The core characteristic of a healthy relationship is positivity. Healthy relationships, whether between friends, family or romantic partners, are key to your emotional well-being.
You may not realize it, but relationships provide you with a sense of purpose and meaning that fuel your motivations and pursuits. They also offer support that buffers against the negative effects of stress. Think of all the times when your family, friends or partner have sparked a light in your life.
The quality of these relationships influenced just how bright that light shone because a healthy relationship is mutually caring. When your friend offered support during a rough period, not only did they respond in a way that made you feel understood and cared for, but you were open to receiving support from them.
Understanding the key characteristics of a healthy relationship is essential to building your own or an understanding of when a relationship may be toxic and harmful to your emotional health.
Qualities of a Healthy Relationship
The key qualities of a healthy relationship include several factors that serve as a foundation for every relationship. Understand what each one means and why it is important to the health of your relationship, but also your emotional well-being.
Essential qualities in a relationship include:
1. Trust and Support
In its most basic form, trust and support focus on being there for your family, friends and partner. The larger, more important parts of trust and support are honesty and respect.
An essential quality of a healthy relationship is allowing each party to have their own opinions, interests, hobbies and circle of friends. Support your friend’s interests, but do not abandon your own.
When you abandon your interests, hobbies and friends for someone else’s, that is not a healthy relationship. You are not respecting your interests or being honest with yourself.
Losing that individuality and respect can make you feel like you’re driving in the dark without headlights, which is why it is essential to have trust and support for yourself and your relationships.
Honesty is a key characteristic of a healthy relationship because it promotes open communication and insight into your behavior and the actions of your friend, family member or partner.
Open the closet of your past and go through the dirty laundry. Admit to friends when you have been in the wrong or claim responsibility for your decisions to rebuild or continue a healthy relationship.
Share your emotions and feelings to convey and describe your point of view or reasoning. Without communication and honesty, it is a struggle to build a mutually-beneficial, healthy relationship.
Compromise is often a challenging cornerstone in relationships. It demands honesty, as well as trust and support to create an agreement that satisfies both parties.
Friendly, honest communication is essential. Compromises arranged with passive-aggressive tactics, threatening behavior or physically aggressive actions all suffocate healthy relationships and are often a sign that the relationship was already unhealthy.
A successful, healthy compromise also relies on parties that are receptive to the discussion and agreement — another sign of a healthy relationship.
4. Shared Responsibility
Shared responsibility is an important quality in a relationship where the involved parties, such as a couple or a family, live together.
It is important for a healthy relationship that you share responsibilities, whether through agreed compromises or honest discussions about chores, bills, parenting or other responsibilities.
When you are the only one responsible for everything around a home, it can make you frustrated and discontent, as well as diminish the light that is the trust and support you have for yourself.
Shared responsibility also means that you share responsibility for problems within the relationship rather than placing the blame all on one person.
5. Respect and Non-Threatening Behavior
Respect is similar to trust and support. You are valuing your friend’s opinion and hearing them out. While you may disagree with their opinion, remember that respect does not mean you have to agree with their viewpoint but that you have to make an effort to understand it and be mindful of where they are coming from.
It is important to give respect because without it, a person will feel devalued and ignored. When a friend, partner or family member interrupts, name calls, or creates an environment that feels unsafe, it makes you feel as if your opinion or feelings are not respected and that you are not safe to share how you feel with them without being ridiculed.
6. Good Communication Skills
Characteristics of healthy relationships revolve around good communication skills — respect, honesty, compromise, etc. all rely on good communication at their core. Communication is the foundation of every healthy relationship.
You know you cannot read your partner or friend’s mind, so understand they cannot read yours, either. Speak with honesty and transparency in conversations about your feelings and emotions. Effective communication encourages and leads to honest discussions and mutual respect.
Focus on these key qualities of a healthy relationship as you meet, talk and spend time with friends, family or your partner. Build and improve on them to strengthen your relationships and better your emotional well-being.