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Supporting is caring

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The articles provided for this week was funny. At least one of them were while the other one was very scientific. First from the "Skilled Support within Intimate Relationships" I learned that giving support in general can be tricky because it can hurt the person themselves. Through self-esteem, creating stress, and creating misunderstandings between people. I never thought support to be this tricky because when I want to help someone, I just help them. I don't think of what they are feeling; I just try to say almost anything to make them feel better about themselves. Like my boyfriend tried to support me by spouting solutions to my problem when all I wanted was just someone to listen to me. It did stress me more to try to shut him up and make him listen to me than to just try to talk about my situation.

It brings me to the next article from the Men's Health magazine. I love how it was all explained from a man's perspective. It's interesting to know that men want to help but would love to take pride to see if they could get a prize or some sort of praise from their special other. My dad does that with my mom. When he does something without being asked in the kitchen, he makes sure my mom knows that he did it and my mom would just keep saying good job to him. Doing it this way makes him sound like a kid. It's true though that doing visible support is a lot easier in a sense if it is doing some sort of work. But to visibly give support by talking can be too much if it isn't in the right situation. Invisible support is a lot easier if it is done from the bottom of your heart. Just doing a good deed.

Support in relationships

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The articles for this week's reading both covered the topic of support between couples in a relationship. The first article discussed the difference between visible and invisible support and was easily the more interesting of the two for me. Visible support is classified as a noticeable effort to support someone, such as giving them words of comfort or asking for ways to help out. Invisible support is doing something to help out your partner without them even asking. What it basically said was that in order for a couple to maximize the feelings of support between each other, they need to find a balance between the two types of support. While it can seem odd that too much support can be detrimental, this makes a lot of sense to me when I think of how these types of support affect me. If a partner is giving too much visible support, it can come off as them not believing that you're capable of handling your own problems, which can be frustrating. If a partner only gives invisible support, it can lead you to believe that they don't care or aren't supporting you at all. In a couple relationships I've had, I can clearly see issues in support where my girlfriend didn't give enough of one kind of support and came off as uncaring.
The second article was a lot more heavy on the technical terms but I think I was still able to pull the key details out of it. What it basically said was that supporting your partner might not be at all related to relieving their stress. A lot of times, when a person attempts to support their partner by giving advice, they can come off as a know it all and cause the other person to pull away. Too much support can also cause the person under stress to believe that the other person has no faith in them. There are ways to show support effectively but it can easily be misconstrued.

Invisible Support?

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I was not altogether surprised with the results of these articles. In my family, invisible support is what my mom always wanted more than visible support and I am the same way. The articles show the necessity for both kinds of support to be present but are there differences between people? Especially in the first article, it seemed like there was a quota for how much invisible and visible support there should be in a relationship and it should be balanced but I doubt this is best. For many people, more of one type would be better than an equal balance of both.

This entire idea reminds me of a topic I discussed in a seminar last year. We talked about the five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. After taking a quiz to see which ones are most important to me, I can see how a correlation between the quality of a relationship and the way partners support each other easily. If words of affirmation are the most important to you, then invisible support is likely to mean more than invisible support. If acts of service is more touching, then invisible support is bound to be more helpful. All of this goes back to how I think that although both are necessary, one will be more important than the other.


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I really enjoyed reading the first article "How to support a Woman (in All the Right Ways)" it was an easy read and John Lutz is a hilarious writer. I found it interesting that invisible support was necessary in a relationship. It seems as though invisible support would be hard to provide because as Lutz said we tend to want to be rewarded for our support we give are hardly ever let it go unnoticed. I was wondering while reading the article if when we are in a relationship and like someone enough does the invisible support come naturally? Would we do nice things such as unloading the dishes and not caring if it goes unnoticed any longer.
The second article was a little more difficult to read then the first one, but was still a decent read and had a lot of good information. The point that was made that caught my attention most was that support before a huge speech will generally make people do worse. In my case I would disagree. This year I had to speak at my graduation commencement, and if it weren't for the large amount of support provided by my mom the days leading up to it, I would have completely froze. She helped me to perfect it, and gave me unconditional support by allowing me to constantly read it to her, until it was pounded into my head. I also think it contradicts another point they made saying that support before a big event results in a positive way. Typically in high school my large volleyball matches that received a lot of attention and support from the entire town, tended to result with a win more than the games where no one attended and support was not given.

