How to Build a Circle of Support for Your Life

Support. As we travel down the road of life, at times we all need support.

Have you thought about who provides support for you at various times in your life? That person who listens judgment-free, reminds you of your strengths, or cheers you on? (That person might be different people depending on what type of support you need.)

On the flip side, who fans the flames of your fear or maybe even sparks new fear for you? We all have them in our lives. Most often they don’t purposely try to crush our dreams and keep us from achieving your goals, but they do.

And then there’s YOU.

  • Are you a good support buddy when someone needs encouragement or a listening ear?
  • At times, do you start a slow leak in someone’s dream?
  • How do you treat yourself: can you sometimes support yourself or do you let your inner critic fan your fear?

We’re all human, so don’t worry if you are sometimes that person who fans flames of someone’s fear.

Circle of friends


Awareness of the fact that people need a circle of support, coupled with the fact that people, most often innocently, may fan your fear is an important first step.

Once you become aware, you can begin making choices to:

  • Build your circle of people who support you
  • Know with whom to not discuss certain topics
  • Learn to support yourself sometimes

People need people for support. However, no one person can be your support buddy 100% of the time. That’s why having LOTS of people in your circle of support is invaluable.

Building a Group Supportive People In Your Life

Supportive people might be friends, a partner, family members, or colleagues. In other circumstances it can be a person who you don’t know very well, but they have experience with what you’re going through or want to do.

Supportive people are who you talk to when you:

  • Need help sorting things out in your head
  • Want to vent and get something off your chest
  • Choose to get help knowing what steps to take for your goals or dreams

“My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.”

Henry Ford

Examples of Supportive People

When I need encouragement, I have a couple go-to friends who I know I can count on to give me the support I need. They encourage me by reminding me of all the good things I have going for myself, including my strengths and valuable experience.

When I need to vent, I have a couple of go-to friends who I know will listen, not judge, and then help me get back on my way to solving the issue rather than wallowing in the problem.

When I’m sad, happy, scared, about to take a big risk, trying to figure out my next step, and just about any other life experience, I have certain people in my life that I can go to for support and even accountability.

How to Grow a Circle of Support

Having a large circle of support will help you achieve your dreams. The foundation of support is critical, especially when you want to take a big risk to propel your life forward.

If you want to grow your circle, think about the type of person who would fit well. How could you get to know that person better? A few ideas are:

  • Smile and say hello as you pass them in the hallway
  • Ask them out for a cup of coffee or glass of wine
  • Invite them to join you to an event such as a book group, fundraiser, or party where there will be mutual acquaintances

A circle of support can also include people who are paid. Accountants, lawyers, and life coaches are some examples. These people can help you accomplish your goals and dreams more quickly and with more quality.

Oh, that would be too hard to grow a circle for yourself? I challenge you to take a risk and open the lines of communication with just one person!

Recognizing the Fear Junkies in Your Life

Opposite of people who support you are the people who are not so helpful. People who instill fear in you every time you are thinking about taking a step toward your happiness or dreams.

My mentor, Rhonda Britten of the Fearless Living Institute, coined these people Fear Junkies, and I think that term is quite precise.

Even little comments like “Why would you do that?” or “You should do this, not that!” can make you hesitate to take a step you know is right for you.

Do you need to clean out the Fear Junkies in your life?

Absolutely not, well at least not most of them!

Fear Junkies can also be part of your circle of support! People are human, and being perfect in all situations is not humanly possible.

So at times the person who is your best support buddy might also show up as a Fear Junkie in another area of life.

Therefore, it’s best to know the topics to avoid with these people so you avoid giving them the opportunity to hold you back.

Friends supporting each other together

When to Reevaluate Your Friends

The type of Fear Junkies that Rhonda Britten calls Rivalries in Disguise are people who purposely try to cause you harm and hold you back.

Rivalries don’t want you to succeed and purposely say and do things to make you fail, or at minimum instill enough fear to make your inner critic take over and stop forward movement in your life.

Sometimes you’ve just outgrown a friend. You’ve gone in different directions and their presence in your life has grown more toxic than anything.

Where can you invite in support?

Think about the people in your pool of life. Some of those people will float to the top as either part of your circle of support or as Fear Junkies.

Being aware of these people will help you as you navigate the road of life. As a human, at times you will need support from other people. Having a good circle of support will bring ease to your life.

Identifying the Fear Junkies in your life is equally important. Fear Junkies in one area of your life can also be part of your circle of support in other areas. Be aware of topics to avoid with these people, and love them for being part of your circle of support.

Finally, know whose circle of support YOU are on, and also when you show up as a Fear Junkie.

There’s great joy not only in having a large circle of support, but also in being on someone else’s circle of support.

Here’s a video on this topic of having support. It’s by Mel Robbins and I think you’ll get good insights to build on what I’ve talked about in this post.

As a Joy coach, I help women create more confidence, ease, and joy in their next chapter of life. Book a free strategy call with me to get started on your next chapter!


Two women who are support buddies

12 Replies to “How to Build a Circle of Support for Your Life”

  1. Thanks for sharing your words, Ellen. I appreciate your thoughts on the Circle of Support, because it is a circle isn’t it? Over the years, I can recognize how my friends and I can be on the giving end and then (maybe years) later are in need of that support. It is that which binds us! Also, your point on ‘outgrowing’ a relationship is so true although it can be difficult to deal with.

    1. Really good point about it being years later when the other person is in need of support. Such joy in “being there” for other people and having other people “be there” for you. Thanks for dropping by, Gail!

  2. It is hard to make new friends when you are older but it really is worth summoning up the courage to ask
    them to coffee or to an event! Great words of wisdom Ellen 😊

  3. So important! As a life-long subscriber of “I can do it myself”, I’m only now discovering how essential the support network is, and I’m starting to nurture it. Great post.

    1. Congrats on being willing to accept support! Love that you’ve discovered it is essential, I couldn’t agree more.

  4. Great Article! I now realize how important it is to have a circle of support and really evaluate relationships that are fear junkies. Thanks so much Ellen for opening my eyes to this!

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