by Niara Eans, LMFT Associate, LPC Associate, NCC
Time to Read: 3 minutes
This blog post serves as part of our six part series featuring the Cornerstones of a Healthy Relationship. You can find the list and links to the blog posts for the rest of the series below.
While friendship isn't something that comes naturally to everyone, it is something that most of us have experienced. Many of us know what it feels like to have a good, close friend. A friend is someone with whom we want to share good or bad news. Someone that you enjoy spending time with and who understands your sense of humor. A person with whom you have good experiences and memories.
Can you call your partner a friend? Can you call yourself a friend to your partner?
If you can't definitively say that you are a friend to your partner or that your partner is a friend to you, you may need to work on improving the friendship. Here are a few tips that can help.
1. Ask more questions.
One of the best ways to improve your friendship with your partner is to find out what makes him tick. Learn what things are important to him. Figure out what his passions and goals are in life. This information will improve your understanding of your partner and show him that you are interested in getting to know him on that level.
2. Implement a date night.
Remember the activities that you two enjoy. It's so easy to get swept up in life and all of the stresses that come along with it. Try not to let those stressors weigh your relationship down. You need regularly scheduled quality time with your partner. It does not have to be anything expensive or elaborate. Something as simple as drinking a cup of coffee together in the morning is perfect! All you need is a dedicated time where you can just be with your partner.
3. Be a cheerleader for each other.
One thing that friends tend to do well is make sure that they stay updated on the major events in each other's lives. Have an important project that's due? Friends encourage you to make it to the finish line and celebrate you when you actually make it there. Cheer on your partner. We could all use some encouragement.
4. Make small, meaningful gestures.
You don't have to wait until Valentine's Day to be thoughtful. Normalize giving your partner small tokens of your appreciation all throughout the year. If you know that you've been super busy at work this month and your partner has been picking up the pieces that you haven't been able to, bringing him or her some flowers to show your appreciation might be really helpful. Maybe your partner loves candy. Getting their favorite candy for them, just because they're awesome, can go a long way in the relationship.
5. Learn to be emotionally mindful when handling disagreements.
Even the best of friends will have disagreements. We all know that disagreements will happen. We all need to learn how to manage them effectively so that they don't ruin your relationship. Speak clearly about your needs and concerns with your partner in a way that is not blaming. Allow your partner the opportunity to speak. Encourage dialogue and being receptive of one another's point of view.
Sign up for our biweekly newsletter if you want to receive more relationship and mental health tips to your inbox.
Next week's blog: Finances