Defining healthy relationships

Healthy relationships share certain characteristics that everyone should expect, and both people should follow. 

Healthy characteristics

  • Mutual respect. Valuing who the other person is and understanding each other’s boundaries.
  • Trust. Feeling confident that both people can rely on the other to be honest and have each other's back.
  • Honesty. Being truthful to help build trust and strengthen relationships.
  • Compromise. Acknowledging different points of view. Both people and are willing to give and take and neither person always gets their way
  • Individuality. Neither person compromises who they are, or bases their identity on the other person.  Both people continue seeing their friends and doing the things they love. Both are supportive of each other pursuing new things and making new friends.
  • Good communication. Speaking honestly and openly. If one person needs to sort out their feelings first, the other person respects that.
  • Anger control. Dealing with anger by cooling off instead of lashing out— take deep breaths, count to ten, or take a walk.  Once calm, both people talk about it together. 
  • Fighting fair. Coming up with possible solutions by sticking to the subject and avoiding insults. Both people can take a short break from each other if the discussion gets too heated.
  • Problem solving. Working together to identify new solutions by breaking a problem into small parts. Talking through the situation and taking it one step at a time.
  • Understanding. Taking time to recognize what the other person might be feeling.
  • Self-confidence. Having confidence in yourself can help your relationships with others. It allows you to be calm and comfortable enough to allow others to express their opinions freely.
  • Being a role model. Embodying what respect means to inspire each other, friends, and family to behave in a respectful way.
  • Ensuring a healthy sexual relationship. If you and your partner decide to engage in any kind of sexual activity, be sure it is something you are both comfortable with. Neither of you should feel pressured or forced to engage in any activity outside your comfort zone— or without consent.

(Adapted from Youth.gov)

Additional resources

With these healthy characteristics in mind, learn how to recognize the signs of unhealthy relationships.

If you’re not sure whether your relationship is healthy, you can take this healthy relationship quiz. Find more tools on our healthy relationships resources page.

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