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November 15, 2020

AHA Blog: Build Great Relationships and Share the Positive Energy

Posted by AHA Social Worker Sister Mary Foley, SSND, MSW


Relationships should be life-giving. No matter how old we are, the friends we make and keep are those people who make us better. When we are with them, we feel good inside. That feeling encourages us to spend more time with them. Healthy relationships form when we do and say things that are positive and helpful.


When we are children, our friends are usually our siblings and other children with whom we share experiences. As teens, our circle widens and we are exposed to others who may come from different backgrounds and family systems. At this point, we realize that some people are positive influences in our lives, while others seem to be more negative. 


In a healthy relationship, we can feel the good energy that flows between friends. As teens and adults, we choose our friends. Sometimes, a friendship that starts in high school can last into old age. 


When we are in a healthy relationship, we will feel uplifted and appreciated for who we are. Friends don’t want us to become something fake. They encourage us to be real.

None of us is perfect and we will make mistakes in our relationships. Maintaining a healthy relationship may mean saying you are sorry when you hurt someone. It also means accepting an apology when it is sincerely offered. Friends can, and do, hurt each other by actions or words. Asking for and receiving forgiveness is a major factor in a relationship continuing and growing.


People can have many healthy relationships over a lifetime. Some may last for many years; others for a short time. We all grow and develop as we mature. We may discover that a person we thought was a good friend has a very different value system than we have, causing the relationship to deteriorate over time. This is a normal process of maturation.


At Holy Angels, we have Power Back. This program helps teens become more aware of what is healthy dating behavior and what is unhealthy. Often, a teenager will be so happy to be in a dating relationship that she will confuse abusive behavior with being needed and loved. Power Back explains common abuses teens can experience, such as emotional, verbal, financial, sexual, or physical abuse. The girls in Power Back learn to recognize some subtle ways they can be emotionally and verbally abused.