signs you’re pulling your own weight in a healthy close peer relationship: things to strive for
you know and like them
You know what’s really important to the
other person, their hopes and goals and pet peeves and preferences and fears, and you
consciously integrate this knowledge into how you interact with them.
curious about their thoughts and opinions. You’re aware they have a
rich inner life and you get excited to find out what they think and how
they feel about things, even things that have nothing to do with you. You ask questions and you truly listen to and try to understand the answers.
You seek out opportunities to share experiences with them. You want to be around them and you want to understand why they love the things they love. You want to welcome them into enjoying new things you think they’d like based on your knowledge of them and their preferences.
When they don’t like something you
like and vice versa, it isn’t threatening, because you both respect each
other and there are other things you can do together.
you are emotionally available
You pay attention to the kindnesses they show you, and you show appreciation when they listen to you vent or are patient with your foibles or remember your favourite things or make your life brighter in any way.
You make an effort to show these same little kindnesses to them. You often ask about and try to keep track of what they like. You make tiny gestures all the time just to make them happy, and you don’t keep score of them in hopes of getting something you want.
You are honest and considerate with
them. When you’re upset about something else you don’t blame it on them
or start a fight just to fight. When you need to bring a problem to
their attention you do it in a loving way. You don’t make promises you
don’t intend to keep and you don’t pretend you feel anything you don’t
You work hard to understand yourself and what’s
important to you, what you want and what you feel and why you feel the
way you do. Even if you aren’t totally sure what you’re really feeling yet, you try to share
yourself with the other person. You’re willing to be vulnerable and let
them see your fears and your flaws and your complicated feelings about
you actively respect them as your equal
You respect them as a person. There are things you admire about them and you find some of their ‘flaws’ endearing and it’s okay that there are things about them you don’t like because they’re a whole complicated person and you appreciate them for the whole package of who they are. You don’t secretly think you’re better than them. You don’t see them as disposible or fungible or a means to an end.
You respect them as the authority on their
acknowledge that however well you know them, there are complexities to
them you’ll never fully grasp. You never assume that you’re done getting
to know them or that you could make their choices better.
them when they tell you how they feel. You don’t ever try to convince
them their feelings are wrong even if those real feelings are in
response to a misunderstanding or have a context you don’t fully understand.
You’re comfortable letting them take the lead as often as you do, and you’re willing to compromise on things that affect both of you because their opinions are just as important and well-reasoned as your own. You acknowledge their capacity to know things you don’t or have good ideas you didn’t think of.
you do relational work
You talk to each other when either of you feels relationship problems arising, even if you don’t fully understand them yet, and you work together as a team to keep each other feeling safe and respected and listened to. You work to be patient and supportive and to not take it personally when other things are bothering them.
apologize, freely and without expecting them to force themselves to heal
faster to make you feel better. Your apologies are about letting them know you
understand and respect
and care about their hurt and that you are choosing not to hurt them in
that way again. You don’t have hidden agendas.
When there are choices to be made that affect both of you, you talk them through together and decide together. You don’t expect them to do all the planning work, and you don’t make choices that affect them without their input.
you respect their time and effort and don’t act entitled
You understand you aren’t the only thing they have going on. You give
them space to have other interests and friends and you appreciate your
time together without making them feel obligated to pay attention to you
24/7. You also make time for them while maintaining your own interests
and other relationships.
You make an effort to seek out other sources of emotional support and connection so that you are not relying on this person to meet all your
You don’t expect them to do personal work for
you that you’re capable of doing, and if they do such work, you intentionally do similar work for them, work that needs to be done
just as often and requires just as much time/effort, because you care about them and don’t
want to burden them with extra work.
If they wash the dishes you use, you
floors they walk on. If they do the grocery shopping, you the cooking.
You don’t ever take it for granted that it’s their job to do personal
maintenance work (chores, home care, body care, appointment planning, kinship
work) for you without reciprocation. If you are capable of meeting your
own basic needs but haven’t bothered to learn to do that work or why
it’s important, you seek out resources on your own to learn.
If you genuinely are not capable of doing your own basic self/home maintenance due to disability etc., you don’t assume they will automatically take over that work from now on because of your relationship. You have frank and honest discussions about your needs and their capabilities/limitations/interest wrt helping out.
you actively prioritize their happiness
You make sure they know you appreciate
their nos. Every no reassures you that their yeses really mean yes, and
you check in all the time to find out what they want and don’t want, because it’s so important to you that they don’t just grin
and bear it.
You want them
to be happy. You are willing to be deeply inconvenienced without them
knowing about it if it will make them happier. You routinely spend time thinking about their feelings and how your words and actions will impact them. If you think they’re
unhappy because of you, you want to know why because you are genuinely
willing to put hard work into making them happy.
If they’re unhappy
because you’re incompatible in a fundamental way, you’d rather give up
your relationship with them than let them stay miserable because of it.