Support: The Balancing Act

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The first article, talking about the balancing of the two types of support, I thought made a
lot of sense. If you really want to be a supportive partner, or even friend, you really do need to find that balance between visible and invisible support. I think we find it much easier to load on the visible support and trying to give advice, but this isn't always as helpful for the other person as we may think. Often we feel the need to elicit our own thoughts on a situation and tell the other person how they should proceed, when in reality, that person just needs someone to listen and provide invisible support. I find that I get annoyed when people just tell me what they would do if they were "in my shoes." Like the article said, I feel like the person giving me advice thinks I can't handle the situation myself and that they think they are in a way superior in knowing exactly what to do; however, I find myself doing the same thing to my partner or friends without really realizing I'm doing it. The second part of the article also made a lot of sense in saying that often when we try to give invisible support we almost seek some sort of reward or acknowledgment for our actions. Thinking about this, I thought of times when I've tried to be supportive of all that my mom does by doing things like doing the dishes or taking my little siblings off her hands for a while so that she can have a break; however, in the back of my mind I get a little annoyed when she doesn't give any outward sign of noticing what I'm doing and I almost try to elicit a thanks or some kind of response, basically canceling out the original support I was trying to give. I think this is something we all struggle with, providing invisible support in a subtle way. The whole issue of support is a balancing act that requires a lot of work. We all would like to think that we are good at providing support for the people in our lives, but in reality, its something that we have to constantly work at and be conscious of; we need to be aware of what kind of support to give as well as when and how.

Visible or not, support is important

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The topic of this week brought to my attention something that I hadn't ever really considered before - that there is more than one way to support another person. Support seems like a pretty basic concept (basically, that you are there for another), and therefore I had never really taken much time to think about it. The first article was a fairly entertaining read - I thought that since it was about one couple in particular, it was pretty easy to see exactly what was being referenced in specific examples. Unrelated to the topic, but I thought it was really cute to see John Lutz so concerned about his relationship with his wife and not taking her for granted. When he explained invisible support and how important that was to a relationship, it got me thinking about how I behave and support others. I hadn't ever really thought about it, but it seems that I don't do as great of a job in invisible support. Not that I don't, but for the majority of situations I seem to hit on visible support a lot harder; I didn't think about how significant invisible support can be. I know that, for example, when I'm sick, it makes my day when my dad goes ahead and throws a load of laundry in, when it is typically my responsibility.
In the second article, even though it was a tougher read, I thought it had some interesting points in it. I liked how they explained why support is studied so much in couples - they indicated that once an individual cannot do it themselves, they turn to the one closest to them, which tends to be their significant other. I found the finding that knowing that you have support available is more beneficial than actually receiving support to make a lot of sense. Our family has had a tough past couple of weeks, including a death in the family. I know that my boyfriend would be more than willing to talk about it, and in fact would probably prefer to talk with me instead of having me deal with it alone, but I didn't want to talk to him about it. I didn't need him to physically (or more accurately, visibly) support me in order to know that he was there for me. Once he did get me to talk about it, I ended up getting frustrated more than anything else, because I didn't want him to feel sorry for me-that wasn't making me feel any better about things. Even though I knew he was just trying to be there for me, it wasn't helping me out; I very much understand what the author was talking about when they discussed the thought of support.
I was floored by the study in Great Britain regarding support and mortality...firstly, how in the world did someone think to study those two concepts together?? While the qualifications that they made to partially explain the high correlation (such as when people who are physically/mentally in need will draw more support from others), it was surprising to me that there was still an association with the two even after those factors had been controlled for. That was something I would not have expected. "Lehman, Ellard, and Wortman (1986) found that advice giving, minimization of feeling, identiļ¬cation with feelings, and encouragement of recovery are most often seen as unhelpful." This made a lot of sense to me, and is something I have seen in my relationships over the years, both close and distant. When people are looking to receive support, they don't want you to act like you understand or tell them what to do - all they want is for the other person to listen.


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The results of "Skilled Support Within Intimate Relationships" quite surprised me. I found the study done in Great Britain interesting. I can see how the perceived availability of support was actually more beneficial than actual support. Sometimes I appreciate just knowing that I will be supported by those who care about me rather than hearing them say it a multitude of times. I also found it interesting that depressed people are more likely to remain stagnant or retreat further into their depression if their family is too emotionally involved.
It was also interesting to learn about the difference between visible and invisible support. After thinking about it, I realized I am more comfortable giving invisible support than visible, but I offer both when I need to support people. Oftentimes, I listen to my sister and then try and encourage her after she's vented, and she appreciates that because she can blend her insight with the advice I've given her. On the same token, I have listened to her express her opinions and feelings, and she knows that I am aware of the aforementioned things.

