Looking out for ourselves and others
Social Wellbeing is about building and maintaining positive relationships in our life. Every day we speak to loads of different people - our family, our friends, pupils at school, staff at school, people in shops, people at our clubs and we build on our social wellbeing by interacting with them.
In this section, we are going to have a look at the different types of relationships we build, how to ensure they are positive relationships, and consider the importance of inclusion.
Why are relationships important?
People are considered to be social creatures - unlike some creatures we like to be surrounded by people and have a group that we can trust and belong to. It is important to our wellbeing.
It is suggested that people with meaningful and good social connections feel happy and healthy.
There are different types of relationships that we will build throughout life, the strongest relationships are often those with family and friends. But it is important to remember that sometimes these relationships can change.
To help us keep positive relationships and achieve good social wellbeing we need to remember to take time to build on our relationships.
Going out for walks, meeting up, or just messaging to check-in can be a great way to keep up with your friendships.
Family dinners or group activities are also a great way to maintain good relationships with family.
Sometimes our social wellbeing can even be built on by smiling or saying hello to new people, it might even start up a conversation where you will find you have some similar interests.
We need to remember to communicate our thoughts and feelings, actively listen to others, enjoy positive interactions, invite others and accept offers to interact with others.
What does it mean to maintain a positive relationship?
A positive relationship is a relationship between two people who support, encourage and help one another. They listen and communicate without judgment and they respect each other. People in a positive relationship also make time for each other and take part in activities together.
Over the last year we may have gotten used to doing things alone, relationships may have been strained as you couldn't meet up as often, relationships with teachers and people at school became online only and the social aspects of sports and other activities stopped completely. Some people may find it difficult to come back into the social lifestyle that they had before, others might be looking for even more social activities than what they had before lockdown. The important thing is to be mindful of everyone.
Don't get mad if a friend cancels plans, instead use your positive relationship to communicate with them and make sure they are okay. Maybe they are worried about meeting up after such a long time. Taking the time to talk with them could help them to feel better about meeting up, it could also help them to decide on an activity or place where they would feel most comfortable. After the first meet up you can discuss again and go from there.
As we grow up and move through school you may notice that your social interactions and the dynamics of your friendship groups will develop and change.
Often when we make friends we get close due to similarities that we share, like living near each other, going to the same school, playing the same instrument or sport. However, as we grow these aspects of our life can change and the similarity disappears, sometimes something as simple as this can make it harder to keep such a close connection. Sometimes it can be a little more complex and the close connection that we once had can become strained due to differences in opinion, social status, or the general feeling we get when we are around them. There are various factors that change throughout our life that can impact our friendships.
Sometimes it can be quite painful when we lose a friend and it can impact our social and emotional wellbeing, but you have to remember that it is okay!
But how do we cope with it?
Someone who you used to spend a lot of your time with is no longer a big part of your life. It is going to be difficult and it is important to recognise that and know that you are not alone.
Give it some time
Change happens all throughout life and there isn't always anything we can do about it, but that doesn't make it easy. Take some time to recognise how you are feeling, reflect on what the friendship taught you and use that to think positively about the future and the opportunity to meet new people.
Don't Place Blame
Friendships are a balance between two people. When that connection ends you might start thinking about what you did wrong, or want to blame the other person. There are so many factors and changes in life that can cause the connection to disappear and it is important not to get hung up on who is at fault. Chances are neither of you will be.
Talk about it
I know everyone always tells you to talk about it and sometimes we aren't ready, but when you are it is important to let someone know how you are feeling. Don't carry it about on your own.
Meet new people
Although you may feel like you never want to experience the feeling again, try to be open to meeting new people. Sometimes we can feel awkward or anxious when meeting new people, but it is definitely worth doing. Sometimes you find the best friends in the least likely people.
Over the last year, we have been focusing on keeping distanced from other people, to some people, this might have felt like a great time where there weren't pressures to meet with others or build on relationships. Time alone is always important but the relationships that we build throughout life become our support network, they will be there for us when we need them and they can be there to help us create the all important memories in life. If you have lost contact with people over the year try reaching out!