There are many reasons why relationships might fail, however, there is also a variety of ways to improve and retain the relationships you value.
Not only is cultivating healthy relationships important for your social life, but it’s also crucial for your overall health and wellness. According to Northwest Medicine in an article on the benefits of healthy relationships, cultivating positive connections can:
- Reduce stress;
- Encourage you to take on healthier behaviors (like diet and exercise);
- Increase your life’s longevity.
Moreover, these health benefits will not only apply to you, but to the other individuals within these relationships as well. There are many types of relationships ranging from personal to professional. However, all are equally important to maintain. Throughout the rest of this article, you will find information on the different types of relationships and how to cultivate healthy habits for each.
A romantic relationship is an interpersonal relationship involving emotional and/or physical connections. Simply put, to be in a romantic relationship, you must share the same romantic feelings with another individual. Although not all romantic relationships end up surpassing the following stages, such as engagement or marriage, (69% of Americans accept cohabitation relationships, even if the individuals never plan on getting married, after all) it is important for all romantic relationships to enter into any next stage with a foundation of love, and more importantly, trust.
If you feel as if you’re struggling to better your relationship, you should consider implementing better habits that can help it grow stronger. Although a common solution is often seeking couple’s counseling, there are other steps you can always take beforehand, such as:
- Learn their love language;
- Try new things as a couple;
- Set boundaries;
- Prioritize communication;
- Make time for each other, but also embrace your individual interests;
- Show appreciation towards one another;
- Celebrate all victories, big and small, like anniversaries and other milestones.
In addition, romantic partners should be on the same page before moving to the next stage in their relationship. Being honest about your emotions and talking about where you stand in the relationship is a great way to gauge what step to take next. This includes discussing your feelings about having kids and moving in together.
It may also include a discussion on marriage including when you’d want to get married and what type of engagement ring or wedding band you’d like. Failure to get to know your partner before making these big decisions could result in misunderstanding the situation and making a choice before you’re ready.
Just as it sounds, this type of relationship is the connection you have with different members of the family, including immediate and extended family members. According to Marriage.com, the importance of healthy family relationships is, “having a strong and supportive family is an essential part of human development.”
They then proceed to explain that cultivating healthy family relationships can:
- Improve moral development in children;
- Help develop a sense of self-worth;
- Teach the importance of maintaining different responsibilities;
- Encourage the development of important personality traits like empathy and intimacy.
Cultivating healthy family relationships doesn’t always come easy. Listed below are a few considerations to be mindful of when attempting to strengthen the bond between family:
- Spend more quality time as a family;
- Provide emotional support for one another;
- Show affection;
- Communicate with each other;
- Continue to learn about each other — your likes, dislikes, concerns, fears, goals, and so on;
- Seek support from other family members or outside resources, like family counseling, to strengthen your relationship.
Just as no one person is the same, not every family is the same, either, which means that not every tip mentioned above may work for every family. This is why you should take the time to get to know one another to see what forms of communication work best and how to develop your relationship from there.
Whether you’re building connections with an entire group or an individual, taking the time to cultivate healthy friendships is just as important as eliminating toxicity in other types of relationships. In some cases, you may find yourself reaching out to your friends before your loved ones for advice.
You can strengthen your friendship by:
- Asking questions to build a deeper connection;
- Reminiscing on good memories and discussing new ones to make in the future;
- Allowing yourself to feel vulnerable in their presence;
- Supporting one another in all circumstances, whether in times of sorrow or joy.
- Making time to catch up;
- Respecting each other’s boundaries, separate lives, and responsibilities.
Even if it’s just one person, having a friend, or a group of friends who you can rely on can also help contribute to your overall happiness.
An article on Indeed.com defines a professional relationship as “an interpersonal connection between two or more people in a place of business… [and] are usually more formal than relationships that exist outside of work.” Specific examples of professional relationships include connections with your manager, coworkers, and clients or customers.
This same article also claims that professional relationships are important to maintain because they “encourage a healthier and safer work environment where everyone can work together with minimal conflict.”
You can improve business relationships by:
- Formally introducing yourself and your role with the company to your coworkers;
- Treating everyone, including clients and customers, with respect;
- Refraining from excluding others from work-related events;
- Being open-minded;
- Setting personal and professional boundaries;
- Encouraging others to use their strengths.
Although it may seem awkward opening up to coworkers at first, in the long run, you may see that opening up is what you needed all along. It’s also a great way to build trust amongst your coworkers, which can come in handy when networking in the future.
A community relationship is a connection you have with different members of the community. This includes, but isn’t limited to, connections with:
- Religious groups/roles;
- Volunteer leaders’
- Local government officials/personnel.
Even though the relationships with different members of the community may not be as important as the ones above, they’re crucial enough to attempt to improve.
You can improve your relationship with those in your community by:
- Volunteering your time/donating money or other valuables towards community events;
- Contributing to neighborhood cleanups;
- Encourage others to practice and promote neighborhood safety.
It’s important to build healthy connections within your community because it helps contribute to the overall success of your area including local schools and businesses.
With the help of strengthening all relationships, you can help improve the mental health and wellness of yourself and those around you. Putting in the effort to cultivate healthy relationships also shows you care for those in your life, no matter the role they play.
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