Improving Emotional Health: How to Build Healthy Relationships With People

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3 Nov 2018 - General

Healthy relationships with other people are extremely important for your emotional well-being. Even for the most introverted people who are generally happy with their own company, relationships with others can sometimes offer important new ways of thinking about problems, prevent a sense of isolation, and also offer practical help in some situations. Equally, there are also some relationships, such as with family or coworkers, that exist whether we look for them or not, and these can have a profound impact on your emotional state and wellbeing, whether positive or negative.

Here, we look at how to build healthy, rewarding relationships across different spheres of your life:


Family Relationships

Nobody chooses their family, as the old saying goes, and family relationships can be among the most complex as there are so many differences in play. Families involve people of different generations, often with different values, and also a complete unbalance in terms of what everybody’s ‘status’ is in the relationship. A parent-child relationship is different from a sibling one, and then, of course, the various dynamics can cause people to feel less or more valued than they do among their peers, due to family competition, judgment or hierarchy.

When it comes to family relationships, the key is to accept that these differences exist and that while there is usually love there, it is unhealthy to pin too much weight to the expectations of people who don’t necessarily understand your life. This goes both ways. You should also consider that while you may not approve of a decision or life choice made by a family member, you are not automatically granted the right to comment negatively just because you are related. Respect the people in your family and expect the same from them, but always acknowledge that you won’t always be on the same page.



Friendships come in many different forms, from lifelong friends to people you hang out with sometimes. All of these positive relationships are good for your wellbeing, but remember that friendships are always out of mutual choice. You can cut someone out of your life if they begin to have a toxic influence, but you should also be asking yourself whether you are bringing as much to the relationship with a friend as they are. Always try and find a balance rather than always being the helper, or the one asking for help. Make sure there is always some fun and enjoyment in your friendships, and it is not always you relying on each other for support.


Romantic Relationships

Romantic relationships, for those who choose to pursue them, can be the most significant. Like friendships, they are with people you choose, but as a family, they are people whose lives can end up becoming very much interwoven with your own as things get more serious. Understanding the stage you are at in your relationship is very important, and here you can find some science-based ways to improve your romantic relationship. Good communication, mutual respect, and understanding each other’s values and plans are very important, as is keeping the attraction that makes the relationship something more than friendship alive.


Professional Relationships

When it comes to work, you may need to find ways to get along with people that you otherwise wouldn’t choose as friends, or, conversely, maintain a professional distance with people you’d like to open up to more if you met them outside of work. Having a good model in your mind of what you want your professional relationships to be like is important here. You want to work with these people toward shared goals, reach mutually satisfying agreements, and be able to trust each other. If you can do all of these things, then personality clashes shouldn’t really affect your ability to function as coworkers or associates.

Every type of relationship needs to be handled differently, but knowing what you see as a healthy relationship in each sphere actually is a good place to start.