Relationships

Having healthy relationships with fellow students is a vital part of university life, which also affects academic performance.

Good relationships require commitment, compromise and clear communication. The following rules can help you to have good, healthy relationships.

Relationship rules

1. Accept differences

Don’t try to force the other person to behave exactly like you. A good relationship involves both partners working to accept their differences. Agree to differ if you cannot agree.

2. Maintain a capacity for boundaries

Accept that the other person cannot solve all of your problems or meet all of your needs.

3. Sharing positive feelings

Make sure you don’t only talk to others about negative things; share your positive feelings towards them. People respond much better to positive reinforcement.

4. Love yourself

Being kind and respectful to yourself will help you relate compassionately to others and make it easier for them to love you in return.

5. Make quality time for your relationship

You may find that you prioritise a relationship when it is exciting and new, but when you have been together for a while that changes. You need to both make an effort to set aside time together.

6. Accept change

Life changes and people change. It can be uncomfortable, but change provides opportunities for growth, and adapting to change enables greater intimacy.

7. Communicate well

Communicating well is about learning to say openly and honestly exactly what you think and feel, and to listen to the other person doing the same.

8. Fight fairly

Attack the problem not the person. Deal with one issue at a time. Stay in the present (do not talk about past issues).

9. Own what you are saying

A good template to hold in mind is "When you do x I feel y", eg "When you do not text me I feel lonely." This is your feeling and no one can say it is untrue.

10. Take time out

Agree a method of establishing a time out (not just walking away) where each of you can pause and reconsider what you want to say.

11. Sit down and make eye contact

When arguing it is vital that you engage with each other calmly.

12. Acknowledge each other

If the other person makes a valid point, say so.

13. Work out different solutions

Spend time brainstorming together. When you arrive at an agreement restate it clearly so both parties are clear about what has just been agreed.

Relationships with housemates

Living with others will challenge you and make you more tolerant.

Before you decide to share accommodation, it is a good idea to compare your habits and preferences for smoking, tidiness, sleeping, music and food.

  • Find out how bills are paid and who cooks.
  • Talk about how much you want to socialise and whether you are expected to be at home.
  • Discuss how differences will be expressed and resolved or compromises reached.

If something comes up, express it directly and immediately, rather than storing up resentments and then exploding.

How can we help?

If you're struggling with relationships you might find it helpful to attend one of the following workshops:

Workshops and groups