Realationships 101 Blog

REALationships 101: What You Should Know


What Are The Healthy REALationship Amendments?

REALationships respect personal space.
REALationships communicate consent.
REALationships deserve respect.
REALationships respect limits.

Visit our Healthy Relationships 101 page to learn more about our campaign + take a short quiz to find out your REALationship IQ.

Visit our Healthy Relationships 101 page to learn more about our campaign + take a short quiz to find out your REALationship IQ.

What Are The Core Building Blocks of Healthy REALationships?

At the root of healthy relationships is an unwavering, ardent commitment to equality, however, there are other building blocks that are key to consider when engaging in a relationship of any form with another individual.

We’ve identified four significant and vital attributes for healthy relationships:

  • Respect (/rəˈspekt/): Understand and embrace the core differences in others. Allow others the freedom to be who they are without placing judgment, displaying hostility, or exhibiting any other behavior that could dehumanize them or minimize their live experiences.
  • Trust (\ˈtrəst\): Assure your friends, family, and partners that they can rely on your character, strength, ability, and truth to be consistent and earnest by following through with commitments, fulfilling your promises, and being completely honest with them at all costs.
  • Open Communication (\ˈō-pən • \kə-ˌmyü-nə-ˈkā-shən\): Make you needs and sensibilities clear and listen to the sentiments of those you love. Refrain from passing judgment on those you connect with and resorting to blaming or shaming language.
  • Honesty (\ˈä-nə-stē\): Try not to greet your acquaintances and loved ones with your “representative” and be 100% authentic and forthcoming about your truths. Those that truly love and support you will embrace the real you regardless of your differences.

10 Tips for Millennial Healthy Relationships:

Healthy relationships have been shown to increase our happiness, improve health and reduce stress. Studies show that people with healthy relationships have more happiness and less stress. There are basic ways to make relationships healthy, even though each relationship is different. These tips apply to all kinds of relationships: friendships, work and family relationships, and romantic partnerships.

1.   Keep expectations realistic. No one can be everything we might want them to be. Healthy relationships mean accepting people as they are and not trying to change them.

2.   Talk with each other. It can’t be said enough: communication is essential to healthy relationships.

  •  Take Time. Really be there.
  • Genuinely Listen.
  • Do not interrupt or plan what you’re going to say next. Try to fully understand their perspective.
  • Ask questions. Show you are interest. Ask about their experiences, feelings, opinions, and interests.
  • Share information. Studies show that sharing information helps relationships begin. Let people know who you are, but don’t overwhelm with too much personal information too soon.

3.   Be flexible. It is natural to feel uneasy about changes. Healthy relationships allow for change and  growth.

4.   Take care of yourself, too. Healthy relationships are mutual, with room for both people’s needs.

5.   Be dependable. If you make plans with someone, follow through. If you take on a responsibility, complete it. Healthy relationships are trustworthy.

6.   Fight fair. Most relationships have some conflict. It only means you disagree about something; it does not have to mean you don’t like each other.

  •  Cool down before talking. The conversation will be more productive if you have it when your emotions have cooled off a little, so you don’t say something you may regret later.
  • Use “I statements.”  Share how you feel and what you want without assigning blame or motives. E.g. “When you don’t call me, I start to feel like you don’t care about me” vs. “You never call me when you’re away.  I guess I’m the only one who cares about this relationship.”
  • Keep your language clear and specific.  Try to factually describe behavior that you are upset with, avoiding criticism and judgment.  Attack the problem, not the person.
  • Focus on the current issue.  The conversation is likely to get bogged down if you pile on everything that bothers you.  Avoid using “always” and “never” language and address one issue at a time.
  • Take responsibility for mistakes.  Apologize if you have done something wrong; it goes a long way toward setting things right again.
  • Recognize some problems are not easily solved.  Not all differences or difficulties can be resolved.  You are different people, and your values, beliefs, habits, and personality may not always be in alignment.  Communication goes a long way toward helping you understand each other and address concerns, but some things are deeply rooted and may not change significantly.  It is important to figure out for yourself what you can accept, or when a relationship is no longer healthy for you.

7.   Be affirming.  According to relationship researcher John Gottman, happy couples have a ratio of 5 positive interactions or feelings for every 1 negative interaction or feeling.  Express warmth and affection!

8.   Keep your life balanced. Other people help make our lives satisfying but they cannot meet every need. Find what interests you and become involved. Healthy relationships have room for outside activities.

9.   It’s a process. It might look like everyone on campus is confident and connected, but most people share concerns about fitting in and getting along with others. It takes time to meet people and get to know them.  Healthy relationships can be learned and practiced, and keep getting better.

10.   Be yourself! It’s much easier and more fun to be authentic than to pretend to be something or someone else. Healthy relationships are made of real people.

*Adapted from Kansas State University (2006) and the Peer Advocates of Sexual Respect at Amherst College (2007) (via) Amherst College. (n.d.) 10 Tips for Healthy Relationships. Retrieved via Student Life > Health Wellness & Safety > Counseling Center > Self Care & Stress Reduction

REALationships 101 Blog Series


Can We Just Get Past the Buddy System Already?

By Olivia London, Former Primary Prevention and Specialized Advocacy Coordinator

I wanted to go to a Beyoncé concert and I didn’t. Why? I didn’t have a buddy. And all of a sudden there was that just-below-the-surface anxiety that by going into a crowded concert stadium alone I would get kidnapped, dragged into a bathroom, raped, trafficked, lost forever, murdered, or some combination. Where does that anxiety come from? Many of us have heard all our lives to stick with a friend for safety and definitely never go out alone at night. It’s the best/only way to stay safe, right?! And if you’re anything like me, then you also love going places alone and are tired of worried voices telling you that it’s a bad idea. […] | Read More »

Guiding Questions:

What are your thoughts on how to make our communities safer for everyone? What do you want to see at events and social spaces to feel confident going out alone?

Caucasian female with long dark hair wearing a dark jacket looks intently at her mobile phone

4 Times It’s Okay To Ghost Someone

By Nyomi Guzman, Former Prevention and Inclusion Specialist

It’s likely that you’ve been told ghosting someone is a bad thing to do, and that it says something about your character if you stop responding to someone. But what about when you need to not talk to someone for your own safety or well-being? Contrary to popular belief, there are times when it is okay to [….] | Read More »

Guiding Questions:

Have you ever ghosted or been ghosted by someone in your life? What are your thoughts on ways to effectively end toxic relationships?