close friends – proximity, repeated unplanned interactions, and a setting that encourages us to let our guard down – disappear as our responsibilities increase and our interests mature. Also, at a time when the average American will move a dozen times in their
lifetime many friends live well beyond driving distance, making spontaneous social activities impossible. Because time is at a premium for most of us, many new friendships are often
An unfortunate result of having fewer close friends as adults that we rarely consider is that our self-esteem may suffer as a result. When we feel friendships slipping away it is very easy to think that there is something wrong with us instead of understanding that it is the
consequence of ordinary and necessary life decisions. It is important not to self-label yourself negatively if some of your friendships fade. It is equally important to help boost your friends’ self-esteem in this regard as well. Remember, they are as likely as you are to be experiencing the same loss of some friendships. You can help by celebrating the strengths of your friends. Let them know what you appreciate about their personalities, behaviors or abilities. When a friend succeeds or accomplishes something, recognize it with genuine congratulations and goodwill. You can also encourage friends to focus on self-care, doing things like getting enough sleep, eating properly, exercising, and participating in activities that promote a sense of peace and well-being. You may find yourself with fewer close friends but you can take steps to ensure that the friendships you do have become even more meaningful.
Another way to help boost your own and others’ self-esteem
other reason than to may them happy. These acts can be as simple as paying for the person behind you in a drive-thru, complementing a colleague on their work, helping a neighbor mow their lawn, or letting a car into the traffic ahead of you.
While it may not be as easy to make new friends as when we were younger, there are still several strategies that may work for you. First, just like in dating, someone has to make the first move. So invite your funny coworker out for lunch or send an email to a friend on social media who you’d like to get to know better in real life. Second, get out of your comfort zone. Consider taking night classes or joining a workout group. Third, think twice before declining an invitation! You never know where you’ll meet that person you really click with. Fourth, go to seminars, classes, speaking events
About St. Clair County Community Mental Health St. Clair County Community Mental Health provides public services and supports to adults with mental illnesses, children with serious emotional disturbances, individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities and persons with co-occurring substance use disorders.
For more information, crisis intervention or to find out if you qualify for public services, please call the Access Center at 1-888-225-4447. Support is available 24 hours-a-day, 7 days a week. General information is also available at the St. Clair County Community Mental Health website, www.scccmh.org or on the Agency’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SCCCMH. ●