Relationships are one of the most important parts of living a good life. In 2017, a major study by Harvard University found that people with strong relationships are happier, healthier, and live for longer. That does not just mean romantic relationships – it also includes family and friends.

All healthy relationships need the same things: respect, trust, kindness, and good communication. Talking to friends and family about your feelings is vital for your mental health. We all struggle sometimes, but our relationships are there to support us.

Relationships also need clear boundaries. You are entitled to privacy, and you should never be forced to do anything you don’t want to do. That includes friends forcing you to do things you’re not comfortable with, or a romantic partner pressuring you into sex.

Sex is a healthy part of intimate relationships, but only if you feel ready and you have given your full consent. You should also make sure you are using contraception, to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. STIs can be passed between LGBT couples too – so, this is important no matter what your partner’s gender.

Read more about sex, consent, and relationships in our special report.

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What is true love? An animated video by The School of Life suggests seven possible ingredients for love. Do you agree? Would you add any?


  1. Without looking them up in a dictionary, write definitions for the following words: relationship, respect, consent, love, trust.
  2. As a class, take it in turns to finish the following sentence: “A good relationship means…”
  3. In groups, create a video which explains what makes a healthy relationship, or what doesn’t.