5 Tips for Healthy Relationships

Valentine Healthy RelationshipsBy Thomas Cazneau
January and February have different emphases. January is mainly focused on improving yourself while February is a time for cultivating healthy relationships with others.

In January, my New Year’s resolution was to lose weight and eat healthier, and as far as the mirror and scale tell me, I am doing great. To insure this, I have a very reliable Kaiser Permanente Health Insurance Plan. They have member programs to support me in my current health goals. If you would like more information about Kaiser Permanente member benefits, click Health Insurance Plans.

It’s February now, and Valentine’s Day is around the corner. It’s time to look at my relational health. Ahha! Stop the presses everyone while we delve deeper into what can improve healthy relationships before February 14th! No matter how you celebrate this holiday, communication is important. It has the potential to make or break relationships, as well as the power to enhance existing connections. During the course of the next two weeks, I will be sharing a total of 10 tips on how to improve and maintain healthy communication for any type of social interaction. Here are the first five.

1. Balance Openness with Caution
In general, every healthy relationship has degrees of openness and caution.

    First Meetings
    Meeting someone for the first time can feel both awkward and exciting. Some individuals jump too soon into a relationship, while others approach too guarded towards a potential connection. A healthy relationship, however, involves a balance between openness and caution. Providing a safe place where both individuals feel comfortable opening up can be helpful in finding this balance.
    Meeting Again
    Good rapport from first meetings can encourage better rapport for future meetings. Although the degree of openness and caution will vary depending on social circumstances, a healthy relationship will feel gradually welcome to become more open and less guarded.

2. Develop Trust
In healthy relationships, trust should be developed. Trusting too much, too soon can cause social strife, while trusting too little or too late can provoke relational regret. Healthy communication is key.

    Trusting Too Much, Too Soon.
    Imagine meeting a new acquaintance or coworker at Starbucks. Maybe you hit it off right away, and they seem to be exactly like you. Would you feel comfortable telling them a secret about yourself? How much are you willing to lose if this new acquaintance were to tell this secret? These are good types of questions to personally answer before entrusting a new contact with private information.
    Trusting Too Little or Too Late.
    Have you ever cringed when someone asked you about something simple? Possibly, they asked you something non-threatening like “How are you doing?” or “When do you work today?” If taken the wrong way, a simple question can provoke someone to become very guarded in their communication. However, there comes a point when negative social experiences need to take a back seat, so that it is possible to experience healthy relationships.

3. Plan for Quality Time
Imagine getting a 50-question pop quiz about someone you have only met 10 minutes ago, and being told that you would be given $1000 if you got every question right. Though most of us would do our best, none of us would likely receive the tempting prize based on our short conversation with a complete stranger. Setting aside quality time where both individuals can have a chance to get acquainted through healthy communication is helpful in building common ground and unity.

4. Share Likes and Dislikes
Let’s pretend you are meeting someone for the first time. What makes this individual unique? What makes you unique? Establishing an idea of what makes both communicators personally interesting from the get-go can be informative and enlightening for the healthy relationship as a whole. Chatting about likes and dislikes, hopes and aspirations, favorites and least favorites, can be great conversation starters. Even if the two individuals are the best of friends, there is always something new to learn about somebody. Sharing about likes and dislikes is a conversation that can continue day by day in any healthy relationship.

5. Appreciate Similarities and Opposites
Learning to appreciate both social similarities and opposites in a healthy relationship can bring a pleasing well-roundedness to any interaction.

    Similarities
    Do you have a best friend? What makes you both alike? Do you look alike? Do you prefer similar types of music? Similarities can be as simple as same favorite colors and as complex as same family backgrounds.
    Opposites
    A relationship of opposites encourages variety and balance. For example, my best friend and I are almost complete opposites. While he is usually more analytical and calculated, I tend to be more expressive and spontaneous. His attention to details and planning helps me become more organized, while I help him take himself less seriously. Although getting along may seem futile at times, healthy communication with someone of opposite temperament or personality can bring a pleasing balance not only to the relationship as a whole, but also to each individual.

Stay tuned for five other helpful healthy relationship tips on my next blog. Until then, I welcome you to try these simple healthy communication tips with a spouse, friend, or coworker. Practice makes perfect!

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