Healthy relationships can bring out the best in people, allowing them to experience personal growth, more happiness, and even less stress. This is true for intimate relationships, as well as friendships and relationships with family members.
What are healthy relationships?
The first step to taking care of our relationships is to take an honest look at them. A healthy relationship has a least five important qualities:
Tips for building healthy relationships
While there are many strategies and tips for building healthy relationships, here are a few ideas to get you started whether you’re beginning a new relationship or you want to improve an existing relationship:
Strive for meaningful relationships
Developing meaningful relationships can be challenging because it involves sharing our feelings as well as our needs and wants; however, being close with someone involves sharing these things.
Learning how to communicate effectively about your feelings and what’s important to you is important, as is respecting others feelings and needs.
Communication is often listed as one of the most important elements of a healthy relationship.
- Own your opinions and reactions by using “I-statements” (ex. “I feel sad because this wasn’t how I expected things to turn out.”). I-statements allow you to take responsibility for how you think and feel without blaming the other person.
- Take time to listen to what someone has to say.
- Reflect your understanding back to the other person. Re-sate what you’ve heard in your own words.
Most relationships will have some conflict. This is normal and means you disagree, not that you don’t like each other.
- Keep the conversation about behaviour, not about personalities.
- Stay in the present – focus on the current conflict and avoid bringing up past difficulties.
Make time to discuss what’s important. If you or the other person is tired or busy, be sure to find a better time to talk about what’s bothering you.