Healthy relationships in our lives are essential; through them we are able to fulfill our human desire to connect, to love, and to be loved.
But relationships can be complicated because we are complicated. We are creatures driven by emotions, which can be the very source as to why we pursue relationships, or remain in ones that we know aren’t good for us.
As I’ve mentioned numerous times on my blog, I’ve had my fair share of bad relationships. It got to the point where I was forced to step back and reevaluate.
However, having been with my boyfriend for 3 years now, and gained a supportive group of friends, I’ve been able to gain perspective on what went wrong in my old relationships, and crack the code on how to maintain healthier relationships today, and now I’m sharing all of my tips with you!
1. Communicate Effectively
You have to nip things in the bud, and you have to do it effectively if you want your relationships to work. This means not yelling, calling names, or being passive aggressive/doing things out of spite, but simply letting the person know that you’re not okay with something, and that you’re addressing it for the sake of the relationship– not to attack them.
Staying quiet about things that bother you doesn’t hurt anyone but yourself. Someone may not know what they’ve done to hurt you, and lingering anger and tension can pop up later in the relationship, making it a bigger problem than it ever needed to be.
You should love and respect the people in your life enough to come at them respectfully, and they should love and respect you enough to take your concerns into consideration.
2. Set healthy boundaries
If I’ve learned anything at all, it’s that people will only treat you how you allow them to. To foster sustainable relationships, there must be healthy boundaries, otherwise you will find that you are letting people into your life that think it’s okay to walk all over you.
This can be hard because it takes some serious willpower– it means letting people know what you will and will not tolerate and sticking to it.
Love yourself enough to know what you deserve, and don’t let anyone trick you into believing you are “high maintenance” for demanding basic respect.
It’s okay to hold the people in your life to a standard and to know that people who don’t live up to them don’t deserve to be in your life.
3. Understand the difference between mistakes and habits
Someone who continuously disrespects you is loudly and clearly letting you know that they do not care. Don’t ignore that.
On the other hand, sometimes a mistake is just that– a mistake. Sometimes people truly didn’t mean too– or they did in the moment, but are willing to learn from it.
We’re all going to disagree in our relationships, but real relationships know how to bounce back. Don’t be so quick to cancel people just because you got into an argument– especially if what was done was clearly out of character.
Instead, ask yourself, has this person had bad intentions with me in the past? Evaluate from there, and set a boundary to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
4. Hold yourself accountable
This one is coming for alot of our lives, because for most of us, admitting when were wrong just isn’t natural. It means understanding AND confirming that we aren’t perfect.
Guess what? None of us are, and no one expects us to be. But a person who cannot own up to what they’ve done might be the worst type of person– don’t be that type of person.
Admit when you’re wrong, and apologize. People will appreciate you so much more for it and it will take you a lot further in life than refusing to acknowledge that you have flaws.
In addition, do not be a hypocrite in your relationships– don’t do things to people that you wouldn’t want them to do to you.
This goes for both friendships and relationships, there is no double standard and where there is one– erase it, just don’t do it. It’s that simple.
And if you do, apologize.
5. Find a healthy balance
I think a lot of us can relate when I say that we can sometimes lose ourselves in our relationships. We can find that we’re giving more than we’re receiving, or that we’ve become too caught up in a relationship that we forget who we are without them.
But relationships should be about balance. It should be about giving and taking, not one or the other, and we should have our own identity outside of our relationships.
So give yourself space sometimes, make time for yourself, hang out with your friends, do the things that you like to do, and when it comes down to it, always choose yourself first.
6. Show people you appreciate them
Just like we love to be valued, we have to make sure we are showing other people that we value them. Tell your friends and/or significant other frequently that you love and appreciate them. Point out all of the wonderful things that they do for you, and let them know it doesn’t go unnoticed.
I think sometimes we can forget that good friendships and relationships aren’t something to take for granted, so just sending a quick text or telling someone what they mean to you can remind them, and yourself how much you enjoy having them in your life.
7. Be a decent person
Last but not least– you have to be a good friend and partner to have healthy relationships.
This means being honest with people, not lying to them or stabbing them in the back, listening and taking their feelings into consideration, having their backs and supporting their dreams and decisions, making time for them, and not taking them for granted.
Good relationships are hard to find, so when you do, make sure you hold on tightly.
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