How to be supportive and show you care
How do you show you care? Is it with simple gestures, a small gift, or picking up the phone every time your partner calls?
To be considered dependable, a source of support, and someone to trust, you’re probably already offering all these things—or almost all of them.
Relationship science has found 5 behaviors that show you care in any relationship (with your partner, your friends, your relatives, your children, etc.).
As Frei & Shaver found in their research, a partner worthy of respect is someone who possesses moral qualities, consideration for others, acceptance of others, honesty, and willingness to listen to others.
Relationship science says we trust those who we confidently believe to have our best interests at heart. Although this takes time, it happens when someone is consistently attentive to our wishes and is reliably unselfish towards our needs.
A good friend will be excited for us when we share our good news. It’s more celebratory than the usual “congratulations” from a co-worker or your facebook friends scrolling past your good news. Someone who cares about us will show genuine delight at our good fortune.
Emotional support: affectionate, acceptance, and reassurances. Also considered to be physically powerful. If you have an affectionate and emotionally supportive partner, you’re more likely to have lower cholesterol levels, stress hormone levels and blood pressure, compared to those with less affectionate partners.
Physcial support: touch, hugs, cuddling.
Advice support: information and guidance.
Material support: tangible assistance, like money or goods.
Invisible support: goes unnoticed by the recipient. Sometimes is beneficial when the support provided could be intrusive or threaten our self-esteem.
The best way to build trust and show respect is by your responsiveness, aka being attentive and recognizing your partner’s needs and interests. Responding to your partner’s needs is not only witnessing them make requests, but taking action, showing interest and being genuinely caring.
Do you have to be like this all the time?
Not necessarily. But not rarely.
You may be more comfortable doing one more than the others. And the whole point is to make it genuine— so express them with your personality style.
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