The Balance of Support

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I thought this made a lot of sense. Both articles talked about support but in different ways. In the first one, the article was very entertaining. What the author noted about visible and invisible support is so true! From my experience, I've always noticed that when I had a boyfriend, he was the one I came to for support about a lot of things. I just wanted to know that someone was there, and since I spent a lot of time talking to him, it made sense to vent to him. It was nice knowing that he supported me whether it was through visible or invisible support. Invisible support is the easier choice most of the time because you just have to listen to what you're partner is saying, and sometimes that's all they need. There's times when it's hard to know what to say when someone you know is in a difficult situation. You don't want to say the wrong thing and offend them, so that's when the invisible support comes into play.On the other hand, there's visible support where they actually encourage you and give you advice. This support is good too, but sometimes can be overwhelming. You need a balance! Like the second article said, sometimes advice can be harmful. I've definitely experienced that. There's times when you want advice, encouragement, and someone to listen to, but there's other times when you just need to step away, take time for yourself, and figure things out on your own. You don't want that person always up in your business, but knowing that they are still there for you when you're ready for that support is nice. With no support, you can feel worthless, so having that balance is ideal.

Supporting One Another

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The first article was fun for me to read. I never thought much about support, and the fact that there are two different types of it. After reading and thinking about it though, I realize that in my daily life it's important for me to feel both types of support, visible and invisible. I think that it's pretty difficult to do things and receive no recognition or positive feedback, and this is why Lutz struggled with invisible support. If you're doing something nice for a person, you feel more accomplished if they notice. I believe that almost all of the time, true invisible support is unrecognized by both the giver and the receiver. It is a nice gesture and something to help people cope in times of stress, but it generally would go undetected.
In the second article, one line that interested me was, "Supportive, enthusiastic responses to positive events provide increased personal well-being and relationship satisfaction." People like to celebrate together. When one person is ecstatic and the other is emotionless, it really brings down the excitement. Whenever I experience anything that I think is great and I'm excited about, I feel so much better when everyone around me is happy also. It makes the mood that much better.
Another interesting point in this article was that thinking someone is supportive of you is more helpful that someone offering their support through saying something or advice. Also, "cheering up" is unhelpful. When someone is down, I generally try to listen and sympathize with them and occasionally I will give them a piece of advice. It was interesting to find out that the best type of support here is really just being there and doing nothing. In a way, I suppose it makes sense because a lot of time, if someone is having a problem, they really just want to be able to talk to someone. They need someone to listen to them, not someone to solve their problems.

Support: Good or Bad?

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The first article was really fun to read! I always knew it was important to be there for your partner, but I never knew there were two ways to do it. I never would have thought that invisible support could be so important. It seems like a lot of people have a hard time doing something nice for someone like their partner without getting recognition for it. You would think that your relationship would improve if your partner always knew about the nice things you did for them, because they can see those thing and then do nice things in return. Also next time they get mad at you they might let it go or be less mad because they think of the nice things you did for them. But it's also important to do those nice things for your partner with no recognition, because then you can feel good about yourself, and help your partner feel less stressed too. Then they might feel good and not know why, and both of you will still reap the benefits. It makes sense that men have a harder time giving invisible support, because they are always trying to fix problems. Women need to appreciate that they are trying to help the best they can.
I think what this next article is saying is that support is better when the person in need of support doesn't actually seek it out, but they know it's there if they do need it. This also kind of goes with what we learned about last week, how when people thought about how their partner helped them with a goal they were less likely to say they were going to spend time on that goal. Too much support can make the person receiving the support not self-sufficient enough. Sometime support like they said to quit smoking may make the partner more annoyed, quitting smoking is something they have to do on their own. It makes sense that advice giving, minimization of feeling, identification of feelings, and encouragement of recovery are also not helpful. Someone doesn't want to hear how to fix their problems, they don't want to know you went through something similar, they don't want to be told its ok, and they don't want to be told it will be over soon. In reality they feel like crap, they don't care how you solved your problem, because theirs isn't going to work out the same way. It may not always be this bad, but it is now so shut up. It's weird that trying to cheer someone up doesn't work, because sometimes it helps me if someone just makes me laugh. I can see this when I talk to my best friend on the phone, and I'm upset about something and I want to talk to her about it, but instead we talk about other things and I never bring it up. At the end of the conversation I feel better even though I didn't talk about my problem. What we talked about got my mind off of my problem and I feel better.

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