What are some of the most important traits of lasting romantic relationships and friendships?
1. Mutual trust
Mutual trust is perhaps the single most important pillar of long-term relational success. Consider these questions:
- In general, is your partner reliable and dependable?
- Does he or she keep important promises and agreements?
- Can you count on your partner as a “rock” in your life?
- What about you for your partner?
2. Mutual respect and effective communication
One of the most important indicators of respect or disrespect in a relationship is how two people communicate with one another. Disrespectful communication is often expressed via repeated negative judgment, criticism, or sarcasm regarding the worth of an individual. In communication studies, this is known as being “tough on the person, soft on the issue”. An effective communicator knows how to separate the person from the issue (or behaviour), and be soft on the person and firm on the issue.
3. Affection and intimacy
The four dimensions of intimacy are:
Physical – Eye contact, pat on the back, hugging, kissing, high-five, open body language, sitting and walking together in companionship, etc.
Emotional – The ability to effectively express and validate one-another positively and affirmatively, and to say “I’m sorry” when necessary and appropriate.
Intellectual – The ability to engage in discussions or endeavors with a partner whom one finds intellectually stimulating.
Shared activates – Interactions that build a positive memory bank of shared experiences. Examples include playing, cooking, dancing, exercising, art-making, traveling and problem-solving together. What matters is whether two people are able to bond while interacting with each another.
4. Mutual assistance and support
- In difficult life circumstances, would your partner be there to support you more than usual, or less? What about you for your partner?
- Does your partner’s support make you feel stronger and less alone?
One of the most important and distinguishing qualities that separates a close, potentially enduring relationship from a casual relationship is the irreplaceability of the association. In a close romantic relationship or friendship, there would be a significant void in both partners’ lives without the companionship and support of one-another. A simple question that may measure the irreplaceability of a relationship is whether two individuals are willing to invest the time, energy, and effort to make the romantic relationship or friendship a priority.