Personal Support System Defined: a community based network of family, friends, acquaintances and known partners (mechanics/contractors/medical/teachers/etc.) that provide regular or known assistance, knowledge and encouragement.
This takes how long??
Building it as needed? 12 to 18 months. That’s quite while.
The dry cleaner is asked about local Indian restaurants. The PTA Membership chair leads the family through Gifted and Talented testing. The neighbor’s kid watches the dog for that weekend trip to Florida. It gets done but SLOWLY.
AGAIN, I’m Exhausted?? After relocating across country, finding housing, unpacking, and trying to learn the local processes…you are spent. You don’t have 18 months of energy.
NETWORKING!!! Not Excited? It may seem like a lot of work after the last few months, but you have already started. But with a system, this necessary system can be created in 6 months or less.
So let’s take a look at the process.
- Participating & meeting people
- Keeping track of people
- Extending invitations
- Building relationships
- All types
Starting with Fun:
You have had enough work, it’s time for a bit of fun? What do you like to do? Cook, run, bunco, write, take photos, play the piano or help others?
This is the time where you explore your community with abandon. Being new to town has a number of advantages. With no time schedule or obligations, this open time presents endless opportunities to explore and find what you love, or might love to do.
Check out my blog post RELOCATION: Search and find what you LOVE! for search ideas and groups to start with.
All those people:
Everywhere you go you will meet new people, at school, yoga or even playing the piano at the local nursing home. Strike up a conversation and keep a journal. A little notebook and pen that will fit easily in a pocket or a purse is all you need to keep track of your new people.
Even though most will not be a “BEST Friend”, remembering their names and something about them will be a blessing to them. This will bring a smile increase your connection, and in the end, make you feel known and appreciated too.
In the beginning, this is especially important for your sanity.
How about coffee?
Extending an invitation can be a bit intimidating. None of us like to be rejected, however, it’s most likely not rejection. It’s only a busy life you are competing with.
My Daughter-in-Law relocated 1873 miles across country last year. She and the family had only been in Atlanta for 2 years and now found themselves in Salt Lake City. Even though she was somewhat practiced at creating her network, she again found it difficult to get a yes to any invitation. Coffee, play dates or meet at the park? Frankly, it took a while.
She kept asking though. They participated in some of the HOA events and even became a room mom at school. This was so outside of her comfort zone, being more of an introvert, however, she kept asking and participating knowing this is where her support system was going to come from. Once she got to know these ladies on this level, she started to hear yes for activities outside of these groups.
It takes time:
Relationships are built by time and shared experiences. That is why my Daughter-in-Law decided to start where she was already. She was there at drop off and pick up. She was going to the HOA pool with the kids. Everywhere my daughter-in-law went, she an effort to meet as many moms in a similar life stage as she could.
Everyone is not a “bestie”, but everyone has the potential to be a connection to the community. By spending time then you know what type of friend they are.
As you already know by this point, there are different types of friends. Those you see at school drop-off and have a quick conversation, those you can cry on their shoulders and even those you can travel with.Every friend does not fill every box. In the book, Friendships don’t just happen by Shasta Nelson, she talks about the different Circles of Connectedness.
- Connect Friends
- Common Friends
- Confirmed Friends
- Community Friends
- Committed Friends
Shasta talks about life after relocation and divorce. She talks about walking by a group of laughing women lunching on a patio, like Sex in the City, and desperately wanting to go over and ask, “Will you be my friend too!!”
With focus and planning though, you will be deep in the community in less than 6 months. Keep track of that little notebook. And as they say,
“wash, rinse and repeat”
Efficiently building a Personal Support System is key to the relocation process because having this in place gets the whole family gets back to living. It takes time and repetition, but will settle the family while finding new things to explore. Keep you head up! Life will become normal.
Next week look for RELOCATION: Maslow’s hierarchy and you ~ moving up to self-actualization and meeting your needs after helping everyone else.
If you need more explanation OR you have moved and don’t know where to start email us at firstname.lastname@example.org as well as join the email list. We love to help!!
Have a great week and see you next week.