Last reviewed: 1/4/2023

Relationships, as a means of social support, are an integral part of staying healthy. There are many types of relationships a student may develop throughout their college career, which can include relationships with roommates, friends, professors, teaching assistants, the self, and romantic relationships.

Tension in relationships results in higher levels of stress and can impact academic performance. Building and maintaining healthy relationships, on the other hand, has the potential to help people grow and enjoy life more. Though no relationship is perfect and they all take work, knowing what attributes to look out for can help make a healthy one more attainable.

People in a Healthy Relationship

  • Treat each other with respect
  • Feel secure and comfortable
  • Aren't controlling, abusive, or violent with each other
  • Resolve conflicts satisfactorily
  • Enjoy time spent together
  • Support one another
  • Participate in open, honest and safe communication with one another
  • Take interest in one another's lives: health, family, work, etc.
  • Respect each other’s individual likes and needs
  • Trust each other and respect one another’s privacy
  • Are each sexual by choice (free of coercion, violence or abuse)
  • Communicate clearly and openly
  • Have letters, phone calls, and e-mail that are your own
  • Make healthy decisions about alcohol or other drugs
  • Encourage other friendships
  • Are honest about your past and present sexual activity if the relationship is sexually or physically intimate
  • Know that most people in your life are happy about the relationship
  • Have more good times in the relationship than bad
  • Create and maintain healthy boundaries

People in an Unhealthy or Abusive Relationship

  • Try to control, pressure, or manipulate the other
  • Make the other feel bad about their self
  • Ridicule or call names
  • Dictate how the other dresses
  • Do not make time for each other
  • Criticize the other's friends and loved ones
  • Are afraid of the other's temper
  • Discourage the other from being close with anyone else
  • Ignore each other when one is speaking
  • Are overly possessive or get jealous about ordinary behavior
  • Criticize or support others in criticizing people with your gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or other personal attribute
  • Control the other's money or other resources (e.g., car)
  • Harm or threaten to harm children, family, pets, or objects of personal value
  • Push, grab, hit, punch, or throw objects
  • Use physical force or threats to prevent the other from leaving

Learn more about building healthy relationships and recognizing unhealthy ones in the Go Ask Alice! archives or by contacting Sexual Violence Response.

The No More Campaign is dedicated to cultivating healthy relationships among the campus community and elevating awareness of domestic and relationship violence. The goal of No More is to increase visibility of relationship violence and sexual assault as well as the many organizations working to put an end to these problems.

Other Important Relationships

Faculty and staff play a large role in a student's professional and intellectual development. Research has shown multiple positive effects of academic relationships such as increases in achievement, motivation and learning.

Read more about building positive academic relationships.

College is a great opportunity to meet new people and form lasting friendships. Sometimes, it can be tricky to find friends on campus so here are a few tips to get you started!

Learn more about building friendships.

Learning to live with roommates or suitemates can be challenging. Utilize this guide to make the most of your college roommate experience.