Friends and intimate relationships bring more happiness into our lives than virtually anything else. Yet friends and romantic partners can be challenging, confusing and sometimes down right frustrating. Sometimes we wonder why bother?
Good friends and romantic partners help relieve feelings of stress, provide comfort, bring us joy, prevent loneliness and isolation, and even strengthen our mental health. Developing close friendships can also have a powerful impact on our physical health. Lack of social connection can be as damaging as smoking, drinking too much, or leading a sedentary lifestyle. Friends are even tied to longevity.
Whatever your age or circumstances it’s never too late to make new friends, reconnect with old ones, and improve your social life, emotional health, and overall well-being. Close friendships don’t just happen. They take putting time and effort into these relationships, sharing hopes and dreams together, learning about each other, being loyal and trustworthy, and showing appreciation and gratitude.
Romantic relationships come with their own set of unique responsibilities. Some people “opt out” of a committed relationship when the relationships start to feel too familiar, or loses some of the excitement of the early months, or when they find a deeper attachment with someone else. You and your partner can avoid some of these pitfalls by learning to communicate better, educate yourselves about ways relationships change over time, and taking steps to cherish your relationship, not sabotage it.
The articles in this series will help you expand your social network, form healthy, trusting friendships, and educate you in ways to keep your long-term relationships strong and enduring, despite their inevitable ups and downs. Use the content in this section to learn ways to keep you love alive and conflicts to a minimum
Changing how you are your partner interact
Empathy: Your anti-conflict tool
Four ways to strengthen friendship
Staying true to your true love
Three tips that build meaningful relationships
What makes a committed relationship work?
Abuse and violence are NEVER acceptable and NEVER excusable
About Domestic Violence and Abuse
Are you a victim of abuse? Find help across Canada
The different types of abuse
Why do adults stay in abusive relationships?
For more information about friendships and relationships the following resources may be helpful.
- The Benefits of Friendship — Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association
- Friendships: Enrich your life and improve your health -- Mayo Clinic
- Friends Wanted: The health risks of loneliness and the benefits of strong social connections — American Psychological Association
- Friends and co-workers: Research offers insights into how to juggle your personal and professional relationships in research settings — American Psychological Association
- Intimacy: The Art of Relationships -- Psychology Today