Relationships are the people, places or things that connect us. They may be romantic, platonic or both. They can be in-person or virtual. They can last a day, a week or many years. They can make life exciting, fun and meaningful. They can also be stressful, difficult and even toxic.
The term relationship can also refer to a close connection that has become strained or even broken, especially when it involves infidelity or constant negative criticism and defensiveness. In general, relationships can be considered healthy if both partners treat each other with mutual respect and love, and if they are based on open communication.
Healthy relationships bring emotional support and comfort, which can help you feel a sense of well-being. These positive feelings can be especially helpful when you’re feeling down or battling mental health issues. They can also improve your physical health by helping you have a restful sleep and by keeping your stress levels down.
While everyone has different needs, research has shown that having a supportive network of friends can improve your overall quality of life and lead to greater happiness and resilience. However, it’s important to have healthy boundaries and to be able to recognize when a relationship is unhealthy.
When it comes to a romantic relationship, it’s often difficult to find the right balance between giving and taking. For example, you may find yourself giving too much love and attention to your significant other, which can create problems down the road.
You can have a relationship with almost anyone, but the types of relationships vary by person and culture. A marriage or other formal partnership is the most common type of relationship. But you can have a relationship with someone even if it’s not officially recognized by the state, such as a friendship or mentorship.
Family is another common type of relationship. This can include parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins or other extended relatives. It can also refer to a platonic relationship with a relative who lives far away, or to a close friend whom you consider family.
Other kinds of relationships are casual “acquaintances,” such as people you pass in the halls at work or school and smile at, or who you chat with about surface-level topics, like sports or weather. Some people also have a relationship with strangers on social media or other online platforms. In addition, many people have relationships with organizations and institutions, such as a business or school, that they are connected to in some way. These types of relationships can help them get the support and resources they need to succeed. They can also give them a sense of belonging. In fact, studies have shown that people with strong social ties tend to live longer than those who are lonely or isolated. This is likely because having these connections can help protect against depression, strengthen your immune system and keep you physically healthier. They can also be a source of emotional strength and support during hard times.