Finding a balance between “our” needs in addition to “your” needs and “my” needs is difficult, but it’s also a major part of healthy relationships. Needs (e.g., physical and emotional security, safe workplace) are basic and fundamental to people in order to thrive.
To find the balance, you must first tune-in to understand your own needs and be open to supporting the needs of others. Effective communication skills can help you verbalize and hear what each person needs in a relationship. Communication creates a solid foundation for attending to “our” needs, together.
Almost all relationships—platonic, romantic, or otherwise—are based on some kind of interdependent needs that can be fulfilled by emotionally supportive acts and specific tasks, depending on the nature of the relationship. The chart below gives a few examples:
|Roommate||Making joint decisions about sharing (e.g., food, clothing, personal information); cleaning the room; hosting friends|
|Classmate and work colleagues||Distributing tasks on joint projects; achieving deadlines; interacting respectfully|
|Hook-up partner||Setting boundaries and asking for and receiving consent|
|Long-term relationship||Participating in shared decision-making; managing household tasks and finances responsibly; co-parenting|
- Work on knowing your partner(s) better. Use effective communication to better understand each other’s likes, dislikes, skills, and weaknesses.
- Communicate with your partner(s) if they're struggling. Talk with them to understand their needs and figure out your response (e.g., express understanding, offer to reassign responsibilities, discuss the health of the relationship).
- Pay attention to your feelings. Look to your feelings as a source of information about how your needs are being met or unmet and use effective communication to inform your partner(s) rather than making assumptions.