“Every single person in this world has at least one flaw,” Jennifer Guluzy, vice president of GSA, stated. “We all have our toxicities. We all have our problems and we all have to own up to them.”
She explains that the first step in maintaining a healthy relationship, whether it be platonic or romantic, is to be a self critic. Everyone should acknowledge their mistakes and take note on what they say. If they were to say something that hurt another’s feelings, the person should be aware enough to evaluate what they said and how in the future they can work to make sure that kind of “We all have our toxicities,” stated Guluzy.miscommunication does not happen again. Self-evaluation should not be critical in a way that self esteem is lowered. A person should acknowledge their mistakes in a way that is not beating themself up.
“We all have our toxicities,” stated Guluzy.
“We all need to criticize ourselves, but not in a way where your self esteem hurts. Just in a way of saying, ‘oh I didn’t realize, maybe my communication is lacking,’” Guluzy said. “Just having the ability to acknowledge and learn is a great attribute to have in a relationship.”
The second step she discussed was to understand each other’s emotions. Every person is the master of their own feelings, and it is normal to not feel okay all the time. Every person is in control of their body, aside from diagnoses. It is important to talk about emotions often with partners to develop a deeper level of trust. The more people talk about how they are feeling, the more comfortable they become. Talking about deep and personal stuff is hard for a lot of people, but once that skill is obtained, it becomes easier to do. Bottling things up inside is a recipe for disaster, as that allows for emotions to pile up for a while until the cork blows. No one deserves to feel trapped in their own mind, and it should be seen as a normal thing to get deep with one another.
“It’s seen as a sign of weakness to open up and get raw with people,” Guluzy said. “But in reality, most people are just too scared. If you and a partner have that trust, that is something to cherish and to hold on to.”
Step three the GSA talked about was to make sure communication is emphasized. In today’s day and age, texting is the common form of communication. However, some things are meant to be said face to face and not to be sent as a long blurb on text. Having verbal conversations gives new meaning to words that would in essence lose their flare over text. Even just the phrase, “I love you,” seems more powerful when said out loud. Along with verbal conversation giving meaning to words, face to face also makes sure the wrong message isn’t portrayed. The tone of voice a person uses helps the listener understand what is trying to be said. Text messages are just big blobs of words that could mean anything. There is more of a connection when two people talk face to face, even as it grows to be more uncommon.
“There was an instance where I would rather have told Matt [Pumarejo, GSA President] something instead of texting him, because I felt like if I texted him, it would have sounded wrong. So I waited until I saw him the next day to talk to him,” Guluzy told GSA.
Guluzy shared that along with conversation comes body language. Humans communicate with fifty five percent body language (Ubiquity.org). If a person is moving their hands a lot, maybe they are passionate about whatever they are discussing. If a person is looking at their feet instead of someone’s eyes, the person could be shy or embarrassed. Body language is important, because the wrong body language can change the meaning of the conversation. The main thing is to always look people in the eye and to keep the tone of the voice smooth and steady. Just talking is not a thing to overthink, because humans just naturally communicate. In relationships, it becomes common to grow more comfortable talking naturally and authentically, but that includes the importance to make sure words don’t come out wrong. Talking is not a three week planning process, it’s just to simply listen to what someone is saying and thinking about it rather than spewing out the first thing that comes into mind.
Step four discussed was to reassure that the relationship is built on love and positivity rather than negativity. The new common bond found among friendships is over a disliking of one person or one topic, while then the foundation of healthy relationships should not be based on the negatives. When there is that mutual hatred for something, that hatred and negativity can bleed into the people. It’s easy to find the bad things in people and at that point, the parties involved in the duo might start to see the bad in each other.
Guluzy emphasized on the fact that negative people often experience negative emotions.
“We’re all heightened at that point, and you’ll see that the relationship does have a negative effect on you. If you’re walking away from someone feeling guilty, that is a red flag you need to look out for.”
Guluzy said to make sure relationships are started over positive bonds with one another. Finding common interests is a good place to start: same sense of humor, common interests, being in the same clubs, and more. It should be common to hype people up, and there shouldn’t have to be an introduction to drop a compliment or two. Sending love into the world will commonly bring love back.
According to licensed psychologist Dr. Rachel Needle, specific chemical substances such as oxytocin, phenethylamine, and dopamine have been found to play a role in human experiences and behaviors that are associated with love. They function similar to amphetamine, making us alert, excited, and wanting to bond. These chemicals are produced in the brain when there is positivity in the air. The brain knows when someone is feeling joy, and the chemicals that are produced only reflect that. Spreading negativity strips those chemicals away and the person can experience a lack of dopamine or serotonin (the happy chemicals) which can lead to things like depression and anxiety, both of which are mental illnesses caused by chemical imbalances. Being mean doesn’t necessarily cause depression, but it can very easily heighten negative emotions. Surrounding others and oneself with positivity only provides positive feelings and overall a better mood.
“I can’t stress this enough- if you are telling someone about your relationship with someone like, ‘oh me and her get along so well because we gossip all the time,’ you should probably be looking for better friends,” Guluzy stated.
Natalie Katrenya, Zest Director of GSA, talked about the next priority: set boundaries to know what is acceptable to do and the things that makes someone feel uncomfortable. She spoke about the fact that it has become a common thing for people to ignore a person when they say “no” and continue to do whatever it is that makes them uncomfortable. In this topic is consent. The golden rule in platonic or romantic relationships is to always ask for consent. Something as simple as asking to hold a person’s hand needs to be done all the time. There are plenty of people in the world just generally uncomfortable with touching, so anytime you want to hug someone or even kiss someone, you have to ask.
“When you don’t ask someone for consent, the relationship is going to crumble,” Katrenya shared. “You don’t want to make someone uncomfortable to the point where they don’t even want to hang out with you. If you want your relationship to last, always keep consent at the front of your thoughts. Don’t go and get in trouble for not asking.”
Katrenya emphasizes that the final, most important thing in the world is to accept the fact your partner is not going to always say “yes” to things. There will be an occasional “no”, and it is vital that you don’t ask “why?” Not every decision has to have a reason, and sometimes people just don’t want to do particular things. If they have a reason, they’ll most likely tell you all at once; do not dig into someone’s reasons for doing or not doing something.
“Asking why puts a lot of pressure on half of the relationship, since the question creates the feeling of, ‘oh, well they don’t want to hang out with me, there must be something wrong.’ Sometimes people just aren’t in the mood,” Katrenya also shared. “They don’t owe you an explanation. It’s a hard pill to swallow but if you want your relationships to last you need to replace that ‘oh well why not?’ with a simple, ‘oh okay! Maybe next time.’ Keep it short and sweet princess.”
Healthy relationships are a dime a dozen if you and your partner have the right connection going. They should usually flow naturally, and if you ever have to think about why you’re in the relationship, do yourself a favor and get out of there. Relationships are meant to make you feel good and your friends and partners are supposed to lift you up. Putting love out into the world will most likely bring love back to you. So if you surround yourself with positivity, it’s guaranteed you will start to feel more positive about life in general.