Top Concerns

Tips for Healthy Relationships

Healthy relationships bring happiness and health to our lives. Studies show that people with healthy relationships really do have more happiness and less stress. There are basic ways to make relationships healthy, even though each one is, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, professors, and classmates.

  1. Keep expectations realistic. No one can be everything we might want him or her to be. Sometimes people disappoint us. Healthy relationships mean accepting people as they are and not trying to change them.

  2. Talk with each other. It can't be said enough: communication is essential in healthy relationships!
    • Genuinely listen. Don't plan what to say next while you're trying to listen. Don't interrupt.
    • Listen with your ears and your heart. Sometimes people have emotional messages to share and weave it into their words.
    • Ask questions. Ask if you think you may have missed the point. Ask for opinions. Show your interest.
    • Share information. As your trust begins to grow, share more about yourself and allow others to know the real you.

  3. Be flexible. It's natural to feel apprehensive, even sad or angry, when people or things change and we're not ready for it. Healthy relationships mean change and growth are allowed.

  4. Take care of you. First, you must be a healthy person to be in a healthy relationship. Acknowledge your needs and take steps to meet them. Other people help make our lives satisfying but they can't create that satisfaction for us. Only you can fill your life. Healthy relationships aren't dependent!

  5. Be dependable. If you make plans with someone, follow through. If you have an assignment deadline, meet it. If you take on a responsibility, complete it. Healthy relationships are trustworthy!

  6. Fight fair. All relationships have some conflict. It only means you disagree about something, it doesn't have to mean you don't like each other!

  7. Show your warmth. Find little ways to show the other person that you care and are thinking of them. Healthy relationships show emotional warmth!

  8. Know that it's a process. Sometimes it looks like everyone else on campus is confident and connected. Actually, most people feel just like you, wondering how to fit in and have good relationships. It takes time to meet people and get to know, make "small talk"...respond to trying. Healthy relationships can be learned and practiced and keep getting better!

  9. Be yourself! It's much easier and much more fun to be you than to pretend to be something or someone else. Sooner or later, it catches up anyway. Healthy relationships are made of real people, not images!

Adapted from Joyce Woodford, Counseling Services, Kansas State University