Healthy relationships are about:
MUTUAL RESPECT » Value and cherish each other’s friendship and consider each other’s feelings. Be respectful of the other’s views and choices – only ask the other person to do things that they believe in and feel comfortable doing.
HONESTY » Be sincere and mean what you say to each other.
TRUST » You can rely on each other and know you will not share each other’s private information or say anything that would embarrass each other. Note: The exception to this would be if you are worried about your friend’s safety and well-being and as a result, talked to a safe adult about those concerns.
KINDNESS » Be generous and care about how one another feels. Help each other out.
LISTENING » Actively listen to each other. Try to understand the way each other feels and be thoughtful not to hurt each other’s feelings.
PATIENCE » Have patience with each other and understand that nobody is perfect and everybody makes mistakes (keep in mind that people should learn from their mistakes, and try to avoid making the same mistake repeatedly).
LOYALTY » Stick up for each other.
DEPENDABILITY » Be there for each other when you say you will be, and keep plans with each other.
ENJOYMENT » Enjoy spending time together and have some similar interests (i.e. activities, music, books, jokes, etc.).
INTIMACY » Share your experiences, feelings and thoughts with each other.
Unhealthy relationships are about:
MANIPULATION » In order to get what they want, the person may: use threats (i.e. to hurt their partner, to break up with them, to hurt themselves or commit suicide); bribe the other person with money, gifts, clothes, food, alcohol or drugs; use pity and guilt by doing things like telling their partner they do not like themselves and have no one else but them. The other person feels sorry for them and wants to “help” them.
INTIMIDATION » Scaring the other person through gestures (a mean look, making a fist), actions (destroying property, punching holes in walls) or the use of weapons.
ISOLATION » Telling the other person who they can talk to or look at, who their friends should be and where they can go.
LYING AND MINIMIZING » Not telling the truth, saying things didn’t happen when they did, doing things behind the other person’s back and not taking their concerns seriously. Making excuses for their behaviour and acting as though nothing they do is a “big deal.”
A LACK OF ACCEPTANCE » Rejecting the other person for who they are, putting them down and ignoring them.
ASSAULT AND ABUSE » This includes sexual assault, physical assault and emotional abuse. Sexual assault involves forcing sexual touching, making threats to get sex, getting the other person drunk or using drugs to get sex. Physical assault includes hurting the other person physically (i.e. biting, hitting, pushing, slapping, kicking, punching, or pinching). Emotional abuse involves using put-downs, sarcasm, humiliation or embarrassment and raising your voice towards the other person. It also includes being highly critical of the other person and those who care about the person.
PERSISTENCE » Pressuring the other person to do something they want. They will not take “No” for an answer.
UNPREDICTABLE BEHAVIOUR » Acting very supportive and caring, then the next minute being angry and yelling at the other person. The other person never knows what kind of mood that their partner will be in and what to expect from their behaviour.
“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.”
— Ben Okri