by Matt Heinz, PHE-in-training
Everywhere you go, you have relationships with people, whether it is coworkers, friends, family, or that someone special, and those relationships can be a major part of your life. That’s why it is important to maintain healthy relationships with the people you interact with, and ensure that your relationships benefit your life and don’t detract from your wellbeing.
Relationships are a two way street, so you have a say in how it goes. And ultimately what you want out of a relationship is what matters. It sounds selfish, I know, but letting others decide what you want produces disconnect, weird feelings, and resentment.
Having friends for specific things isn’t manipulation! It’s just a different kind of friendship!
Remember…. There are different types of relationships. It is ok to have relationships with people that are specific to certain places or situations. Not every friend is a best friend, and not everyone you meet has to be your friend. Understanding the role that someone has in your life helps you prioritize how to spend your precious time and what you really want out of a relationship with someone.
Having a romantic relationship can be like finding your second half, the perfect partner to journey through life with and into the setting sun…but getting there can be a rocky road.
Here are some ways to smooth it out:
- Communicate your intentions – Whether you see yourself growing old with them, or just want to enjoy their company now, it is important that there is some understanding. Avoid breaking hearts and awkward situations!
- Be friends – If you want it to last, you have to be friends and do things together besides just date! Physical attraction isn’t the basis of a solid relationship, so if you are searching for one, make sure you are compatible with them.
- Remain independent– Being your own person and working on personal development will make your romantic relationship much better. Don’t lose track of yourself and what you want just because someone special entered your life!
It doesn’t matter who it is with, proper communication is an important piece in maintaining the relationship you desire. People aren’t mind readers, and sometimes even if you think something should be obvious, it may not be. Expressing yourself in a non-cryptic and forthcoming manner can help avoid confrontation, prevent awkward situations, and even improve your interactions! I know, I know, it is practically magic.
Here are some strategies for creating open communication:
- Being straight forward – Beating around the bush helps you avoid some potentially uncomfortable feelings, but they might not get the point (or feel like you are trying to manipulate them rather than talk to them)
- Finding the right setting – Trying to have a serious and productive conversation simply will not work during an argument. Cooling off and then addressing issues helps everyone focus on discussion rather than blame.
- Thinking before you speak – Taking the time to think about what you are feeling will help you express it clearly and prevent harmful misunderstandings.
Since relationships are so important to us all, and can either bring us up or drag us down, I challenge you to think about which relationships in your life brighten your day, and which you would rather live without. Take charge of your relationships, working to improve or let go of them, and don’t be afraid to put your desires first! I hope these strategies help you have healthier and more beneficial relationships, and that you will put more thought into the value of your different relationships.