Skip Navigation

Main sections

Skip section navigation (navigation may have changed)

Section navigation

girlshealth.gov logo

http://www.girlshealth.gov/

Healthy relationships

Two girls smiling and embracing.

What makes a relationship healthy?

Healthy relationships are fun and make you feel good about yourself. You can have a healthy relationship with anyone in your life — family, friends, and the people you date. Relationships take time and care to make them healthy. The relationships you have as a teen are a special part of your life and will teach you good lessons about who you are.

Communication and sharing

The most important part of any healthy relationship is communication. Communication means that you are able to share things about yourself and your feelings. It also means that you listen to what the other person shares. This can happen by talking, emailing, writing, texting, or even using body language. When you are talking to someone, look him or her in the eye to show you are listening.

When you have healthy communication, everyone feels calm. You can share your feelings with the other person. You know that he or she will be there to listen, support you, and keep personal things that you share private. The other person will feel safe with you, too. In healthy relationships, people do not tell lies.

top green border

A girl texting and not listening while her friend talks to her.

Girl listening while her friend speaks to her.

bottom green border

Respect and trust

Fights can still happen in healthy relationships. In healthy relationships, though, people stay calm and talk about how they feel. Talking calmly helps you see the real reason you are not getting along. This makes it easier to figure out how to fix the problem. In healthy relationships, working through problems often makes the relationship stronger. People feel good about one another when they work through tough times rather than give up too easily.

Self-esteem

Feeling good about yourself — having good self-esteem — and knowing that you deserve a healthy relationship is also very important. Learn more about self-esteem and feeling good about yourself!

Negotiation and compromise

In a healthy relationship, negotiation and compromise are always present. Negotiation means talking until you agree with each other. Compromise means each person gives up a little bit of what they want until both persons can agree. For example, say Jane wants to go to a movie, but Kara already saw the movie Jane wants to see. Jane and Kara can negotiate and compromise until they find something they both want to do. This way, it’s a ‘win-win’ situation and everyone is happy.

There may be some issues which are non-negotiable within your family. Non-negotiable means they are rules that will not change. These rules are likely in place to keep you safe. (Some of these items may be no underage drinking or no missing curfew, for example.)

Be assertive, not aggressive

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, but remember to respect your partner. Being assertive means asking for what you want clearly and respectfully, without threats, intimidation, or physical force. Assertive communication means respecting the rights of others, as well as your own rights.

How do I know that I have a healthy relationship with someone?

  • You feel good about yourself when you are with that person.
  • You think that both people work hard to treat the other person well.
  • You feel safe around the other person.
  • You like being with the other person.
  • You feel that you can trust him or her with your secrets.

 

Content last reviewed September 22, 2009
Page last updated October 31, 2013

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

top