Throughout our lives, we encounter a variety of relationships, whether they are familial, platonic, or romantic. Often, we are so swept up in the novelty and excitement of meeting new people that we overlook important red flags or breaches of boundaries, which only puts unnecessary emotional stress and burdens upon ourselves. The key to maintaining healthy relationships is to stay aware of clear red flags, and learn to develop a set of boundaries that work best for oneself.
- Understand What a ‘Red Flag’ Is
The equivalent of a warning sign in relationships, red flags are observations showing something isn’t right or that there may be some potential problems in the relationship. They can vary from subtle behaviors to more glaring actions, but they should never be neglected. Some examples of red flags in behaviour can include not communicating openly and frequently, or being dismissive of feelings and attempting to control the other’s decisions. Even seemingly insignificant traits or isolated incidents such as being excessively jealous around friends, being dishonest, or making rude or insensitive comments can be a red flag.
- Trust Your Instincts
Paying attention to these signs of toxicity can save you from starting an unhealthy or toxic relationship. Even if something may feel trivial or unimportant, trusting instincts, thinking rationally, and validating your own emotions comes first in any relationship. When you notice any signs of red flags, it is important to address them calmly and respectfully with your partner. Not only is it crucial to be open about concerns, it is also key to listen to the other’s perspectives and take them into consideration.
- Understand Boundaries
To set healthy boundaries, start by understanding one’s own needs, values and limits. Make note of what feels comfortable and what feels discomforting or stressful in a relationship. Some may enjoy being around their partner all the time and sharing everything with one another, while others may enjoy having designated alone time and having parts of their lives to themselves. Everyone’s definition of comfort is different, and that is totally okay. In a healthy relationship, both parties should be respectful of the other’s personal space, and should strive to communicate about their needs without fear of judgment or rejection.
- Speak Up For Yourself
When a boundary is breached, it is important to advocate for yourself and be unafraid to say “no” to other people. Be firm in upholding your own limits and communicate them with confidence. In the meantime, boundaries are not rigid guidelines meant to trap a relationship – they can evolve and change as a relationship develops and grows. Remember that setting boundaries is all about finding the right balance between one another’s needs and desires, and that is always subject to change.
To foster successful and fulfilling relationships, setting healthy boundaries and recognizing red flags are essential to preserving one’s emotional wellbeing and health. In the vast sea of relationships, it can be difficult to navigate what truly feels right to you, but through staying mindful and trusting intuition, you will be set on the right path to finding meaningful connections and building strong relationships.
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