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Healthy Relationships

WHY do we need to learn about relationships?

We spend years learning about math and science, but we never really have formal training in how to have good relationships. It is important that, as college students, we are able identify bad relationships from good relationships. We are at a time in our lives where the relationships we form with others will shape us to become who we are and the influences of our friendships plays a big role. 

We will all have various relationships in our lives, whether it is with our family, our friends, boyfriends/girlfriends or faculty. Having healthy relationships can make us more effective, happy and healthy. They can keep our stress levels low and provide us with people who we can talk to and spend time with. An advantage of healthy relationships is that it builds our self-confidence, allowing us to use our personal communication skills to relate to others. Unhealthy relationships can contribute to dysfunction, poor health and unhappiness. Bad relationships will continue to be on your mind, affecting your well-being and eventually lower your self-esteem. 

WHAT is a healthy relationship?

A healthy relationship involves being there emotionally and physically for the another person through good and bad times. In a healthy relationship, people should care for each other and act appropriately during the situation. Accept the other party for their differences, strengths and weaknesses. Show an interest and be willing to listen to others. Respect others and give them a chance to express their viewpoints on issues. Allow for give and take in the relationship. Have the ability to set limits and boundaries in a relationship. 

Most importantly, remember to be YOURSELF!!! 

KEEP a healthy relationship with your parents, siblings and family

The transition to college can be a hard. You have been living at home your whole life and when you leave it is also difficult on your family. It is important that you keep in touch with your family. They care a lot about you and have watched you grow up. Make sure that you call back home to let your family know how you are doing. Stay in touch with your siblings through Skype or email. 

KEEP a healthy relationship with your friends

Caltech students care a lot about each other. Keep in touch with the members of your house and maintain friendships in other houses. Caltech friendships are very strong and can be the main strength in guiding students through hard times, such as problem sets, midterms or finals 

weeks. You can make working on problem sets fun by taking breaks in between and sharing your ideas with each other. Over the weekends, hang out with your friends and try something different off-campus, such as exploring LA, going out to eat, or exercising around campus. The friends you make at Caltech will be life-long. 

HOW to communicate effectively?

As Caltech scientists, engineers and researchers, it is important to know how to relate our findings and discoveries to others. Communication is important. 

  1. Focus your thoughts. Know what your goals and needs are before communicating and practice how you will convey them. 
  2. Be a good listener. Show respect and keep an open mind. If somebody comes to tell you something, they trust you and you should listen to their situation. 
  3. Look the part. Make sure your body language matches what you are saying. Nonverbal language is just as important as verbal language. 
  4. Try to understand things from their viewpoint. Make sure you understand the other person. Do not jump to conclusions. 
  5. Speak openly and honestly. Avoid blaming others, by using statements that start with “I” instead of “You” statements. 
  6. Pay attention to your emotions and make sure they are appropriate to the situation. If you think your emotions will make it hard to communicate with others clearly, wait for another time to talk. 
  7. Be able to compromise. Admit your mistakes and apologize when you are wrong or have hurt another person. It is to learn from your mistakes and move on. 

WHAT is an unhealthy relationship?

An unhealthy relationship needs attention and may result from an unresolved conflict or an accidental misunderstanding. Some characteristics of an unhealthy relationship include: 

  • The relationship is going in a direction that feels unsafe. 
  • A person lets go of their usual interested in friends, family or their identity for someone else. 
  • You lose your self-esteem. 
  • You experience pressure to do things that you are not comfortable with, such as sex, drugs, cheating or acting unethically. 
  • The relationship is abusive, either physically, sexually or emotionally.

If you or someone else you know is in an unhealthy relationship stand up for yourself and make a change. For relationship advice talk to your UCCs, RAs, RLCs, or the Counseling Center Staff about the situation. They are here to help!