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Characteristics of a Healthy and Enjoyable Friendship or Dating Relationship

Honesty & Trust
Giving real compliments
Discussing problems
Using “I” messages to share feelings
Asking for what we want, not expecting they owe it to us
Admitting mistakes
Asking (not accusing) each other about rumors

Emotional Respect
Disagreeing without put-downs or threats
Respecting their right to be safe and to control their own body and decisions
Trying to understand their feelings, even if we disagree with their ideas
Caring to find out their point-of-view

Asking what they think and how they feel
Empathizing by putting ourselves in their shoes; guessing what they feel
Saying what we think we heard to check for understanding
Asking what is important to them

Freedom & Encouragement
We have the right to our own, and support each other’s rights to have, opinions, feelings, space, activities, friends, and dreams
Expressing fears, instead of claiming ownership, when jealous
Either person can decide to breakup

Sharing Activities
Hanging out together sometimes
Doing things each person enjoys
Encouraging each other’s enjoyment and success
Learning from each other

Helping each other (while respecting our own limits)
Giving gifts sincerely, not to get something back; the thought, not the $ counts
Showing our care through consistent respect (not abuse followed by apologies)

Mutual Affection
Telling things that we like and appreciate about each other
Each decides if, how, and when we want to be to touched; checking to insure affection is mutual
Respecting each other’s values, property, bodies, pace, & limits; stopping if one says, “No”

Shared Decision-making
Deciding things together, not ordering
Negotiating differences
Splitting costs fairly
Searching for win-win solutions
Whoever pays, no one owes anyone kisses, touching, or anything else

Content provided with permission from Liz Claiborne, Inc.


For more information or to discuss relationship concerns please contact Partners Employee Assistance Program at 1-866-724-4EAP

In case of emergency, please call 911 or your local hospital emergency service.

This content was last modified on: 09/28/2010

Partners EAP serves employees, and their household members, of Partners HealthCare and related entities.
Partners EAP is not a service for the general public.
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