Relationships are a great buffer against stress but they can also be a stressor.

The first steps in developing healthy relationships are:

  • Developing awareness of, and honesty with, self and others
  • Developing and maintaining meaningful relationships with healthy boundaries
  • Learning to navigate unpleasant interpersonal experiences


There are two main types of relationships

  • Relationship with self  helps you understand your own needs and wants and get them met.  It also helps you understand how your perceptions and self-talk influence how you react to situations.
  • Relationships with others help you understand their points of view.  It is important to recognize that, just as you have an impact on others, they also have an impact on you.  For example, if they are generally optimistic people, a little of their optimism may rub off on you.

Before you can be honest with and effectively interact with others in a way that meets your needs, you need to know how the situation and prior experiences are impacting you, and that you can trust yourself to accurately identify your needs and respond.  This starts with mindfulness. Mindfulness is a combination of honesty and awareness of  1) what is going on in the current situation, 2) what your needs, feelings, triggers and vulnerabilities are, 3) what the other person's needs, feelings. triggers and vulnerabilities are.

For example, if I say something to my daughter and she gets snippy with me, before I read her the riot act, I take a moment to think about how I said it and if she may have perceived it as harsh,  whether she is vulnerable for some reason such as not getting enough sleep or being ill, or whether I misinterpreted her response (for example I may have startled her)


Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills

  • Practice the pause.  Think before you speak and listen while the other person is talking.
  • Address one thing at a time
  • Truly listen to what the other person is saying
  • Observe the other person’s verbal and nonverbal reactions.
  • Try to take their perspective or theorize why they might be reacting this way
  • Paraphrase what the other person said paying attention to your verbal and nonverbal reactions.


Establishing Trust

  • Be honest
  • Avoid gossip
  • Keep your promises
  • Be loyal
  • Be respectful
  • Don’t take advantage
  • Apologize when you make a mistake



  • Boundaries are dividers between you and others
  • If someone is mad at you, you don’t have to feel guilty.
  • If someone doesn’t like you, it doesn’t mean you are unlikeable.
  • If someone asks you to do something, you don’t have to say yes.
  • Just because someone thinks you should do something doesn’t mean it is the right choice for you
  • Just because someone is unhappy doesn’t mean you have to be.
  • If you have a different opinion, it doesn’t mean mine is wrong.


Interpersonal Bill of Rights
I have the right to
~ My feelings
~ My reactions as long as they don’t hurt others verbally or physically
~ My opinions and thoughts even if they don’t agree with yours
~ Be heard and respected
~ Say yes or no to requests
~ Limit contact if a relationship feels destructive
~ Have other friends and interests

You have the right to
~ Your feelings
~ Your reactions as long as they don’t hurt me verbally or physically
~ Your opinions and thoughts even if they don’t agree with mine
~ Be heard and respected
~ Say yes or no to requests
~ Limit contact if a relationship feels destructive
~ Have other friends and interests


Nurturing Relationships

  • Learn about the other person’s temperament
  • Identify each other's Love Language (be aware of extremes)
  • Learn about each other;s interests
  • Compromise
  • Communicate in a meaningful way


Learn more about relationships and interpersonal effectiveness