Your relationship with your childhood best friend is different than your relationship with your boyfriend, but that doesn’t mean the same rules shouldn’t apply to both. No matter what kind of relationship you’re in, you need to follow these guidelines.
Keep your mouth shut.
Don’t gossip. I know it might sound difficult, but it’ll save you so much heartache and drama. If you’re told something sensitive, embarrassing, or anything you know is meant to be private, keep it to yourself. Don’t spread the information around like wildfire.
Establish and stick to your boundaries.
You might be willing to die for your BFF, but does that mean you want her borrowing your clothes without asking? No. Same goes for your significant other. Are you comfortable with your boyfriend partying all night every night? Probably not. It’s important to have boundaries so people know what’s acceptable.
Give people their space.
Do you like having someone all up in your business? No, and neither does anyone else. The best thing you can do for your relationships is to give people space so they can focus on themselves. Don’t force yourself into every part of someone’s life and don’t let someone force themselves into yours.
Love yourself first.
Your relationship with others starts with yourself. If you’re hot and cold with your own emotions, how will you ever handle another person’s? Show yourself some love and figure out how to be your own best friend/significant other.
Appreciate the little things.
Traveling around the world is great, but so are the little things you do in your relationships. Enjoy the times when you’re sitting on the couch doing nothing with your boyfriend and celebrate the belly laughs you share with your friends over something stupid.
Don’t try to change people’s minds.
You can’t control how other people see you. If you’ve been upfront and honest and someone still thinks you’re a bitch, whatever. That’s life. Don’t work overtime to become the person your enemies want to befriend. Be who you are and don’t apologize for it.
You’re going to screw up in your relationships. It’s only natural—what matters is how you handle yourself. Admit to your screw-ups and don’t be afraid to show vulnerability. People don’t care if you make mistakes, they care if you try to cover them up.
Always be kind.
You never know when you might need someone, so do what you can to keep relationships afloat and to avoid burning bridges. You don’t have to go out with your annoying co-workers every night, but don’t talk behind their backs. Be nice and respectful—you might need a good reference one of these days.
Decide where your priorities are and work around them. If your career is more important than your love life, don’t compromise. The worst thing you can do is put something on the back burner for the sake of a sub-par relationship.
Don’t be afraid to argue.
Every relationship needs healthy fighting. I’m not suggesting you scream in someone’s face, but don’t be afraid to ask questions and challenge an opinion. A relationship with no fighting is a relationship where someone’s holding back.
Get rid of your type.
If you pick relationships based off specific characteristics, you won’t grow. You need friends for different reasons. Some should encourage you, push you, and introduce you to new things. You can’t find your tribe if you have blinders on. Get rid of your type so you can have people in your life with different mindsets and interests.
Speak up when there’s a problem.
When there’s a problem, speak up. Don’t wait a week, two months, or a year to express yourself. If someone does something you’re not OK with, let them know so apologies can be made and you can both move on.
Be cautious about giving or taking advice.
Talk to yourself instead of your friends and make up your own damn mind. Taking everyone else’s advice can get messy. Your friends and family might mean well but they don’t know your relationship like you do.
You don’t have to settle.
I wish someone told me this when I was younger: not everyone you meet is going to improve your life. Some people are toxic and need to be removed. I’m not saying you should burn bridges, but create distance between yourself and those who mess with your mental health.
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