** Because friendships are at the core of all romantic relationships, if you are someone that’s not interested in love right now, that’s fine! Keep reading because this is still for you.

Love is complicated, Love is hard. It is not easy, and it is not guaranteed…

How can love be all around us, and yet at the same time it’s nowhere to be seen? Love is at the heart of our society. It’s in the movies we watch, the music we listen to, the books we read, and the advertisements thrown in our faces. From this constant exposure it seems as though if you aren’t “in love” then you are missing out on a huge part of life, a part that everyone else seems to be enjoying without you. Loneliness is a serious burden to carry, but you don’t have to be alone. So I’d like to emphasize that friendships can be just as fulfilling as romantic relationships, sometimes more so because of the added flexibility! So this Valentine’s Day, remember to love yourself and appreciate the friends and/or family you have in your life.

So let’s become familiar with the 10 most important words in any close relationship:

1.       Trust

2.       Intimacy

3.       Communication

4.       Commitment

5.       Love

6.       Friendship

7.       Patience

8.       Humor

9.       Flexibility

10.   Forgiveness

            -Gregory J.P Godek -Love

This list is a great starting point, but let’s define some of these words to give you a better explanation of what they actually mean, in the context of relationship-building:

Trust – Trust can only be established if the behaviors of the other person are predictable enough that you feel safe being yourself around them.

Intimacy – Intimacy occurs in a relationship when you are able to share your thoughts and feelings with one another. This must go both ways.

Communication – Successful communication is open, realistic, tactful, caring, and valued.

Commitment – Commitment is the willingness to stay, even through difficulty.

Love – Humans have tried to define this since the beginning of time! But here’s one way to define it: “When the satisfaction, security, and development of another person is as important to you as your own satisfaction, security, and development.”

Friendship – “Good friendships” include help, praise, sympathy, emotional support, advice giving, social ties, and a feeling of belonging.

Patience – Do not force a relationship to the ‘next phase’. Let time together bring you closer.

Humor – In a Psychology Today article on the “Qualities of a Friend” 73% of people said that a sense of humor is a top priority when selecting a friend or mate.

Flexibility – Flexibility is often about compromise, but compromise must go both ways.

Forgiveness – No one is perfect, let’s cut each other a break sometimes! Grudges take way too much emotional energy.

Well, there it is, a quick guide on how to identify and maintain close relationships. Regardless of your relationship status, I hope your takeaway is that relationships come in all shapes and sizes and they take time and effort. If you are celebrating Valentine’s Day with yourself or a friend, love on yourself, you deserve it!

Draft and Concept Written by:
Gianna De Keles

Editing by:
Kaylee Garber

**Clinical information extracted from, “Becoming Aware: A Text/Workbook for Human Relations and Personal Adjustment.”

 

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