I’ll show kindness & respect in my relationships.

I’ll expect kindness & respect from others.

I’ll know where to get help if my or my friends’ relationships are unhealthy.

Healthy relationships are an essential part of living happier, more fulfilling lives and building strong families and communities! We encourage you to not only strive for healthy relationships in your own life, but also to support and promote healthy relationships among your friends and family members, as well as throughout your community. Make the choice to commit to healthy relationships by agreeing to the Healthy Relationships Pledge!

  1. I’ll show kindness & respect in my relationships.

Kindness and respect are essential elements in healthy relationships. They foster trust, compassion, and love, leading to stronger, more fulfilling connections.

Kindness is a key factor in creating stability and satisfaction within relationships, as it leads to partners feeling understood, validated, cared for, and loved. It involves maintaining a spirit of generosity within your relationship and readily showing affection, care, and concern for your partner. Showing kindness means meeting your partners need and desire for love and connection even when you are feeling stressed or tired. It is so easy to shrug off these small moments in your relationship by passively responding to your partner’s requests for connection; however, when you make the decision to show kindness during these moments, it can make a world of difference. Another important part of showing kindness in your relationships is by celebrating your partner’s successes with genuine joy and admiration. When you express happiness and pride for your partner’s accomplishments, you send the message that they are valued and loved.

Kindness is not always easy, especially during periods of conflict. Healthy relationships require hard work, and it takes patience and practice to choose to treat your partner with kindness. In healthy relationships, partner’s show kindness even when they are angry by expressing their frustrations and emotions without attacking or criticising one another.

Healthy relationships are built on mutual respect. In respectful relationships, partners can  communicate openly and honestly, maintain healthy boundaries, compromise effectively, and feel comfortable to be themselves. Healthy relationships also involve showing respect during disagreements by valuing one another’s opinions even if you do not agree with them. You can show respect in your relationship by trusting and supporting your partner, as well as valuing their freedom and independence within the relationship.

Here are some things to keep in mind when thinking about how you can show kindness and respect in your relationships:

  • Listen to what your partner has to say.
  • Communicate openly and honestly.
  • Value your partner’s needs and emotions.
  • Support your partner’s passions and interests.
  • Honor your partner’s boundaries.
  • Use kind words.
  • Build your partner up.
  • Give your partner space to be themselves.
  • Value your partner’s independence.
  1. I’ll expect kindness & respect from others.

We’ve talked a lot about what you can do to show kindness and respect in your relationships, but it’s important to remember that you also deserve to receive respect and kindness from others! A critical part of having healthy relationships is expecting your partner to treat you with kindness, compassion, love, and respect. You are worthy of love and happiness and deserve to feel valued and cared for in your relationships.

Your partner should speak to you with words that show kindness and compassion. They should celebrate your individuality and give you freedom and space to be independent. You deserve to be heard and validated when you express your needs and emotions, and your hobbies and interests should be valued and appreciated.

A vital part of expecting kindness and respect from others is knowing your worth, practicing self-love, and having self-compassion. Be kind to yourself and know that you deserve respect regardless of your imperfections. When we respect and accept ourselves for who we are, we can more easily expect the same thing from others.

  1. I’ll know where to get help if my or my friends’ relationships are unhealthy.

A critical aspect of promoting healthy relationships in our own lives and in the lives of our loved ones is to know where to seek help in the case of unhealthy and/or potentially abusive relationships.

It’s normal to hit a rocky patch in relationships, where it may feel harder to communicate effectively or you and your partner feel disconnected. In these cases, it can be helpful to engage in individual and/or couples counseling with a professional counselor. For college students at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, two great options that provide both individual and couples counseling are The UNCG Counseling Center and The Nicholas A. Vacc Counseling and Consulting Clinic, which is also open to community members. There are many other wonderful options for counseling throughout the community. A great way to locate a counselor is to use one of the following directories:

Though relationship struggles are normal, it is NEVER okay to experience harm or feel unsafe in your relationships. If you or someone you know feels unsafe and is experiencing emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, or verbal abuse in a relationship, it is important to seek help safely. A crucial part of being prepared for the potential of an unhealthy and/or abusive relationship, is to know the warning signs and be educated about helpful resources and services within your community.

We encourage you to become familiar with the warning signs of unhealthy, abusive relationships listed below:

  • Extreme jealousy
  • Manipulation:
    • Using gifts and apologies to seek forgiveness after abusive actions.
    • Using guilt trips to influence actions or decisions.
  • Isolation from friends and family.
  • Public humiliation
  • Keeping someone from succeeding in work, school, or practice.
  • Threatening to share private and/or embarrassing information.
  • Name calling
  • Body shaming
  • Extreme emotions, such as outbursts of anger.
  • Physical violence towards others or property.

These are only some of the potential warning signs. It is important to continue to educate yourself about the risks and signs of relationship abuse. Here are some helpful resources to check out:

It is important to know where to get help if you or someone you know is in an unhealthy and/or abusive relationship. Here is a list of national and local resources that support and assist individuals experiencing relationship abuse:

Keep in mind that it is not uncommon for individuals in abusive relationships to resist help or be reluctant to leave the relationship due to a myriad of reasons. The best thing you can do to help someone in this situation is to support them with whatever they need, regardless of whether or not you think it is what is best for them.

We hope that this information will help you feel more prepared to seek help in your own relationships or support a friend experiencing an unhealthy relationship!