Counseling Center


Healthy relationships and support systems can significantly increase our wellbeing. We have the power to increase our relationship skills, whereby increasing our chances to develop healthier more satisfying relationships. When it comes to relationships, many students are aware that learning how to communicate well and knowing the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships are good skills to have. If these are skills you need to work on, there are several links below to help with these and other relationship skills. 

There are four additional skills we can develop that are not often talked about when it comes to relationships. However, these skills are important to have and can help us have healthier relationships.  

  1. Being able to manage our stress/distress and other emotions.

When we are stressed and running around with a short fuse, we are much more likely to say something to a partner or friend we regret. Being able to manage our emotions and stress so that we are able to keep long term goals in mind during difficult conversations is important. Please visit our Stress Management webpage for tips on how to do this.  

  1. Being self-aware (not self-conscious).

When self-conscious, we are over-worried about how others perceive us. When we are self-aware we know ourselves. When we know, understand, and accept our thoughts, feeling, urges, needs, and wants, we are better able communicate, to choose our behaviors and get our needs met effectively in relationships. Mindfulness skills help us increase our self-awareness.

  1. Being kind to yourself and treating yourself with respect.

Whether we intend to our not, we sometimes model for others how to treat us. For example, if Jane continually makes negative comments about herself in front of her new friend Jill. She is giving Jill the message it is okay to put me down and insult me. When we are kind to ourselves, set boundaries, and make request to meet our needs, we are giving others the message to treat us with respect. We are also modeling healthy relationships behaviors for them to use in the relationship.  

  1. Being curious and grateful.

Throughout our life our needs, wants, and interests are often growing and changing. In long-term relationships is it is helpful to stay curious about the other person and not assume you know everything about them. It is also helpful to notice and recognize things you appreciate about what the other person does. This does not mean you ignore unhealthy or disrespectful behaviors. It means noticing and appreciating healthy behaviors and looking for opportunities to say “thank you”.