Are You a Source of Encouragement?

The greatest feeling is knowing that friends believe in you and are rooting for you. This is a friendly reminder to be vocal with your belief in your friends and an outline of how you to do exactly that. How to encourage them. How to be their hype man.

Before diving into these suggestions, I want to briefly note the importance of being a source of encouragement for your friends. If you are not encouraging and supporting your friends, you are holding them down. “Holding them down?” Yes, holding them down. In a digital age, likes have become the baseline—they’re effectively neutral. Liking posts purely keeps others docked at bay. Being docked at bay isn’t bad, but it isn’t good. Being docked isn’t the same as setting sail. It is only when we become the source of encouragement and hype for our friends that they’ll feel inclined to set sail.

Being docked is complacent. Don’t let your friends grow complacent. To set sail is to set out towards the horizon, to explore, to experiment, to take risks. Most of us remain docked because it’s safe, it’s easy. It’s bringing in the likes, and that’s sufficient. But a boat that sits stagnant for too long collects algae. As someone’s friend, or as someone who looks up to another person, you play an integral role in their growth.

Ways you can encourage and support those you believe in:

Money talks

Buy something they’ve made—your money speaks volume—we’re all scared of creating something and selling it. There’s that lingering fear of not being able to sell it or make any money off of it. We fear it’ll all be a waste of time. When you buy something of theirs, you’re not only financially supporting them but you’re directly giving them the confidence that what they’ve made is worth paying for. You are immediately validating their sense of value.

Send them a (specific) message

While it may seem like people are constantly being bombarded by messages, I’ve found that’s usually not to be the case. Send them a message, whether that’s via twitter, Instagram, email, whatever! Receiving messages of encouragement are incredibly uplifting. Rather than being general in your message, be very specific. Don’t say, “I love everything you do, keep it up!” While that is very nice, it’s much more meaningful to speak in detail on something very specific. Bring up one of their latest projects or pieces of art and explain how that’s inspired you or how they are doing one thing in particular really well. When you’re specific, this lets them know that others see the details of their work and encourages them to focus on what they’re doing right.

Always ask your friends what they’re up to

It’s incredibly easy for people to sit on their own work and to keep it quiet because we’re all so self-critical. Constantly probe your friends and find out what they’re doing. Get them excited about their ideas and goals. When we’re excited about our work, and we know our friends are excited about our work, we not only follow through with it but we create better stuff. I strongly believe that it is my responsibility to be the hype man for my friends. I know how easy it is to fall into a slump and not want to create, but I also know how great it feels when someone else is excited about my ideas or my work.

Let people know what you’re up to

This is the inverse of the last point. Just as it’s extremely easy for others to become isolated and locked inside of their own work, this likely happens to you. It’s important to let your friends know what you’re up to because then you’ll likely find out what they’re up to! Communication is key to any relationship, and it’s no different with your friends.

Ask them for advice

Do you know what it means when someone comes to you for advice? It means they respect your opinion, your work or your point of view. It can be very encouraging to have someone come to you for advice, so it’s important to reciprocate that towards others. By asking your friends for advice or feedback, you’re not only going to receive great feedback but you’re instilling confidence in them.

Talk highly of your friends

Zachary has recently gotten me hooked on watching Casey Neistat’s daily videos. One thing I’ve noticed in particular about Casey is that he absolutely loves his friends. When Casey is going to meet up with a friend, he always speaks highly of them. He brings up their accomplishments, what they do, how they’ve met, cool projects they’re working on, and what he loves about them. His genuine love and excitement for his friends are extremely contagious. It feels strange introducing yourself in such a manner, but it can be really fun and encouraging to brag about your friends.

Again, many of us are very self-critical, so taking the time to recognize the things about your friends that they probably discount or overlook is both validating and motivating. Just as a recap: money talks, send specific messages, see what they’re up to, share what you’re up to, ask for advice, and talk highly of your friends. If you believe in someone, be vocal about it. It can go a very long way.