Fostering healthy relationships

Qualities to look for in partners, friends and family

As Valentine’s Day approaches, it is a good time to evaluate the relationships we are keeping – not just with romantic or sexual partners, but also with our friends and family members. Unhealthy or abusive relationships might be harder to identify with our friends or family members than with romantic partners, but the same five qualities are present in all healthy relationships.

The first important quality for a healthy relationship is respect. In order for a relationship to be healthy, both parties must be respectful of one another. This means accepting one another’s boundaries, prioritizing their comfort and safety, and acting in a way that is considerate of the other’s wants and needs.

The second important quality for a healthy relationship is open communication. Communicating openly involves sharing your feelings with the other person, and listening freely to them as well. Healthy relationships require being willing to get through arguments calmly, compromising when necessary, and not assuming that the other person knows what has never been communicated to them. Good communication does not mean conflict will never occur. Rather, both parties are comfortable addressing the issue with the other when it does.

The third important quality is honesty. Honesty does not mean that everything must always be shared between partners or friends. Rather, it means that actively lying and deceiving someone is an indication that something may be wrong, especially if someone is lying about things that have the potential to affect the relationship.

The fourth quality, trust, goes hand in hand with honesty and communication, as suspicion may impede the ability to foster healthy relationships. The ability to be open with someone and feel that they are being equally open with you is important, as it allows people to feel safe and comfortable in relationships.

The final quality is compassion. Ultimately, having healthy relationships means caring deeply about another person, and supporting them in their endeavours. Uplifting the people you care about and treating them as you wish to be treated is key to fostering healthy relationships.

If you feel like you are involved in unhealthy or abusive relationships, please reach out to SHARE at 506-364-2613 or share@mta.ca.

Jilane Buryn
Jilane Buryn is a contributor to the Argosy.