JohannaWhether they’re your parents, significant others, the first friends you made in kindergarten or the ones you just met in class this semester, the relationships you keep effect you more than you think. We’ve all experienced the stress caused by a toxic friend, or as I like to call them, the “frenemies.” Do you remember how light you felt after that relationship was cut out of your life? Or, if they’re still a part of your life, haven’t you weighed the pros and cons of keeping them around?

The 4 Rules of Healthy Relationships

In my experience, I’ve found that there are four major elements when it comes to finding the relationships that matter and holding on to them: communication, honesty, mutual understanding, and respect.

  1. Communication – Your friends and family should be the people you turn to when you’re faced with difficult decisions. They’re the first ones you want to tell when you land that job interview, and the ones you text after reading a particularly juicy status on Facebook. Inversely, your friends and family expect you to be there when it’s their turn to vent. Offering to listen patiently to what they have to say is an integral part of healthy relationships. This leads me to…
  2. Distrust - trustHonesty – What’s the point of doing all this communicating if you’re not telling the truth? Being honest with your loved ones is what builds trust and strengthens your bonds. Best friend keeps ditching you after you make plans? Tell them that’s not cool. Boyfriend chewing that steak a little too loudly for public acceptance? Let him know (quietly.) Keeping your grievances bottled up for too long is what causes you to explode later on. Let it out! You’d want them to do the same for you, right?
  3. Mutual Understanding – Of course, we also need to know when it’s necessary to let our friends and family off the hook every once in a while. If you know that your mom had a tough day at work, maybe keep it to yourself that you think she’s over-exaggerating about the dishes that are still in the sink. In the same way, try to see where your friends are coming from when they have a bone to pick with you. It’s all about speaking out from a place of love and understanding. All of this adds up to…
  4. Respect – Above all, respect is the absolute most important thing you need to have in any kind of relationship. I like to live by the basic rule of “treat others the way you’d like to be treated.” You don’t want someone to lie to you. You don’t want someone to talk badly about you behind your back. You don’t want anyone to take your things without asking. So, don’t be that person! It’s also important that you expect respect back, and never settle for being treated badly. Stay clear of that toxic behavior; ain’t nobody got time for that.

Your Best Allies

Removing yourself from negative people and unnecessarily stressful situations can be tricky. However it’s important to hold on to the people that are making your life positive. Surrounding yourself with people that support and respect you is the best way to help you love and believe in yourself, and that’s the first step in becoming the best you that you can be.

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