#1 - Be An 'Active Supporter'
Hi guys, it's Josh here with another instalment of the JUT Blog. For those of you who don't know me, I do the most, but in Joined Up Thinking, I'm the Comms guy. If you want to read more about me, head over to the JUT About page! I don't usually write blog posts so bear with me on this one, I'll eventually get the hang of making them shorter and snappier.
Support is something that I've recently seen a lot of talk about on Twitter. A lot of people talk about how support is so important, how 'friends' don't always support you, and about how people need to support more in certain communities. Support is such a big topic that I'm breaking it down into a series, and in this first part I'll be talking about supporting your friends.
I wrote a thread on Twitter around this time last year, more out of frustration after seeing people with good visions and good hearts not get the support they deserve, as well as remembering the lack of support I had received in some things I'd done in the past. The thread was more of an instruction manual, telling people to encourage, retweet, pay for the services or products they offer, give positive criticism and all the rest of it; you know, things you'd expect from a friend right? That's kinda what brings me to write this blog because I don't believe many understand what support culture actually is and why it's so important.
Support, by definition, means "to hold up", or "to give assistance to" (Oxford Dictionary, 2017). Holding each other up, assisting one another, that sounds like a part of what friendship should be, what a requirement of a good friend is. Yet so many people, young people, are bogged down in the 'leaving yourself to yourself culture', and I don't say that lightly. A lot of us aren't active supporters, we're very passive. We can ask our friends all we want about what they're doing and how it's going, we can even wish them that all goes well, but we're not actively wishing that all is going well. We're doing so passively, then almost selfishly moving on with our own lives, without any real thoughts on how to help our friend with their vision, career path, project, or anything they're passionate about doing and have privileged you by telling you.
Passive support is fairly easy to do, you can almost liken it to an armchair footballer; someone who sits on the sofa eating crisps and drinking beer, but tells all of the professionals how to do their highly pressured job when they have no clue. A passive supporter is someone who will know what their friend is doing, what they're about, and maybe even some of the things they need to get started or to move up to another level, but they won't be active in helping. They'll just sit back and listen, maybe change up the conversation, or just be in the background with a typical "good luck", or a Christianese "I'm praying for you". More often than not, the "good luck" your friend needs is you and your support. The answer to the prayer your friend is looking for is you!
Active supporters are different. Active supporters understand that you can't do everything yourself. Active supporters know that nobody got to where they are today without the influence of others. Active supporters aim to positively influence their friends however they can, and they don't overstretch their capabilities either. If they can't afford to buy a product, they'll tell their friends. If they think their friend needs a bit more work on his craft, they'll constructively critique what they're doing and positively advise them on how to improve. If they see they need some exposure and can boost their friend's work on their timeline, they will quote tweet AND retweet, regularly. It won't 'mess up their feed' either. Active supporters, in the context of friendship, are what true friends should be. Actual friendship consists of picking each other up when they're down, or "to hold up"; actual friendship includes support as a staple ingredient. It's the flour to the cake, the rice to the jollof, you get the picture.
In young people especially, we need to support each other. Due to many political and economic decisions being made about us and for us by out-of-touch leaders, it is becoming increasingly hard for young people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds especially to progress. The few of us that do, or that can, need to support those of us who are struggling and want to progress . You can't make people do things they don't want to, or accept support they don't take (that's another blog post coming soon don't worry), but if your friend wants to improve themselves through a career, education, a passion or job, make sure you can offer some support to them, and be an active supporter, and an active friend.
I hope you've learned something from this blog, and at least enjoyed the read. If you need any advice on anything related to this. or anything else at all, I'll be more than happy to help. I'm @jalekapo on everything so feel free to message me. Also, if you're interested in mentoring, check out our mentoring page and contact us, we will be more than happy to hear your requests!
I'm trying to do one post a week so see you very soon. Blessings.
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We're having an event on the Saturday 29th July 2017 called Making Waves - Staying Above Water. It will feature our youth ambassadors and young speakers who have overcome adversity in their lives by 'making waves'.