September 11


Relationship Goals: 5 Tips for Building Healthy Relationships

By Cassie

September 11, 2023

friendship, how to make friends

We all long for connection and want to have healthy happy relationships. We want our friendships, families, and romantic relationships to feel comfortable, safe, and loving. Everyone want to feel like they belong. I’m convinced that’s why television shows like Friends and Sex and the City, and movies like The Notebook are such huge hits. We wish our friendships could be that way, we wish our romantic relationships could. The truth is though, we never really get to peek behind the curtain to see what makes these relationships so great. And, well, real life relationships don’t come with scripts that ensure a happy ending. But no worries, these 5 relationship tips will help you create healthy relationships in your real life. Will they be picture perfect, honestly, probably not, but they will enrich your life and bring you joy.

Choose Wisely

Let’s be honest here… not everyone is right for you and you aren’t right for everyone else either. It’s important to choose wisely when it comes to creating healthy relationships.

Let’s put first things first. How’s your picker? It’s important to take a look at your relationship trends. Do you typically choose well when it comes to romantic partners and friendships? Are the people in your family that you’re closest too the ones you have the safest and healthiest relationships with? If you’re noticing trends that aren’t serving you it’s important to understand where they’re coming from and resolve any under lying issues.

But perhaps your issue is that you don’t choose at all. Maybe you just go along with whoever chooses you. If you find that you frequently ask yourself “do they like me” it’s time to switch the script. Remember, you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s a GOOD thing. That means you’re authentically and uniquely you. You’re looking for your people. The ones who will love and accept you not in spite of your quirky weird stuff but because of it. It’s time to start asking yourself if you like them. Some people simply won’t be your cup of tea either. Some you may have little in common with. Or you may simply want different things or be in different places in your lives. That’s ok.

Don’t waste your time and energy on relationships that are doomed to fail and likely to cause you pain in the process. The healthiest relationships start with a wise choice (and giving yourself permission to be the one who makes it.)

Create Boundaries

I’ve heard it said that healthy relationships (especially romantic ones) don’t require boundaries. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Boundaries aren’t for other people they’re for you. They don’t and won’t dictate the actions of the people you’re in relationships with but will help guide and inform yours. It’s important that you create them so you have a playbook for yourself about what will and won’t work for you.

Having boundaries will help you say no rather than falling into people pleasing. They’ll help you communicate what you need and want in the relationship. And they’ll help you establish a foundation of mutual respect and common ground. Essentially they’ll empower you to respond rather than react and to show up in a way that’s aligned with your personal values.

Build a Bridge

A healthy relationship takes two. Build and reinforce the connections you have with others by showing up for them well, reaching out, and opening up.

Showing up doesn’t mean being a doormat or never saying no to any request. It simply means being mindful of your people and being there for them when and where you can. This means for both the tough stuff and the good. It can be so difficult to find someone who can not only wipe tears but also celebrate wins. Both are essential to showing up well.

Reaching out and keeping in touch with friends and family is so hard for me. During the day I find myself very distracted and preoccupied and when I settle in the evening it’s too late to call or reach out (oh the challenges of being a night owl). But staying connected is so important in most healthy relationships. I’ve found it’s helpful to let people in my life know that I struggle with this so they don’t feel like I’m avoiding or blowing them off. And I also set reminders in my phone to check in.

I know… these are the good problems… how to keep in touch with all your people. But what do you do if you don’t have people yet? Well, it has to start somewhere so put yourself out there. Reach out and ask someone you know if they want to go for a walk or grab a coffee. Can’t think of anyone? Get involved in an activity you love, volunteer, join a bowling league or running club, or look for local activities on meetup.com to check out.

Lean In

Now for the tough stuff… it’s time to lean in! If you’re happy with your relationships staying at the pleasantries and acquaintance level interactions you can go ahead and skip this one. But I doubt you’re reading this because you wish you had more people in your life who you could say “fine” to when they ask how you’re doing.

Growing your relationships means leaning in. It means asking for help, becoming more vulnerable, and building trust. No, I don’t mean taking the firehose approach and telling them every detail of your life story or asking them to donate a kidney to you or be your kids guardians the day you meet. But for a healthy full relationship to develop you’ll need to talk about more than the weather. And you’ll need to include them in your life (meaning asking for what you need whether that be someone to grab your mail, help you paint, or listen to you on a rough day).

My suggestion (as a socially awkward, die hard loaner) is to notice the things your people are already good at (you’ve probably already done that) and ask them for help in that arena. Everyone likes to be helpful, this builds connection, and everyone likes to feel seem. Going about it this way helps you to do both.

Here’s a little script to get you started:

“I noticed you’re really good / talented at __________ and I could use a hand with that. Are you free sometime in the next couple weeks to do that?”

I recently did this and here’s what I said:

“You have the most beautiful taste and your house is so pretty. I’m getting ready to do some redecorating and I’d love your input. Maybe we could get together at my house sometime in the next couple weeks and you could give me some pointers and suggestions.”

Enjoy the Season

Sometimes we put so much pressure on our relationships that it’s impossible to enjoy them. Healthy relationships aren’t built upon the expectations that they will last a lifetime and result in some happily ever after fantasy. In fact, most of our relationships won’t last a lifetime. They’ll be seasonal. They’ll fade out. Someone will outgrow them. Life circumstances will change. Someone will move. You get what I’m saying. It’s not because we didn’t work hard enough or value the relationship enough. Things just happen. And sometimes, things happen again and the relationship starts up again. I mean, think about it, Samantha and Carrie’s relationship ended and Monica wasn’t even invited to Rachel’s wedding. Even in the shows that make us most believe in the forever relationship we see they sometimes end. That doesn’t mean the relationship wasn’t worth it.

Stop being so hung up on looking for lifetime relationships that you forget to enjoy the season you’re in and the moments you have.

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