We hear so much from parents, teachers, adults and everybody else that being confident is one of the keys to success. Which sounds great, but we can’t exactly snap our fingers, and magically be more confident.
Gaining self confidence is a struggle that most people deal with, but together, we can help each other through it. Instead of tearing others down to build ourselves up (you know… bullying) we can support one another (you know… be a friend)!
Do you have a friend who is struggling with low self-esteem? Be a force for good and help them. If you go out of your way to help them, your friends could go on to do great things. The biggest obstacle for most people’s success is the crippling thought that they will fail and shouldn’t even try. Here are five ways you can support a friend to help build their confidence.
1. Give a Compliment
Complimenting somebody is such a simple thing, yet people are strangely afraid of it. Giving a compliment doesn’t make you weak or annoying. Everybody enjoys getting a compliment and it makes them feel good about themselves.
Complimenting a friend on a normal basis will make them feel better about themself. It’s so powerful that a single compliment can change how someone views themselves and feel more secure in who they are.
2. Take the Time to Listen
Everybody is struggling with something. The longer you know somebody, the easier it is to see when something is bothering them. Yet people don’t like to talk about their problems, in fear of being seen as a downer or complainer.
People need to talk about their issues to work through them, so starting conversations and actually listening to them can be a big help. These conversations need to be a judgment-free zone so your friends can feel safe when talking to you. This doesn’t need to be a time for fixing their problems or criticizing their judgements, it’s the time for letting them get their problems off their chest.
3. Support their Leadership
Developing leadership skills is important for life, but so many people having trouble seeing themselves as a leader. Leadership opportunities happen more often than you’d think; take advantage of them and help friends do the same. Suggesting something for you and your friends to do this weekend makes you the “leader” in that decision. Hosting a party makes you the party’s leader. Giving a presentation in front of the class makes you the leader of the classroom, even for a short time. Plus there are more traditional leadership roles, like team captain, club president and leader in a group project.
Aside from developing your own leadership skills, you can support others when they’re in a lead role. Show up to important events, and provide vocal support and positive feedback. If you have a friend who is shy or does their best to avoid taking the lead, give them opportunities to make smaller group decisions and ease into it.
4. Encourage Friends to do Great Things
I never thought I was a good public speaker. When I was younger, I had a terribly thick lisp. I sounded more like a snake than I did a human being.
So whenever my school had some sort of public speaking event, like a spelling bee or a poetry reading event, I cringed. These type of events would put me on several levels of public display, from practicing with a classmate, to sitting in front of the entire school. I had a friend who understood this, so when the announcement went out for the annual Poetry contest, he pushed me to not quit because of my lisp. He wanted to see me win the contest for my school and encouraged me through every step of the contest.
Long story short, I ended up winning the contest for my elementary school and went on to compete at a regional level. It may not seem like a huge achievement to some, but for a child with a heavy lisp, this was huge. So be the friend who encourages others to take a risk and do something great.
5. Accept Them For Who They Are
Your friends might be struggling with figuring out who they are, and that’s ok. As a friend, it’s your job to accept and support them. Be proactive about celebrating their accomplishments, support them during their hard times, and be a friend.
Part of accepting someone is standing up for them. Nothing can destroy someone’s confidence like getting bullied, and when we let bullying happen unchecked, we’re a part of the problem. Don’t just be a bystander; get involved and help.