The value of relationships


Strong, positive relationships are fundamental to our mental wellbeing. 

We asked our colleagues what they do to look after their mental health: relationships and physical activities featured a lot. Watch our short film to see what some of them said.

We also made our relationship resolutions and to help you decide what yours will be we've put together some tips for strengthening relationships with friends, families, partners and colleagues. Our library services team has also made some book recommendations.

Strong, positive relationships are fundamental to our mental wellbeing. We've put together these tips to help you make the most of your relationships.

1 Communicate more.
Get off social media and make regular calls to your friends and family, send them handwritten letters or postcards, or even an email or text. Ask how they are, tell them you've been thinking of them, tell them what you've been up to.

2 Ask questions.
It shows you're interested and actively listening. It makes people feel good and helps you get to know them better. Ask your partner or children about their day, and your colleague or neighbour about their weekend.

3 Give compliments and thanks.
Tell your friends, partners, family and colleagues if their hair or outfit looks nice, or if they have done something well. Thank them if they do something nice or pay you a compliment.

4 Do things together.
Turn off your phones and TV. Instead do something - anything - together, without digital distractions. Play a board game or sport with your partner or family. Read to one another. Eat and talk together at the table, go for a walk with friends, cook, bake or plant a pot of flowers together. Just be present and together.

5 Focus on the good things.
Remind yourself often what you like or love about your friends and partners and what drew you together in the first place.

6 Treasure your friends and partners.
Don't take the for granted - make sure they know you value them. Tell them what you like about them and why they are important to you.

7 Give.
This doesn't mean spending lots of money. Give people who are important to you small gifts - a book you think they will enjoy, a magazine that will interest them, a bar of chocolate, a beautiful shell, a skeleton leaf. Some babysitting time or help with their decorating, gardening or housework. Cook them a lasagne or a cake. Just something small, thoughtful and unexpected every now and again to brighten their day.

8 Be there.
Be a shoulder to cry on, invite friends to eat with you when they're down, ask what you can do for them. And when you cry on their shoulder, let them listen and make suggestions, but don't expect them to solve your problems for you.

9 Be open.
Don't expect people to read your mind - tell them what you want or that you are upset so they can do something about it. Try not to place expectations on relationships - they are much more important than one missed birthday or someone forgetting to say thanks.

10 Smile.
Smiling - even if you have to force yourself - can actually make you feel more positive. And it will make those around you feel more positive too.

11 Forget arguments.
Don't bear grudges. The other person cares for you - agree to disagree, forget the past and focus on making things better, not scoring points or proving you're right. And while you're at it, do your best to overlook their annoying habits!

12 Help people achieve their dreams.
Don't feel threatened by their successes or afraid you'll be left behind - supporting your friends and family will make you feel good and strengthen the bond between you.

13 Trust.
Your friends care about you and have your best interests at heart - trust them.

Cookies on our website

Cookies are used to ensure you get the best browsing experience. No personally identifiable information is collected.
By using our site you agree to these cookies being used. For more information please see our Cookie Policy.