Healthy relationships and how to cultivate them

Rita Li: Hi, my name is Rita Li. In this podcast, I will be discussing with freshman June Dalton, sophomore Rishi Bhargava and junior Solvej Eversoll about dealing with and establishing a healthy relationship between family, friends, and romance.

June Dalton: Hi, I’m June Dalton. I use she/they pronouns, and I’m in ninth grade.

Rishi Bhargava: My name is Rishi. I’m a sophomore. I use he him pronouns.

Solvej Eversoll: My name is Solvej Eversoll. I’m a junior and I use she/her pronouns.

Li: What is something that you value the most in a relationship?

Dalton: I value being able to feel comfortable and like sharing anything with, like a really close friend, lover, or just someone who knows me really well. I want to be able to feel as though like if I were to say something, or like say my boundaries, they wouldn’t get upset about it, and like they understand that we could talk through stuff.

Bhargava: I think qualities I look for in people are honesty, loyalty, and kindness.

Eversoll: I feel like respect is the most important thing in relationships, like relationships across the board, that you’re willing to listen to another person. And I think, yeah, that’s really important. And being able to like disagree, like understand your differences or disagree, but still be kind to one another and not let that get in the way of your relationship.

Li: How do you balance relationships between friends, family, and a romantic partner? How might you approach each relationship differently?

Bhargava: I feel like my friends and my family get along pretty well. So if I ever invite a friend over, they can like talk to my parents or my sister pretty freely. So in that way, I don’t try to separate relationships in my life too much.

Eversoll: I think your relationship with your family is the most important relationship. I try to have a good balance of like being present when I’m at home and like with my family, like spending time with them like having good conversations because on the weekends I like to hang out with my friends a lot. Um, but I think it’s important to have like a balance between all of the relationships. I don’t think if you’re like in a romantic relationship with someone, you should like just ditch your friends and just hang out with them. I think that’s a really bad thing to do. And like likewise with your family, or like other relationships, I feel like it’s really important to sort of like treat each relationship like give its own time and space, but also like tend to your other relationships.

Li: How do you resolve conflicts when you’re experiencing hard times in a relationship, whether that is between family, friends, or with a romantic partner?

Bhargava: If I’m in a fight with a friend, or someone who’s like not family, I might ask another friend what they think. And then go and talk to them.

Eversoll: Yeah, I think communication is really important. And even if like if you’re really frustrated, or like upset or emotional at the moment, being able to like take a moment, calm down a little bit. And then like communicating, conflict is like usually misunderstanding I find, so trying to like express how you feel. And I try to work on like, not blaming the other people, or like my parents always said this, and I feel like it’s good advice: to not be like You always do this. You always do that. But being like, if when X is happening or like because it’s happening like it makes me feel this way, and then like encouraging whoever you’re in a disagreement with to do the same be like can you tell me how you feel? Or like, can you tell me your side of that? And I feel like that’s helpful in resolving conflict because like, most likely you’re not going to be mad at each other. If you’re both trying to be like, respectful to one another and tell each other how you feel.

Li: What key characteristics would you use to identify an unhealthy relationship?

Dalton: So, for an unhealthy relationship like feeling as though you have to keep secrets from them. Or feeling scared, or like any negative emotion towards them. There are definitely cases where you might feel that way for a little bit and then just like resolve it on your own later, but I feel like that very rarely works. [In an unhealthy relationship] you just kind of stuff it [your emotions] back inside, and that doesn’t work. For a healthy relationship, you want to be comfortable with them, feel safe, be able to talk, and just be able to hang out.

Bhargava: In an unhealthy relationship, there might be distrust or like resentment for the other person. Or, um, if someone views another with like contempt, um, that could be a sign of an unhealthy relationship.

Li: What ways can you strengthen a relationship with someone?

Dalton: Definitely, this sounds really cheesy, but going on like little hangout dates. It’s to like build, or like strengthen your bond. And just like talk a lot so you get to know each other more.

Bhargava: You want to build experiences that both people in a relationship would look back on and enjoy, I guess in the future. So, um, finding something that two people enjoy doing, um, and doing that, or just hanging out.

Eversoll: I also think like listening to one another. Caring about, like if someone else is really interested in something like, maybe you, even if it’s not your favorite thing, like trying to learn a little bit about it. Like someone oh, I really like this music artist like even if, like maybe you go to a concert with them, or you go do something together. Like, my parents really like museums. And like, I’m not a huge museum person. But, like I try to appreciate, I like, do it with them because I know they like it. And then, trying to like, sort of like make sacrifices in that way or like be invested in what the people you care about are invested in because I think that’s a sign of like, a longer relationship that you can, yeah, learn about each other.

Li: What are some activities you and your family do to maintain that tight healthy bond?

Eversoll: I like eating meals with my family. So like, when we can that’s something, my brother’s in college right now, so not as much with him anymore. But, always like the four of us, my parents and then my brother, we would try to eat together on weeknights, especially. Um, and then, also I guess I’ve different things, like with my mom, I really like going on walks with her when the weather’s nice, and that’s something that we’ve done a lot together. But then with my dad, we play like Backgammon together, which is like a game. And so I feel like those are two different ways like I’m more likely to spend a little bit of time with them individually. like maybe 15 or 20 minutes with each.

Li: What are some ways you would suggest to get out of an unhealthy relationship?

Eversoll: I think there are two ways you can do it. You can either try to like slowly distance yourself. But if that’s not working, or like they’re not getting the message whatever’s going on, um, then I think having a conversation and just being like: Hey, I don’t think it’s healthy for me to be in this close relationship with you or in this romantic relationship anymore for these reasons, and like, this is just what I need to do for myself right now. Then, I think that’s totally fair. And they should respect that.

Li: Again, this is Rita Li with the end of our healthy relationship podcast. Thank you!