I feel like how to have healthy relationships is the number one problem that we face today.
I’m not just talking about dating, either–I’m talking about how we, as people, relate to other people on a day to day basis. We have our nose in our phones, our lives are about “#squadgoals” and “#relationshipgoals”, and just meeting people that aren’t creeps can seem really really hard, if I’m honest.
One of the biggest conundrums that the millennial generation is dealing with is that we have all this contact with hundreds of people we may or may not have even met on a daily basis, but very few meaningful connections. We’re some of the most isolated individuals even though we have countless conversations on a daily basis.
Your twenties are years that set the stage for the rest of your life. I don’t mean to say that to scare anyone–it’s just reality. During your twenties is most likely when you’ll meet whoever you end up marrying, it’s when you have your first real career, it’s when you solidify your identity in many areas. And who your friends are really impacts who you become in these years.
With that in mind, it is so important to know how to have a healthy relationship, whether it be with friends or a partner. And I have three tips for you to keep in mind to make sure you’re doing just that.
1. Look for people who have similar values to where you want to be in five years.
If you don’t want to be caught up in the hardcore party scene when you’re 30, don’t only hang out with kids who are into hardcore partying. If you don’t want to be binge-drinking every weekend when you’re 27, don’t spend all your time with people who binge-drink every weekend. It’s pretty simple, actually.
This goes for more subtle things, as well. If you don’t want to be a gossip, don’t hang out with gossips. If you want to be good with money, don’t hang out with people who spend a ton of money or don’t understand why you’re trying to save.
You’ve also got to look for this in relationships, as well. Do you want to get married, settle down, and have kids? Make sure you’re looking for the kinds of guys who are out for that, too. That doesn’t mean you can only date guys who want to be married and have kids right this second–but the kinds of men who want that in their future, as well, will be much more respectful and take the relationship more seriously than some guy you met at a frat party, for the most part.
Take away: Surround yourself with people who are on the same road as you are. Towards good careers, responsible choices, and a healthy lifestyle.
2. Get in the habit of spending quality time together
I don’t mean just going out to watch a movie every other week, or texting your boyfriend “good night” every night. I mean spending real, actual time together. Pull out board games or a deck of cards instead of turning on Netflix. Cook dinner together instead of ordering pizza all the time. Start doing things that actively bring you closer together as friends or strengthen your relationship if you’re dating/married.
If you’re wondering how to have a healthy relationship with someone you’re dating, time together is one aspect that we’re really missing a lot of the time. The relationship can seem great when you’re in the first few weeks or months and all you want to do is cuddle, watch romantic movies, and make out. But then the honeymoon phase is over and you think, “Hmm, I don’t think I have anything in common with this guy.” How do you avoid that? Spend time together. Yes, cuddling and watching movies is fun and is definitely a big part of Connor and my relationship. But it can’t be the only part. Find an activity you both enjoy, or run errands together, or volunteer for an outreach event together some time. When you’re spending time with each other when you’re forced to actually talk and experience life together, it’s a lot easier to realize “maybe we’re not so compatible” than if you’re just cuddling on the couch all day.
Relationships and friendships are more than just being in each other’s presence–focus on quality of time, not quantity of time.
3. Get out of the habit of only talking to people your age.
This is something that I have never understood about people my age. Maybe it’s because I was homeschooled so I grew up talking to adults, but why do we only ever talk to people within 2 years of our own age?
When you’re in high school or in university it can be really easy to get caught up in your little bubble of school–all your friends are in your classes, or part of clubs you’ve joined on campus. But the world is so much bigger than that! Get to know your neighbour in your apartment building, or some of the older couples at your church. Branch out and talk to some of the people you may not otherwise have talked to, because it gives you a lot of perspective.
Healthy relationships help us to grow as people and overcome obstacles we may not have been able to get past on our own. A lot of times talking to someone older can be a huge help. As well, there’s something very therapeutic and lovely about helping someone younger than you get through something you’ve had to grapple with before, whether it’s a grade 10 girl at your church who’s going through her first unrequited love, or a first-year on your campus who’s failed his first test. We’re meant to be in community, but that community isn’t only supposed to be made up of one age.
As well, getting to know people from all different ages helps your life become more full. I can’t tell you how blessed my life has been by the elderly women at my church–seeing them every week makes my heart so happy. Some of my favourite times of the month is being on the worship team at my church, too, where all of us are very different walks of life but come together to worship. If you truly want a full, rich life, don’t limit who you interact with. Instead, get to know the full range of the amazing people around you.
What are some of your tips for how to have a healthy relationship? Leave them in the comments below so we can talk about it!
Did you like this post? Make sure to catch the rest of the Becoming YOU series!
- Part one: Introduction to the Becoming YOU Series
- Part two: Building Good Health Habits
- Part three: Building Good Financial Habits
- Part four: (this one!) How to have Healthy Relationships
- Part five: (coming soon!) Building Character in your Twenties
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