A Healthy You and Me

28 Apr

As you may have come to realize, there is a lot more to college than just academics. You find yourself spending a lot of time with a lot of different people; humans are naturally socially dependent beings. We like to share our personal experiences with others and surround ourselves with friends we care about. It’s in our nature. That’s why it is important to keep a healthy relationship with your peers, colleagues, friends and loved ones. A bad relationship will bring you down, but a good one will lift you up.

I remember at my high school graduation telling all my friends that we would be “friends forever” and always keep in touch. Little did I know how difficult that credo would be to uphold. I grew up here in Tucson, AZ and when we graduated my group of friends had different plans for our future. I don’t think we realized it at the time, but that also meant we had different paths we would continue on from the football field that night in May. Some of my friends entered the workforce, some went to community college, others went to universities in other cities and states, and a few even went to the University of Arizona.

Although you and your high school friends “grew up” together and those memories made will always be a part of you (I know this may not be all of you, but bear with me), it will be hard to make the time you think they deserve or the time they think they deserve. Sooner or later one has to realize that everyone goes down a certain path and, at times, those paths don’t intersect as much as you both may like. As long as you have a mutual understanding of this and know that no matter what, you will be there to support them; you should be OK. Now, it’s even simpler to keep up with what your friends are doing thanks to Social Media. This will be the key to keeping relationships that are less in person and more in spirit. Liking a post, commenting and giving shout-outs are just an easy way to show loved ones that you are still present in their lives. If social media isn’t your thing, keep an email going back and forth, or send a text message/make a phone call every once in a while just saying “hey!” It’s always good to hear from a friend.

I’ve had the pleasure of having met a lot of new friends while in college but I’ve also had the pleasure of having a serious relationship in college. My girlfriend and I met during our studies here at the U of A and have been dating for over a year now and though that doesn’t make me a relationship guru by any means, I will say I’ve learned some things along the way. When a relationship becomes a little bit more serious it’s even more important to keep that relationship healthy. The more serious a relationship is, the more emotionally attached you become. The more emotionally attached you become, the greater the impact this relationship has on your mental and emotional health. But not to worry! There are just some simple things to remember when maintaining a serious relationship.

Honesty and communication are the first step to ensuring a solid relationship. Honestly and communication are the foundation for any relationship but it becomes even more imperative in a relationship that may turn romantic. You have to be willing to openly communicate and be honest (with yourself and partner) with what you’re intentions are in this relationship. Let’s say you meet someone, you hang out with them, and maybe you even go on a couple of dates. If one of you is looking for a short-term fling and the other has fallen madly in love – we have here a recipe for awkward sauce and the after taste is bitter. If you’re honest with what your intentions are from the start, it makes it easier to be honest the rest of the way. As they always say “Honesty is the best policy.”

In college you discover who you are. When you’re in a relationship during college you get to discover who you are with someone and I have to tell you, it’s quite an adventure. You have to be patient with each other, and realize that you are both still still growing as individuals. I like to think of it as allowing some “wiggle room” for the both of you to grow. Don’t take the term “wiggle room” the wrong way or out of context! This doesn’t mean you should accept unsavory behavior or allow anything that would go against your personal standards and morals go unanswered but it does mean that patience and understanding will take you a long way.

Before anything else, you have to have fun. It may seem pretty trivial, but if you’re not having fun in your relationship then why are you in one? Always make time for dates and special activities to do together. In college, everyone has a schedule. As you may be aware, when two people want to meet up, the task can be like a game of Battle Ship.

“You free at 5:30?”

“Nope.”

“How about 6:30?”

“Nah.”

“8?”

“Yes!”

And you sunk their battle ship! I mean, you found a time that works. And when you find something that works it’s easy to get stuck in a pattern and develop a routine. That’s OK! Just make sure you always have time to do something fun! Something that will shake up the routine and keep you from getting stuck in a monotonous cycle. A flowing river goes further than a stagnant pond, so get your river flowing with some ideas to change the routine. Even if it’s just studying in a new location or trying a new restaurant, a new experience will bring you closer together.

-Andy

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