Family and Relationships

Relationships are a really big part of our lives, whether they're the relationship we have with ourselves, family members, partners or our friends.

Developing and improving these relationships can make a huge difference in supporting your mental and emotional wellbeing.

Taking small steps to improve your relationships can make a big difference to your mental wellbeing and improve the way you feel about yourself and the other people in your life.

The tips and ideas here will help you to address challenges and ensure your relationships are healthy, positive and supportive.

Family can be there for you and be a huge support. But sometimes, things between you and your family may not always be easy. Family lives has some really good advice if you're struggling with the relationship with your family.

Family relationships can be complicated in both good and bad times. When family relationships become difficult this can impact you in many different ways including causing emotional distress.

You might feel like you can’t trust others, creating feelings of anxiety and loneliness. If you do feel like this, it’s important to get support. You might feel you have to get along with your family, but it’s okay if you reach out to people outside of your family for help and support. This can include your friends, teachers, trusted adults and school nursing service.

Your relationship with yourself is a really important starting point to think about.

There are lots of little things you can do to protect yours and improve self-esteem – and doing so can have a positive impact on your relationships with others too. Check out our self esteem page for more information.

It's also important to aim for healthy communication in all your relationships as this can help prevent conflict and lead to better relationships for the future.

Being able to speak openly about the way you are feeling and, in turn, listening to your partner, friend or family member can strengthen relationships, reduce anxiety and help to protect your mental wellbeing.

If someone else is going through a tough time, it can be hard or upsetting for you too. If you’re supporting them it’s important you also protect your own mental wellbeing.

Here are some little things you can do to make sure you're taking care of yourself.

Set some limits

Think about what you feel most able to help with. Try to stick with this – whether it's listening, or providing practical help like doing the shopping.

Take a break

Find time to do something just for yourself, and make an effort to focus on your own activities, hobbies and interests.

Talk about it

Finding someone outside the relationship that you trust enough to confide in can really help. This can be a friend or trusted adult such as a teacher or school nurse.

Disagreements and conflict can be a normal part of having relationships, however everyone needs to learn ways to manage conflicts and work together to overcome any disagreements.

If it's difficult to talk through an issue calmly, take some time out and come back to it when everyone is feeling more relaxed.

Sometimes when we have strong feelings about a situation, we assume we know what the other person is thinking, jump to conclusions or let past experiences have an impact.

It can be helpful to take a step back and think through the following questions:

  • What meaning have I given this situation?
  • Is there a difference between the facts and opinion in this situation?
  • What advice would you give to somebody else in this position?
  • Is there another way to look at the argument?

You can also work through these questions with the other person. Doing this may help you understand each other's perspective, allow you to meet in the middle and find ways to do things differently in the future.

If you are part of the LGBTQIA+ community you may feel this affects the type of relationship challenges you experience, whether that's your relationship with yourself or with anybody else.

LGBT HERO has plenty of help, advice and further support for common relationship challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community.