Growing Your Social Network
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Growing Your Social Network

(happy music plays) – Our family, friends,
significant others, and supporters create a social network that
helps us as we go through life. They also make us happy and
help us lead a good life. It is important to grow and
strengthen your social networks and relationships throughout your life. The first step in growing
your social network is to think about who is in your circle of friends and supporters. Think about how you might
want to change that network. Who do you like and trust the most? What do you like to do with
your friends and supporters? Who do you want to spend more time with? Is there anyone you don’t want
to spend as much time with? Do you want to have more
friends or people in your life? What kinds of people do you want to meet or get to know better? Your answers to these questions will help you decide how you want to grow or change your social network. You should also work to build skills to navigate social relationships. For some people, making
friends comes easy. For others, it is harder. – I made friends through social programs with the park district that we have, which is really nice. They have different art programs and I’ve met friends through
having the same interests. My family puppy raises
leader dogs for the blind and it gets us out meeting people and I’ve made friends that way too. – You know people do have
strong bonds in self-advocacy. You know, strong bonds really
strengthen self-advocacy. People learn from each other and through that they discover strengths when it comes to speaking up
that they were not aware of when they were, you know, younger or before they even got
involved in self-advocacy. It’s the case with me. You know, there were times
when I was, you know, shy to speak up. And also, through what
people have seen of me, when I do speak of up they have said, you know, you could do this,
I think you could do that. That kind of interaction
within a relationship like when somebody has confidence in you, you know, it really does
play a role in how strong the relationships are
between you and that person. – Here are some things to
consider when building skills to navigate your social relationships. You should know what good and
bad relationships looks like. For more on this, watch our video on building
good relationships. Meet the people around you. Are there people you see but
you don’t know or talk to at your current activities,
work, or school? Find a time to talk to them. If you need an introduction, find someone who can help you meet these new people. Talk about friendship fears. Meeting new people can be scary. If you are nervous,
talk to people you trust about how to meet new people. Ask for advice from people you trust. Find out from your
friends and family members how they make new friends. Learn what works well for them and what is hard for them. Talk with them about what is hard for you when you are trying to make new friends. Brush up on your social skills. Make sure you are interacting with people in socially appropriate ways. Check out online courses like Self-Advocacy Online’s “Building
My Relationships” course, to learn about good social skills. Always keep trying new activities, you never know what you might like and who you might meet. Strengthening your social
network and relationships are important things to
help you lead a good life. Remember, think about your social network and how you want to change it. Build friendships and social skills. Try out new activities and interests. Meet new people at current
and new activities. Look for ways to strengthen relationships with people you know. – What makes a good friend is a person you can trust and a person that you can really rely on and work with each other. It’s about team work and about
the ability to be together. If I had to suggest to
anyone to be a good friend, you have to be out there. You have to be out there, and visible, and not just do all the talking but also be a good listener.

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