Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day, this month is a great time to develop healthy relationships. The relationships in our lives — friends, dating partners, family, KD sisters or co-workers — can have a huge impact on our happiness and well-being. It is important to invest in positive, healthy relationships that build our confidence and inspire us to action.
Open, honest communication should be part of every healthy relationship. This month, focus on strengthening and prioritizing the relationships in your life and offer support to those who may be in unhealthy relationships. Consider these tips from loveisrespect.org to develop healthy communication skills.
- Find the Right Time. If something is bothering you and you would like to have a conversation about it, it can be helpful to find the right time to talk. Try to find a time when both you and your partner are calm and not distracted, stressed or in a rush.
- Talk Face to Face. Avoid talking about serious matters or issues in writing. Text messages, letters and emails can be misinterpreted. Talk in person so there aren’t any unnecessary miscommunications. If you’re having trouble collecting your thoughts, consider writing them down ahead of time and reading them out loud to your partner.
- Do Not Attack. Even when we mean well, we can sometimes come across as harsh because of our word choice. Using “you” can sound like you’re attacking, which will make your partner defensive and less receptive to your message. Instead, try using “I” or “we.” For example, say “I feel like we haven’t been as close lately” instead of “You have been distant with me.”
- Be Honest. Agree to be honest. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it’s the key to a healthy relationship. Admit that you aren’t always perfect and apologize when you make a mistake. You will feel better and it will help strengthen your relationship.
- Check Your Body Language. Let your partner know you’re really listening by giving them your full attention: sit up, face them and make eye contact when speaking. Don’t take a phone call, text or scroll through social media. Show your partner you respect them by listening and responding.
- Use the 48 Hour Rule. If your partner does something that makes you angry, you need to tell them about it. But you don’t have to do so right away. If you’re still hurt 48 hours later, say something. If not, consider forgetting about it. But remember your partner can’t read your mind. If you don’t speak up when you’re upset, there is no way for them to apologize or change.
We become our best selves through community with others. Focus this month on loving those around you and identifying the relationships that best serve you. Visit www.Loveisrespect.org for additional resources on healthy relationships and dating violence.