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Going through tough life altering times such as divorce, ill parents, death of loved one or loss of job can be extremely painful and stressful, but having a personal supports network in place can often go a long way in reducing the burden. Now is the time to lean on your friends.   Understandably it is often difficult to open up and share very personal intimate information with friends. However, it is often helpful to have people to confide in. The key is to determine who should be in your confidence circle. Not all friends and acquaintances are good confidantes so before you start confiding in anyone and developing a personal support network, take a mental inventory of the people in your life. Ask yourself who among those people should be confided in and who should not?
Many people have one or two very close friends with whom they share everything. For these people developing a personal support system is simple. It’s already in place. Others have several close friends who play different roles in their lives. If you fall into this second group, decide who will be in your support circle by taking stock of your friends and their roles in your life. Who should and can help you during what is going to be a very challenging time? There are many types of roles friends play. Among them are:  

Historic friend: has been in your life long enough to help you look at things from a historic point of view.
Good time friend; fun to hang with, but not necessarily a confident  

Logical friend:  thinks logically and will keep you focused on the logic of your actions.  

Reality check friend:  clearly points out the truth of the matter, no holds barred.  

Cheerleader friend : unabashedly supportive and will cheer you on.  

It is important to be mindful of the individualized role of each of your friends. Don’t expect them to act outside of the established relational role. Your reality check friend is not going to just blindly support you; don’t get upset if she questions your actions. By the same token, don’t expect your cheerleader friend to let you know when you are being unreasonable. It just is not the nature of the relationship.
Many of us have people in our lives with whom we share a cordial friendship - situational friends. These are the people with whom there is an acquaintance because of a particular situation: work, fellow church members, the other team moms, or the neighbor down the street. Often these are the people with whom we spend the greatest amount of time. But, when it comes to friendship, time spent does not necessarily translate into closeness. Be mindful of the extent of the relationship when deciding with whom you should confide.  

You may have some friends with whom you may want to limit your sharing: the always negative person, the overly judgmental person and the know-it-all person. Confiding in such people may serve to cloud your judgment and exacerbate your stress level.
Developing a solid personal support network will go a long way in helping you to get though the stress and pain of tough times. Take the time and put in the effort to develop your network

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