Building Healthy And Sustainable Relationships Among The Youth - A How To Guide
A big part of the growing up process, that is transitioning from adolescence into adulthood is relationships, be it platonic or romantic either way it can be fun, enlightening as well and full of awkward moments and unpleasantries.
Relationships are a part of life, as humans tend to want to interact, share, give, receive and a whole lot more during their lifetime. Hence, the need for a balance and know-how regarding such matters.
The African youth is not left out of these, as they too, build, break and more often than not maintain these relationships.
Healthy relationships can be categorised into two main kinds which are: Platonic and Romantic relationships. We'll take a look at both.
Are relationships among friends, family, co-workers, peers, amongst others, this is basically a friendship among persons or people with no romance attached, it is mostly beneficial and symbiotic.
How do you maintain, build and sustain healthy Platonic Relationships?
Support One Another When Necessary - You should be willing to listen, be there and offer some form of comfort when necessary, especially when the other is in distress, or going through emotional or physical trauma. Generally, you should be present in their times of need in whatever capacity you can.
Communication skills - You should be able and willing to communicate freely in the presence of your friends and resolve conflicts as quickly as possible. There should be respect for individual opinions, interests and hobbies, pick an interest in each other's individuality and give space when due.
Genuine Care - There should be love and heartfelt care towards the other person, as there is no friendship without love. Boundaries should be set and respected though.
When your friends gravitate away from the above amongst others, you should disassociate yourself from such friend or group of friends, as your interests do not align with there's.
A Note On Platonic Relationships
As you transition from adolescence, young adult relationships will be a part of your life, hence building healthy ones is essential, as you explore this helps give you an identity, self-esteem and confidence. Build the right ones devoid of toxicity, body shaming, wrong influence and undue peer pressure. As you go along this journey of friendship you will encounter persons with all kinds of attitudes, behaviours and patterns of reasoning, it is important you learn to discern what you want and the kinds of persons you should associate with.
Are relationships between two individuals of opposite gender, who come together with the intent of professing love to one another, usually characterised by a love affair, intimacy and romance.
How do you maintain, build and sustain healthy Romantic Relationships?
Mutual Respect Should Be Maintained - respect for each other's space, privacy and interests should be maintained at all times, and disagreements are to be ironed out duly without the use of hurtful words or being physical. Set boundaries are to be respected.
Shared Responsibility - Decisions are to be taken together as a couple, responsibilities shared, mutual interests discussed and compromises reached as necessary. You should work as a team.
Trust and Honesty Should Be The Order Of The Day - You should be able to share opinions, express yourself without fear of condemnation and ridicule, have important and tricky conversations and have privacy respected.
If your partner faults the above and is not willing to share or compromise, it is a red flag that should be carefully considered and changes made as soon as possible.
A Note On Romantic Relationship
Developing healthy romantic relationships in the early stages of life can be a precursor to more healthy relationships in adulthood, as these in most cases translate into moulding a well-rounded adult who is able to adjust emotionally, has built social skills, learnt a lot from previous experiences and is ready for what lies ahead. These help with life, family, work and every other environment you find yourself in.
Relationship between parent and child is equally very important, in fact, it is the first and most important aspect of the relationship pyramid as it sets the foundation for a lot of a child's emotional and behavioural responses to situations. As a child grows older he/she seek independence and more freedom from their families, they make decisions and take action on their own and with more freedom comes the associated risks. Here's where parents come in, as the first point of contact and relationship. They are to help these young adults navigate this seemingly difficult period of their life and make them understand that conflicts, mistakes and challenges are normal, helping them understand you are approachable and willing to discuss without fear of judgement, self-gloating or condemnation.
It is important to keep in mind that the friendships and romantic relationships that young adults experience is a normal part of development and contribute to setting the foundations for future interactions and building essential social skills you'll need. A way you can help make healthier relationship choices is by engaging in open dialogue with others about their relationship expectations and what they value or want in them.